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November 21, 2007 > Maintain Your Holiday Spirit and Your Weight

Maintain Your Holiday Spirit and Your Weight

Washington Hospital Seminar Offers Tips for Surviving the Holidays Guilt-Free

The holidays are almost here along with the usual smorgasbord of food that threatens our waistlines. Food is everywhere this time of year. Add to that the extra stress we often experience around the holidays, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
"In this quiet moment before the holidays arrive full steam, it's important to plan for what it is you want to do in the next six weeks," said Kim Alvari, a Washington Hospital nutritionist who will present an upcoming seminar "Surviving the Holidays Guilt-Free." The Lunch and Learn session is scheduled for noon on Thursday, November 29, at the Washington Hospital Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. An encore session will be held on November 29 at 2 p.m. For more information or to reserve a space, call (510) 608-1356.
Even though this time of year brings extra food, alcohol and stress, there are ways to find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The biggest gift you can give yourself this year is moderation.
"It's really about making choices along the way," Alvari said. "Expect there will be a change in your routine over the holidays and plan for it. Don't just say 'I missed my workout today or I ate too much so all is lost. I'll get back to it in January.'"
She will provide a number of tips for enjoying the holiday without going overboard, including the following.
Create a plan. There is so much going on this time of year, you can't do it all. Whether it's your office party, family gatherings, or other special events, decide which festivities you will attend. Then plan a realistic workout schedule that you can keep up during the holidays.
Be prepared. If you work in an office, you know there will be plenty of high-calorie snacks around during the holidays. Keep your own healthy snacks at your desk so you won't be tempted to overindulge.
The same goes for holiday parties. Bring a healthy appetizer or dessert so you know there will be something you can eat that you enjoy. And don't linger at the food table. If you stand near the food, you will have to work overtime to avoid the constant temptation.
"Never go to a party hungry," Alvari added. "After you arrive, scout out the healthy foods and fill up on those first."
Stay active. There are ways to incorporate physical activity into your holiday chores and festivities. When you go shopping, park further out. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Walk around the mall a few extra times. Go ice skating or caroling with friends and family.
Eat what you love. Decide your favorite indulgences and enjoy them. If you love your grandmother's pecan pie, have a piece.
"Even though it might be high calorie, eat it and enjoy it. Don't rush through it, savor it," Alvari said. "That way you don't feel like you missed out, but you don't need to overdo it. One piece is enough."
Focus on the fun. Remember that one of the great things about the holidays is spending time with loved ones. During holiday gatherings, focus on sharing good times rather than food.
"Build your holiday traditions around the festivities rather than the food," Alvari said. "Enjoy the holidays for what they are. Don't use them as an excuse to eat whatever you want and ignore your health."
To help you make it through the holidays guilt-free, she will provide low-fat, healthy recipes for holiday foods you can enjoy with a clear conscience.
"It really comes down to planning," Alvari said. "Plan your workout schedule and make food ahead of time. If you're having a holiday gathering, plan out the menu in advance. When everything starts crashing down around you this holiday season, you don't want to find yourself at the grocery store at midnight grabbing the first thing you see."
To learn more about surviving the holidays guilt-free, attend the Lunch and Learn Session on November 29. To reserve a space, call (510) 608-1356.
For more information about other Washington Hospital programs and services, visit www.whhs.com.

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