Lunden Souza: Try to limit holiday binge

November 23, 2013 

The holidays are fast approaching. Can you believe it?

All the food, holiday parties, holiday marketing schemes that come way too early – did I mention the food? I have said this before, and I will say it again: It is called a holiday not a holi-month.

I am always so surprised about how easy it is for some people to let themselves go for a month. This year is your year. Your year to take hold of yourself. Instead of overindulging in food far beyond Nov. 28 and Dec. 25, try overindulging in thankfulness for all the blessings and challenges that have made you stronger.

According to health company SparkPeople, the average American consumes about 4,500 calories just on Thanksgiving Day alone, and I am sure that number is higher on Christmas. Enjoy your family and friends and enjoy the good food, but keep it to just those two days.

Thanksgiving and Christmas account for only two days out of 61 when combining November and December, so why in the world would we overindulge for 50percent or more of the days? Is it really worth it?

I am sure we have all heard or used the phrase “Once I start I can’t stop.” There is actually some truth behind that statement because the more sweet, processed foods and calories you consume on a regular basis, the more your body will crave them.

My suggestion for avoiding this pitfall is to try to eat as healthfully and cleanly as possible the week leading up the holiday, then immediately go back to your healthier ways the day after the holiday.

If you’re overindulging the whole week prior to the holidays as well as the day of, you are more likely to just keep going post-holiday, as well. Try sticking to a healthier diet and see how you feel.

We all want to celebrate, let loose and forget about the diets and healthy eating for the holidays. I definitely agree with that, but try to avoid overindulging as much as possible. So start with trying to keep it to just Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Christmas Eve if that’s when your family celebrates).

And look for a way to compensate for eating a little too much by maintaining or even increasing your calorie-burning activities.

One great holiday workout option is a turkey trot run-walk event. Most towns have one of these on Thanksgiving morning or the weekend leading up to it.

The one in Merced takes place today. Taking on something like this is another way to help your mind grasp the fact that you need to keep fit, healthy and active even when holidays are approaching.

These turkey trot events usually have a five-mile run, two-mile run/walk and one-mile run/walk. So basically anyone and everyone can do it – including the kids.

This holiday season your challenge is to limit yourself when it comes to letting go. Hold it to two days instead of 61 — or more. Focus on what is important, not what is tempting. Abandon your old habits and replacement them with a more healthy approach.

Get more excited about spending time with family and friends rather than becoming best friends with the stuffing and pumpkin pie.

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you who read my column each week, and want to see you succeed.

Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at lifelikelunden@gmail.com.

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