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Triple H's

The following Holiday Health Habits can help you make it though this time of year with little damage to your desire to stay fit and healthy.

Triple H has nothing to do with the WWE wrestler, but does have to do with you laying the “smack down” on the bad holiday habits we are all about to face over the next few weeks.  These Triple H’s are Holiday Health Habits.  With the holidays upon us, we are going to be inundated with tasty treats, high stress and little time for ourselves.  

Just imagine,  traveling home for the holidays for mom’s homemade pies, the office holiday party catered with rich (high fat) foods or New Year’s Eve celebrations with the obligatory New Year’s toast (followed by the New Year’s Resolution of getting back into shape).  The following Holiday Health Habits can help you make it though this time of year with little damage to your desire to stay fit and healthy.

Eating habits play a major role in the Holiday Health Habits.  We remember mom telling us to chew our food.  Her advice could not serve us better than at this time of year.  Chewing our food not only helps with portion control but digestion as well.  Chewing starts the digestion process by allowing saliva and the enzymes in it to break down the food.  When you think of the types of foods we eat this time of year, you realize they tend to be high in carbohydrates and fats.  Saliva’s enzymes are made to help break down these macronutrients.  When food is properly broken down, it starts a chain of events.  First, stomach acids do not have to work as hard to allow for proper absorption.  Then, the hormone leptin has more time to tell the brain we are full.  Last of all, food which is properly digested can be used to help nourish the body and not go to waste.  Take your time, enjoy your food and chew a little more.

During the holiday season, you're short on time, energy and discipline and your to-do list is longer than the garland you put on the tree.  With everything happening, you do not see how you can find time to take care of yourself.  Add to this worry about the extra weight you know you just can’t help to put on.  Consider that this is where working with a personal trainer can help. 

  • A personal trainer can provide accountability.  Planning time on your own to exercise can easily be pushed aside during these busy days.  Knowing you have someone expecting you to show up provides an extra shove to get you moving. 
  • Trainers can make your workout session more time efficient.  Many people believe it takes hours to get in a quality workout.  This is not true.  You might be surprised to see what can be done in just half an hour. 
  • Trainers can keep you obligated to the goals you have made for your health.  Now you’re not just answering to the mirror, you are answering to someone else who has interest in your health. 

You can see how working with a trainer can really help you stay away from those extra holiday pounds.

Food selection can help control overindulging.  Choosing roughage before dinner and dessert can be a big help.  Roughage is those fruit and veggies which add fiber to our diet.  Fibrous foods are slow to digest and will take up space in the stomach.  When the stomach is full, it sends out a signal (the hormone leptin) for us to slow down or stop eating.  With the body telling you to slow down, it will be more manageable to handle portion control.  Fibrous foods can also slow down the absorption of simple carbohydrates (sugar).  By slowing down simple carbohydrate absorption, we lessen the sugar spike to our system.  These sugar spikes can lead to storage of body fat and diabetic health issues.  Simply add healthy fibers into your holiday meals and control overeating.

Alcohol consumption can be the villain in the downfall to health goals. 

  • Keep in mind alcohol is a depressant.  So alcohol can depress not only mood but functions of the body as well.  Mood is directly affected by alcohol.  If, in a depressed state you have a tendency to binge eat when depressed, alcohol can send you over the edge to overeating. 
  • Alcohol slows down metabolism, so you cannot efficiently burn calories.  Alcohol is also a simple sugar or carbohydrate.  As mentioned previously, excess sugar into the system can lead to stored body fat. 

So what do we do about alcohol during the holiday season?  This is where moderation can play a big role.  This is not to mean you shouldn’t enjoy a glass of champagne or eggnog.  Just keep it under control through moderation.

Faster than you can say, “I was waiting for that parking spot,” the holiday season will be upon us.  Crowded malls, overeating and additional stress to find the perfect present can bring any healthy body to the point of not functioning properly.  Don’t fret, nutritional science has provided us with some natural ways support areas of vulnerability during the holiday season.  There are many natural supplements which help with areas of stress, energy, immune support, digestion and weight management.  

  • Rhodiola Rosea is a natural herb in the family of adaptogens.  Adaptogens help the body deal or adapt to levels of stress.  
  • Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) is essential for cell energy and function.  This nutrient is what allows your mitochondria (the structure in your cells which manufacture energy at a cellular level) to work properly.  To make energy, the mitochondria use plenty of CoQ10, which helps in the chemical reactions required for energy production.  
  • Immune support can be enhanced by the use of Olive Leaf.  The extract from Olive Leaf (Oleuropeins) helps eliminate foreign microbes while promoting a responsive immune system.
  • Digestion can be enhanced in many ways (like chewing mentioned in previous paragraph), but supplements of Digestive Enzymes can further your cause.  A lot of people already suffer from an enzyme deficiency.  When you factor in the additional burden put on the digestive system with holiday overeating, additional enzymes become even more important.  
  • Weight management at this time of year can be critical. Thankfully, there is Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA.  CLA has been shown in a number of studies to have benefits with regards to the blood sugar maintenance, lipid profiles and body composition.  

As usual, consult a physician to make sure these supplements are right for you and do not conflict with any medications you currently are taking.

Yes, the holidays are here.  Let’s embrace this time of year and enjoy the time we have with our families and loved ones.  We do not have to worry about those pounds or inches we might put on.  We now have a blue print for holiday success.  The Holiday Health Habits can put you in the direction of having a happy and healthy holiday season.  If you have any further questions about anything mentioned in this article, please reach out to Key to Wellness for help and further instruction.

Enjoy the seasonal celebrations and best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year to one and all.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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