I’m wishing you a holiday season of good health and good cheer.
Let me offer a few encouragements for your good health. I realize these suggestions can be difficult to follow because of travel, family eating traditions, and all the demands of the holidays.
More activity, less sitting
One of the challenges of the holidays is that we often gather with family and friends and then do a lot of sitting – eating meals, visiting, and watching sports and movies. Think about how you can incorporate some activity into the gathering.
Can you encourage a group walk around the neighborhood, a local park or an indoor mall? Perhaps you can promote a walk during halftime of a bowl game or after a big meal.
Walking is a great way to be able to continue visiting but in an active way. Or walking can let you be together but not require constant conversation.
Depending on the weather, your location and equipment, you could play ping pong, corn hole or toss a frisbee or football in the yard.
If you are a member of a fitness club, you may be able to purchase guest passes.
Whatever you decide, don’t make the activity so competitive that you discourage everyone from participating. And don’t leave some of the women in the kitchen cooking and washing dishes.
If you can’t get others to join you in a fitness activity, try to find a way to promote your own fitness.
The holidays are a time of eating – from special meals to cookies and treats to snacks and festive drinks at social gatherings. Some people can eat and drink seemingly with no weight gain or health effects. But that’s not everyone.
You know from your own situation and that of family and friends that many people are dealing with health issues, from high cholesterol to diabetes to gluten intolerance.
If you are the one coordinating a social event or meal, include some healthy choices, such as fresh fruit, veggies or low calorie options.
Realize that for those who are watching their weight or blood sugar level, they are thinking about their food/drink selections and calories at every meal.
Don’t push someone to have dessert or second helpings if they have said no or have passed on a serving dish without taking anything.
If you are dealing with weight or health issues related to eating, consider how you can work around those issues at holiday events. A friend told me she was taking a greenbean dish to a holiday pot luck so that she’d at least have one healthy vegetable to eat. You can have smaller servings. Drink water before the meal, as that will make you less hungry.
Rehearse your response to someone who pushes you to have a big slice of cake or a glass of eggnog.
If you are going to be eating out with friends, family or your colleagues from work, check online for the restaurant’s menu and determine what would be selections you can make that fit with your dietary situation.
Gifts that promote health
Giving gifts that people really want can be a challenge. Haven’t we all received clothing that wasn’t our size or style, a knick-knack that we’ll never use, or a box of chocolates that we know we shouldn’t eat.
You are taking some of the surprise out of gifts when you solicit input from the people you are getting gifts for, but then the gifts you give are more likely to be used and appreciated.
If you are thinking of giving food items, think about the person’s dietary situation. Perhaps, give fruit rather than holiday cookies or candies.
If you know the person is interested in a fitness activity or is trying to get into a fitness activity, find out what you could give to support that interest. There are fitness gifts of all price ranges — a water bottle, gardening tools, a gym bag, lights for a bicycle, or a pair of running shoes.
Someone complained in my Spin class that she longed for the days when she could decide what to give her children. Now they are older and “just want gift cards,” she bemoaned.
Some people enjoy the fun of shopping and selecting gifts, but gift cards certainly can let the recipients select a gift they really want.
Being part of a social network during the holidays typically means that your eating and exercise routine will be changed. If you have a slice or two of holiday pie or miss a few workouts, you can include a few extra workout sessions when you’re back to your own routine.
Best wishes for a holiday season and good health in the New Year!