Ace Your Holiday Health with Theresa Albert

Ace Your Holiday Health with Theresa Albert

I had the good fortune to chat recently with nutritionist and author, Theresa Albert about her new book, Ace Your Health; 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck. Honestly, I’ve been devouring it (sorry for the pun but it’s true!). The book is packed with great information and really manageable changes you can make in your life that will get your health and nutrition on track. Plus, she’s funny and sweet as all get out. We asked her for some ideas on how to maintain some semblance of health and sanity during the holidays and she kindly obliged. You can get to know Theresa better at www.theresaalbert.com. And now over to you, Theresa! Ceri Marsh

Holidays bring families and friends together to celebrate and yet bring out our most self destructive habits. Who doesn’t turn back into their child self when they are surrounded by siblings, no matter how grown?! Even if you are a fully functional family (and who has one of those?) the emotional impact of gathering can bring out your childhood eating behaviour.

During the holidays we gather, sit, chat, nibble, eat, sit some more and then have dessert.  Rare is the family that actually chooses to do something with health in mind on this (and many other) celebration day.

What would happen if you planned in some active time? Start a new tradition! Here are some ideas:

  • Bundle up and walk if you are close enough
  • Bundle up and go for a walk once you get there
  • Build a snowman
  • Gather branches and leaves for  a centerpiece
  • Play snow soccer (slush soccer is not fun, though, trust me)
  • Toss a soft ball or cushion around the basement
  • Have a treasure hunt that gets everyone running up and down the stairs
  • Brainstorm movement ideas with the kids, they love to get the adults running

What would happen if you brought the healthy food? Bring veggies and low fat dip for the pre-dinner munching instead of a bag of chips. The nice part is that, with only a little forethought, you have affected the change for everyone and potentially saved yourself the extra hundreds of calories that nachos and cheese offers. If you bring a delicious steamed green vegetable side dish and limit your intake of the mashed, buttered vegetables you are even further ahead.

On average, the holidays tend to lend us 2 pounds each.  The trouble is that we don’t give them back so they add up to that 10 pounds per decade that is plaguing our time.  An extra 5-10 minutes added to your cardio routine each day during the holidays can burn off 50-75 extra calories per day. That’s a fairly sensible way to enjoy all the festivities.

Implementing just a few smart strategies means that the holidays need not be an austere over-programmed source of denial.  Nor should they be a gluttonous event that you regret. What we are really looking for is a simple, delicious celebration of what the planet has to offer in family, friends and food. (If your brother would only stop tugging your hair to get your attention).

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