5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

It’s that time of year again!

Time for family, friends, decorations, Christmas music, gift exchanges, lunches, dinners, more lunches, dinners, and tons of desserts!

Keep your waistline in check with these 5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips:

1. Do not skip meals to save your calories for the big holiday dinner(s):

Skipping breakfast and/or lunch prior to a holiday feast is not a good idea. When dinner time finally arrives you’ll be so hungry and ready to eat anything (and everything) in sight, including all the fatty appetizers and desserts. Unless you are planning on filling up on lean proteins, slow digesting carbohydrates, and lots of veggies; I suggest you eat a complete and nutritious breakfast and lunch.

2. Drink plenty of water:

Skip the eggnog, take it easy on the alcohol, and drink as much water as you possibly can. Water will not only help with digestion, but it will prevent you from over-eating; thirst is often confused with hunger, so drink-up and you’ll eat less.

3. Start with the vegetables:

Starting your meal with a plate of vegetables will ensure you get all of your minerals and vitamins as well as take up some space in your stomach; leaving a little less space for the not-so-healthy foods. After you eat your greens feel free to enjoy a plate of whatever you like! (Be careful with all of the veggie dips and dressings though, most are full of unhealthy fats, so keep it clean if you can)

4. Do not  go back for seconds:

Minus the plate of vegetables of course, there is no need to go back for seconds (unless it’s more veggies). This will be harder than is sounds, I know, but after your first plate I’m sure you’ll be full. Why stuff yourself to the point of undoing your pants? Wait at least 20 minutes after eating, and if you are genuinely still hungry, go for a little more; or save that space for some dessert.

5. There is no need to consume every piece of junk food offered:

It’s difficult to say no to people, especially when they are offering you junk foods they have made themselves. However, if you say yes to every sugar cookie, slice of pie, and chocolate, expect to put on more than just a couple pounds. Be polite, and just stick to the treats that you only see once a year.

I hope this helps! Have a great holiday season everyone!

Snoopy Christmas

Water – Drink Up!

Importance of Water

I came across this awesome picture highlighting the many reasons why water is the most important substance you need to consume on a regular basis. Our bodies need water – no if, ands, or buts about it!

In reality, most people do not drink nearly enough, some even claim to go full days without a sip of water! This blows my mind, no wonder why so many people feel like crap!

As you can see from the above depiction, adequate water consumption is vital for basically every bodily function. Blood, organs, joints, skin, bones, and muscles all need water in order to function efficiently.

Aim to consume at least 8 glasses of water every day. Drink a big cold glass upon waking, as well as before and after meals. If you are one of those people who claim to not like water, I recommend that you get over it and drink it anyways. If you find that difficult, adding some fruits to your water jug may help – stawberries, oranges, cucumbers, and lemons all taste great.

Yes, you will pee more often, but thats a good thing! Your pee should be as clear as possible, never dark yellow. Water soluble vitamins (B&C) will cause your pee to be bright yellow, so if you take a multivitamin and drink plenty of water, that is likely the cause.

If you are having a hard time reading the facts in the picture above, heres what is has to say:

  1. Dehydration causes enzymatic activity to slow down, resulting in tiredness and fatigue
  2. Blood is normally 92% water when the body is fully hydrated.  When dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow resulting in elevated blood pressure.
  3. When dehydrated the body will restrict airways as a means to conserve water.
  4. Dehydration impairs the elimination of toxins through the skin and makes it more vulnerable to all types of skin disorders.
  5. When dehydrated, the body produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss from cells.
  6. A shortage of water can result in digestive disorders, including ulcers and acid reflux.
  7. When dehydrated, the body accumulates toxins and acid waste. This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive resulting in the bladder and kidney to be more prone to infection, inflammation, and pain.
  8. Without adequate water, waste moves through the large intestine much more slowly, or sometimes not at all, resulting in constipation.
  9. People tend to confuse dehydration with hunger, causing them to eat more when the body really just needs water.
  10. When chronically dehydrated, the bodies organs, especially the skin, begins to wrinkle and wither prematurely.

Drink Up!

On the Ball

The stability ball was originally created as a toy in Italy called the Gymnastic. It quickly gained popularity among doctors who began using it in therapy for such things as reflex response, back rehabilitation, neurological rehab, and postural correction. It was introduced to North America in the 70’s and 80’s, and more than 75% of fitness centres now use them.

When choosing a stability ball make sure you select the correct size for your height, as well as one that is burst resistant. This just means that the air will leak out slowly if punctured, instead of a big pop! Here is a chart to help you pick the right size:

Ball Diameter Your Height
45cm up to 5’0 (1.5m)
55cm 5’0 to 5’6” (1.5-1.7m)
65cm 5’7” to 6’0” (1.7-1.8m)
75cm 6’0 and over

The stability ball uses the neuromuscular system in a way that most exercise equipment does not due to its dynamic base of support (constantly moving). This makes it a great tool for training “core” muscles and will help improve balance and co-ordination. The ball also supports some body weight, reducing stress on the joints. It is great for people of all ages, and exercises using the ball can easily be modified to make certain moves easier or more difficult.

There are dozens of exercises that can be performed on the ball, but here are a few that I stand by. This is a core circuit that I use every now and again. I would not consider this a beginner workout, but it is certainly something that can be practiced and mastered if you’re not that greatest at them initially.

1. Russian Twist – 10 reps (5 each side)

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2. Sit-ups – 20 reps (10 quick, 10 slow)

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3. Plank In & Outs – 10 reps

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4. Knee Tucks – 10 reps

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5. Back Extension – 10 reps (hold a plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball for extra resistance)

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Repeat this cicuit 3-5 times

Thanks for checking out my post!

Tips Towards Good Health

So far I have 28 tips towards good health! I plan on adding to it as they come to mind, and if you would like me to elaborate on any of them, as I know they are very general, feel free to leave a comment! Thank-you for reading.

  1. Drink lots of waterWater
  2. Consume more fibre
  3. Whole grains only, not white
  4. Relax on the dairy
  5. Fill up on vegetables
  6. Use healthy oils
  7. Move more than you sit
  8. Skip the sauces and condiments
  9. Processed foods suck
  10. Prepared frozen meals also suck (in most cases)
  11. Deep fried foods really, really suckNo fast food
  12. Learn how to cook
  13. Make most, if not all your meals at home
  14. Take a good multivitamin everyday
  15. Omega 3s are your friend
  16. Exercise regularly
  17. Adopt/keep a good attitude
  18. Don’t use food as a reward
  19. Eat breakfast every morning
  20. Try new things
  21. Eat frequently & never starve yourself
  22. Know your body and how it responds to certain foods
  23. Light & healthy snacks before bed onlyKnow thyself
  24. Have healthy snacks on hand, always
  25. Alcohol = excess empty calories
  26. Even too much of a good thing is still too much
  27. Work on controlling portion sizes
  28. Find physical activities you enjoy

Positive Change

Re-shaping your life through the removal of bad habits and the introduction of positive habits is an excellent goal. For the most part we are all aware of our bad habits, but few have the will power to make and/or sustain change. This can be due to a number of reasons (or excuses) and I would like to tackle this issue by sharing my point of view and suggesting methods for making positive changes permanent.

First off, trying to change everything all at once will likely set you up for failure. I’ve spoken to dozens of people who claimed to have lost weight just to gain it all back. They go on to tell me that they gave up all their favourite junk foods, went on a “special diet”, kept up with exercise, and saw success. However, old habits eventually came creeping back along with the weight.

Frustrating isn’t it? To work so hard, just to end up where you started. From my point of view good things take time, and changing multiple components of your life at once results in stress and the return of old habits. Instead, why not take on one thing at a time? Start small and build from there. For example, if you drink soft drinks and juice every day, start here. Replace it with water and work on keeping that up until the craving for high sugar drinks have vanished (and they will). It is then you can move on to your next challenge towards a better you.

Be realistic, I am not insinuating that you are incapable of making multiple changes at once, I am simply suggesting that you come to terms with the weight of your bad habits and prepare accordingly. Through small successes larger ones are accomplished, and the longer one can maintain change the more likely it will become habit.

The Transtheoretical Model’s 5 stages of change suggest the time span of 6 months before one should consider themselves in the maintenance phase of change. However, it is important that we are aware of situations that may tempt us to return to old behaviours, because as with any addiction relapse is always possible.

This brings me to my next point, we must get to know ourselves and understand why we do the things we do. Are there social situations, or stresses that provoke us towards negative behaviours, including poor food choices? If you can recognize these things the chance of success increases considerably. Learn how to control your mind; don’t let your mind control you.

You will make mistakes and screw up a few times, but don’t let this deter you from trying. If you caved at lunched and couldn’t help but drink that large soft drink, it’s okay! However, don’t use this as an excuse to keep screwing up; forget about it and get back on that healthy bandwagon. So long as you keep trying and keep the importance of positive change fresh in your mind, the sooner and more likely you are to find success.

Positive re-shaping of your life is possible if you want it bad enough (like anything else). Be realistic and take on what you can handle, get to know yourself and what makes you do the things you do, find healthy alternatives, and keep trying!

Thank-you for reading.

Haley