Even if we don’t look at the calendar, the changing color of the leaves reminds us that winter is setting in. Once Thanksgiving is over, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa will be followed by celebrations for the New Year. And don’t forget the eating ritual associated with Super Bowl Sunday in early February!
For the next few months, the spotlight on food-especially treats and special indulgences-will be relentless. Social gatherings and nonstop advertising will reinforce the message that we should be splurging without limitation.
Millions of people with diabetes or prediabetes will be exposed to greater temptations than ever. And those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), triggered by shorter (and darker) days, will be struggling with depression as well.
Given this background, we need a strategy for maintaining a focus on eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Otherwise, we’ll be like the two heavyset ladies in the cartoon, looking into a bakery window. One says to the other, “Let’s just go in and see what happens.”
We all know that holiday fare is so darn tempting, especially when traditional favorites appear on the dining table. How can you resist?
One way is to translate bites of food into the number of steps it takes to work off the calories. Before you take that bite, check out these numbers:
Mashed potatoes, one serving 1,540 calories
Chocolate ice cream, one serving 1,980 calories
Macaroni and cheese, one serving 2,640 calories
Chocolate chip cookie, one 2,520 calories
Milk chocolate bar, 6 ounces 2,520 calories
Potato chips, 16 pieces 1,800 calories
Beer, 12 ounces 1,680 calories
Cola, 12 ounces. 1,680 calories
Pretzels, 10 small pieces 132 calories
Navel orange, one 828 calories
As one woman said, “The holidays are like having a bakery or candy store chained to the ankle.” She added that to get through the holidays without weight gain, “I remind myself that celebrating is not about gluttony, and the holidays somehow come and go successfully without cookies, candy and huge banquets. Decorations, friends and family contain zero fat grams.”
Only you can decide your course of action. You can walk into the holidays and “see what happens,” or you can become proactive in promoting your health and fitness.
As a calculating person, your choices are clear. Go ahead and indulge-and plan to add a few thousand extra steps to your daily exercise. Or forgo that tempting piece of chocolate that is sweetly calling your name so you won’t have to add extra (and precious) minutes to your exercise routine. Whatever your choice, happy holidays!
Carole Carson is the author of “From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction” and the national coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. Visit www.fromfat2fit.com for more information.
This article is excerpted from the Holiday Gift Guide for 2011. Be sure and check it out and read other articles about the holidays. It’s also great to add to your online shopping experience! While you are at it check out these two vendors in this year’s gift guide (one for the body and one for the soul). Click on the title above each ad to be taken to their site: