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Baby It's (getting) Cold Outside!

Here in the Grand Valley our weather is starting to get the slightest hint of cold. The holidays are just around the corner. Are you ready to make it a healthy season this year? Here are some essential tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.

It's Party Time! How to avoid gaining weight but still be the life of the party:

· Know what types of foods will be there and what you are going to choose to eat. Let’s face it; in general, you know what types of foods are on the holiday dinner table. Plan ahead of time which foods are important to you and which you could do without. Choose your favorites but pass on those that are not special to you.

· Don’t go to the table telling people you’re “eating healthy this holiday season”. There’s no need to bring attention to your food choices. People will feel that you are not enjoying yourself or that they should feel guilty about what they are eating. You’re more likely to have success if you keep it low-key.

· Fill your plate heavily with vegetables, fruits and lower fat fare. Start your eating with these foods and then eat your favorites. This way you won’t be so hungry for the calorie dense foods. Your plate is full and you are enjoying the foods you’ve chosen. No one should feel sorry for you, including you!

· Don’t say yes to all that is before you. You don’t need to pick at every gift basket that’s left at your desk or eat your way through the holiday buffets. Choose wisely and carefully.

· If you’re cooking, try not to nibble throughout the day. All those little bites add up.

· If you’re not cooking, offer to bring a dish. Bring something that you know you can fill up on without the guilt.

· Have a healthy snack before you go to a holiday meal. Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. When you get to the party and you’re already satisfied, you’re less likely to eat as a reaction to hunger.

· Get your exercise. Take a walk before or after the holiday meals to get your metabolism going. When you take care of yourself regularly with exercise, your desire for unhealthy foods tends to decrease.

Move Your Feet: Exercise outdoors is possible in the winter with just a few considerations.

· Avoid wearing cotton. This is true for any condition, but worth restating. Wear clothes made from synthetic, wicking fibers.

· Watch for frostbite. Your extremities may go numb early in your run, but they should warm up. If anything continues to stay numb, go visit your doctor.

· Watch for ice. Slipping on ice can cause injury, like a pulled muscle. Get traction aids to attach to your shoes if ice is a significant problem.

· Wear a hat and gloves. A hat and gloves keep you warm when chilly. But, if you get too hot, you can easily tuck them in your waist band.

· Use petroleum jelly. Spread petroleum jelly over your hands and feet before putting on your socks or gloves to improve insulation. It sounds a little strange, but it works very well and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.

· Wear sunglasses. This might sound strange, but not only do sunglasses protect your eyes, they can also help keep your eyes warm and reduce how runny your nose gets.

· Warm-up inside. Often the first mile is extremely difficult because your body hasn't started to produce sufficient heat to offset the cold. To make the most out of your runs, warm up inside for 10 minutes. Run up and down stairs or jump rope to get your body warm

· Protect your front. Wear tights and a top that are thicker and/or windproof on the front. This will provide warmth while preventing overheating.

· Stay in the light. Don't run in the dark, cold alleys. Stay near well-lit pathways, preferably with other people.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t throw in the towel. Most of us tend to eat out of control and lose our grip on healthy habits after we give in to that initial temptation. Don’t assume that because you ate a piece of cake that you now have to try every type of pie on the table. If you miss a workout, keep trying! Accept your choice and then move on. Overall, remember the meaning of the holidays and that they can be enjoyed without indulging in mass quantities of food. This year, make your focus on giving and not what you’re taking in.

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