Health and the Holidays – How to Focus on Fun Not Food

Let’s face the facts here — most holidays are associated with certain foods. Our holiday gatherings usually revolve around an extravagant meal. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s creamy corn casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus of the day. Instead, get into the other rituals a holiday brings.

Lead an Activity

We’re not suggesting you forgo or even minimize the importance of the holiday feast or traditional foods, but adding in some physical activity is something that’s good for the whole group. You can be creative, but here are some holiday themed activities to get everyone up and moving:

  • Caroling – who doesn’t love belting out a holiday tune? And what fun it is to hear people laughing outside (2)singing, open your door, and see a group of neighbors reveling in holiday spirit! Basically, this is a walk with plenty of stops for resting for those older or less fit among us.
  • Cut your own tree – Don’t buy a tree from a roadside lot where the trees have been drying out for weeks. Instead, visit a tree farm where you can cut your own. The tree will be fresher and often less expensive than they are at the lot. Also, you will burn calories (and fight some of the blood-sugar effects of the sweets you’ve been sneaking) by tromping around the grounds in search of the perfect tree. *Added bonus: Your family will have one more pleasant holiday memory to look back on of a lovely walk through a pine forest with loved ones.
  • Be inventive – nobody knows your family and friends better than you, right? Maybe a little friendly competition is in order. Perhaps your family enjoys a game of flag football or even musical chairs can get the heart pumping.

The point is — try to add some fun group activities that will get you and others moving.

Be Selective at the Table

Some of the more fattening or unhealthy choices on the table will be common foods that you could eat any time of the year. Opt instead for the holiday specialties if you want to “spend” your calories wisely.

  • Choose baked sweet potatoes over the cream and butter-laden mashed potatoes on the buffet.
  • Pour the gravy and sauces lightly. You may not be able to control what’s being served at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by skipping the sauce or gravy or ladling on just a small amount.
  • Indulge in only the most special holiday treats. Skip the store-bought baked goods, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your grandma’s special Yule log cake.

Teaching yourself what is worth indulging in and what to skip is much like budgeting your money: Do you want to blow it on mundane things that you can buy anywhere? Or do you want to spend it on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually be overwhelmed, and you’ll end up overeating.

All of us at VIP Surg wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!




Exercise for Weight Loss

Being active is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you’re active, your body uses more energy (calories), and when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight.

Diet and exercise are both important to weight loss efforts. However, while diet has a stronger effect on weight loss than physical activity does, physical activity, including exercise, has a stronger effect in preventing weight regain after weight loss.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:

  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 AdobeStock_116731872.jpegminutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. However, to effectively lose or maintain weight, some people may need up to 300 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. You can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week, and sessions of activity should be at least 10 minutes long.
  • Strength training. Do strength training exercises at least twice a week. No specific amount of time for each strength training session is included in the guidelines.

Moderate aerobic exercise includes such activities as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes such activities as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, or activities such as carrying groceries or heavy gardening. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of overall physical activity every day.

The American College of Sports Medicine reports that you can elevate your metabolism for up to 24 hours post-exercise by adding just one little twist to your exercise routine: intervals. All you have to do is inject brief periods of intense effort into your regular walks (or runs, swims, bicycling, elliptical sessions, etc.) The intensity effectively resets your metabolism to a slightly higher rate during your workout, and it takes hours for it to slow down again. That equals ongoing calorie burn long after you’ve showered and toweled off.

If you’re a walker and you typically exercise for 30 minutes, try adding a burst of jogging for 30 seconds every 5 minutes. As you become more fit, you can increase the interval length to a minute, and decrease the walking segments to 4 minutes. For the biggest metabolism boost, you’ll want to make sure that the interval portion leaves you breathing hard.

While your heart and other organs demand fuel around the clock, there’s little you can do to increase their metabolic needs. However, your muscles—which also require constant feeding—are changeable. Make them bigger, and they will demand more calories day and night. With essential moves, adapted from findings by the American College of Sports Medicine, you can target all the major muscle groups in your body. You should be able to get through the entire routine in less than 30 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a week and your muscles will turn into furnaces that burn up extra calories before your body can convert them to fat.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are struggling with obesity and considering bariatric surgery, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts will find the right treatment for you.


Exercise Trends: Strategies for Keeping Fit

BlogYou know exercise is good for one’s health, but deciding what’s best for you can take a little experimentation. There are many ways to be active and enjoy the health benefits of exercise, but the top trends this year include body-weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and using experienced, certified personal trainers.

Body-weight training requires no exercise equipment since you use your own body weight for resistance, meaning little to no expense to you. There are many benefits to incorporating body-weight exercises into a strength-training routine. They can be done anywhere so it’s easy to keep up with workouts; they train fundamental movement patterns, and mastery of body-weight movements leads to improved performance on exercises requiring an external load; and they can be used in the early phases of training, along with stretching, to overcome the muscle imbalances that are a product of daily routine like sitting hunched over a computer.

Learn about more about this:

High Intensity Interval Training is a specific type of interval training routine. There are many benefits to this type of training. For one, excluding warm ups and warm downs they last no longer than 20 minutes. This may seem like a very short space of time, but if you do the workout correctly you will be exhausted by the end of it. The goal of HIIT is to hold an anaerobic state for a long cumulative time. It is designed with rest intervals to allow you to sprint harder for longer. The absolute best for HIIT is sprinting. If, however, you are unable to run, pick something else like riding a stationary spinning bike or swimming.

Read more about HIIT:

Using a personal trainer has been popular for years, but as the fitness industry continues to grow, there has been a surge in demand for fitness professionals who are at the top of their field. Fitness programs are not one size fits all. Hiring a personal trainer to design a custom fit plan tailored to your needs might be just what you need to stay on track with your commitment to healthy living.

Find a certified personal trainer in the Las Vegas area:

Keeping Active during the Holidays

santa runThe holidays are here, and keeping on track for your diet and fitness goals can be even more challenging than ever. Traditional holiday feasts, along with extra errands can send your eating plan and workout routine spinning out of control, but it doesn’t have to be like that – especially when it concerns exercise. Here are some tips for getting in those essential workouts while still getting all of your holiday preparations done.

Keeping in mind that you don’t have to do your workout all at once but that it can be just as effective in chunks, shopping is the perfect time to get in plenty of walking. Park as far away from the door as possible, consider parking on the opposite end of the mall from your shopping destination and walking the length of the mall, and walk briskly to save time and pump up that heart rate.

Don’t discount the extra work around the house either. Did you vacuum before everyone came over? Did you spend an afternoon outside stringing lights? When you ask yourself if you are getting enough exercise during the holidays, remember all the time you spent on your feet cooking and bringing decoration up from the basement or down from the attic. It all counts!

Try to incorporate activity into your family traditions too. If the weather permits, Christmas caroling through the neighborhood gets everyone out for a nice walk. Start a tradition of having a flag football game after holiday brunch. Even a rousing game of charades can get folks up and moving. There are many ways to keep everyone active in a fun way.

Finally, don’t ignore your needs during this busy time. We often have so many notions of what’s expected of us from our families that we sacrifice the time we need to keep ourselves happy and energized. This year, make time for the things that are important to you and your health. If you have to give up something, skip the screen time, and go for a walk instead.