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!





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.