By Jenn Riggle
Christmas has turned into a season of excess – whether it’s eating too many Christmas cookies, replacing our workout schedules with holiday shopping and back-to-back holiday parties, or watching an endless stream of silly and sentimental Christmas movies. I guess it’s only fitting than an overworked and overweight elf is the holiday’s ambassador.
However, I got an idea while watching “Too Cool for Christmas.” In this movie, a teenage girl gives Santa a fitness makeover, only to discover that beneath the red fur suit was the eternally a tan and fit George Hamilton. If only we could be so lucky.
However, there are small steps we can all take to give ourselves a wellness makeover this holiday season:
Christmas is for children of all ages. However, you can’t eat like a kid forever: There are all kinds of fast foods. And while you may not go through the drive-thru on a regular basis, you should take a closer look at what you’re eating. Pizza, pasta and frozen dinners all taste great, but they’re packed with salt and extra calories. Instead, think about making meals over the weekend that you can reheat during the week. Or prepare chicken and veggies in advance so you can make a quick salad when you get home in the evenings.
If you want to squeeze into your jeans, you need to fit exercise into your schedule: The end of the year is a crazy time of preparing for year-end reviews, Christmas shopping (and wrapping) and holiday parties. In the endless whirlwind of activities, it’s easy to be too tired for your morning workout or too busy to stop by the gym after work. So pull yourself away from your desk at lunch and take a 15 to 20 minute walk. You might even become reacquainted with the sun.
It’s okay to dream about sugar plums, as long as you get enough sleep: All right, I’m one to talk. As a busy working mom, I’ve found that the time between 3-6 a.m. is a best time to write – but it’s probably creating some horrible sleeping habits. Research shows that one-third of Americans are sleep-deprived and sleep less than 7 hours a night. I don’t have any solutions about how to get more sleep. However, I find if I put in a Disney animated film in the DVD player, I’m asleep within minutes.
While everyone loves a morning latte, you can have too much of a good thing: This is the time of year when we’re all burning the candle at both ends. Surely we deserve a reward for all of our hard work. But you can make some small changes, such as switching from 2 percent to non-fat milk and skipping on the whipped cream, that can turn a guilty pleasure into a not-so guilty one. Another thing to consider is switching from going on a coffee run once a week, rather than daily.
A tan looks great, but be sure to wear sunscreen: George Hamilton is the poster boy for the golden tan, but it’s important to wear sunscreen – even in the winter. You can get a nasty sunburn skiing or playing out in the snow, so be sure to lather up.
Drink enough water: Okay, maybe you don’t have to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but we all need to drink more water. Drinking water even helps to burn fat and build muscle, and can help prevent cramps and injuries while exercising. Also, you might want to try some flavor packets to add to water. It make drinking water a lot more palatable.
So have a Merry Christmas. I know Santa and I have our work cut out for us in the New Year.