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A Healthy Holiday!
Photo: Jason Stitt
It may seem like the month of December is out to get you. There are no fewer than nine “food” holidays in December – ranging from National Brownie Day (Dec. 8) to National Eggnog Day (Dec. 24). Everywhere you turn in December you see food, food, food. And much of it is far from healthy! 

Unfortunately, all the “goodies” of the holiday season can pile up on you—literally. Statistics show that most people gain at least one pound during the month of December. That may not seem like much. But if you don’t lose that pound and add another one to it each December, we’re looking at a serious accumulation of weight over the years.

A recent holiday catalog I received advertised a six-week plan for helping people “stay on track” during the holidays. It included recipes, a journal and even a small group study guide. Most people won’t get that involved. They just want a few simple tips: 

1. It all starts in your mind. Learn to think of the holidays as an opportunity to take better care of yourself, not as a license to indulge. Focus on people, not food. When you attend holiday events look for the healthiest options. Fresh, high-fiber foods will fill you up without loading on the calories. Holding a glass in your hand and sipping slowly while mingling with people can help you enjoy the event without eating a bunch of things you don’t need, or maybe even want. Making wise decisions ahead of time about what you will eat and drink (and how late you will stay) at parties always pays off. 

2. It takes so little to be above average. Anyone can give their appetites free rein. But one careful look around a typical American grocery store should convince you that you really don’t want to be average. People in “civilized” societies are literally eating themselves to death. They are buying the lies that say: “You deserve this. You’ve worked hard and this will make you feel good. It’s the holidays—loosen up! You can always diet in January.” 

3. Here’s the truth: Eating healthy helps you feel good. So does getting enough sleep and exercise. If you really want to “reward” yourself, eat something special that’s GOOD for you—not something that is going to raise your blood pressure, clog your arteries and rot your teeth (not to mention giving you indigestion and heartburn). And remember that it’s harder to lose the weight later than to just stick with your healthy habits now. Go for a jog or a walk. Then spend a few minutes relaxing before bedtime. 

Yes, it is the holiday season. Celebrate it by being truly good to yourself and those you love.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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