Tips to Staying Healthy Over the Holidays!

The winter holidays are a time for families to relax and enjoy their time together in Mississauga. This is also a time when the infamous New Year's resolutions begin, for example, the ever so popular resolution of eating healthy and losing weight.

Here’s a thought, how about starting the New Year's resolution of being healthier prior to the clock turning midnight on January 1st. This can start by how we approach the holiday season.

There is no doubt a few pounds will be gained throughout the winter holidays if one looks at the holidays as a free thrall to binge. It's hard to resist all the delicious food and treats, however, people can change their eating habits, and continue or begin to exercise prior to the new year.

"People are very busy with their shopping and busy with families," said Stephanie Williams a certified personal fitness trainer at Destiny Fitness. A fitness company serving the Oakville and Mississauga area, helping clients stays fit. Stephanie Williams and her husband Chris Williams, who is also a certified personal fitness trainer, run Destiny Fitness. "They [individuals] don't really make time or necessarily recognize the priority to remain physically active during the season," said Stephanie.

According to Chris, people need to make a conscious decision of how much they're putting on their plates. It's important to be aware of what you're eating. For example, once you have eaten one plate of food, mingle with fellow partygoers, states Chris. This will help give your body time to register how full you actually are and allow your body to digest the food. Allowing your body to register this may help prevent you from reaching for an extra serving you don’t really need.

"It's tough, when you think holiday you're not thinking low fat," said Elaine Lo a registered dietitian, who runs a private practice with other dietitians called The Dietitian Group. Lo also works at Humber River Regional Hospital in Intensive Care and Medicine.

For those hosting a party, Lo suggests offering a variety of food options to guests. Prepare dishes which cater to vegetarians, use margarine instead of butter. If your dishes are cream based use skim milk, and serve a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Another easy way to stay healthy is staying away from salty foods. "People never think, but a lot of times food can be very salty," said Lo. "I have never added salt to any of my cooking." Rather than using salt, Lo suggests using more herbs and garlic to add flavour. In addition, Lo states, making your own gravy can be more fatting than a store bought. Being conscious of what is in your food is important to a healthy lifestyle.

Individuals can take a proactive approach to avoid the struggle to fit into their jeans come January. Stephanie and Chris both agree that exercising should always be a priority, rather than an after thought. Any type of exercise, whether it be walking up and down the stairs in your condo or walking to the mall for your shopping will help. By consciously incorporating little things, such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or holding the cheese in your sandwich, can help you acheive big results over time.

With the holidays being so busy, individuals can set aside 10-20 minutes a day to do exercises. Doing some squats, push-ups, going for a short walk will help an individual hit the major muscles, states Chris. According to Chris, it's better if people exercise in the morning or earlier in the day. This helps to elevate ones metabolism, allows you to burn extra calories throughout the day and sleep better at night.

For families, Stephanie states, "it's really about getting the whole family involved. You have to find a routine that's going to work for you and your family." Some activities may include, ice skating, and playing games like who can do the most sit-ups.

In addition, Lo states people should eat throughout their day and include small snacks in between. Binge eating is never a healthy solution. "Your body has a set number of calories it needs each day. It's always better to spread out your calories throughout the day, that way you don't over compensate at night," said Lo. Eat a healthy breakfast, a small lunch like a sandwich and fruits and a few healthy snacks in between meals. In addition, Lo states staying active during the day.

"If you serve things on a very large plate, you tend to kind of eat more. [You] put more on your plate and you try to eat all of that. If you use smaller plates you tend to eat less," said Lo.

It is as much a conscious decision to eat healthy and continue an exercise program as it is to binge and stop an exercise program. Enjoying the holidays in moderation will help prevent the extra weight gain and start you off right for the new year.

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