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By Gina Cousineau
Every day, my clients tell me how difficult this time of year is with all the holiday events and not-so-wholesome goodies placed in their paths. Human beings are fascinating, as we cling to the nostalgia of Christmas’ past and continue to return to particular foods and habits that we believe bring us joy.
While the human body is incredibly resilient, as we age, we just can no longer get away with these behaviors like when we were younger. I would like to make a few suggestions for the next few weeks to help you through what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.
First, instead of trying to “save” calories in preparation for the big meal, try to eat more mindfully throughout the day with healthy meals that include a plethora of veggies, whole grains and legumes, lean proteins, fruit, and wholesome fats.
Use the “Healthy Plate” visual that I have shared in the past; fill a quarter of your plate with protein and a quarter with a starch/grain, and the other half of your plate with veggies. This will allow you to have more willpower and resiliency at the actual event.
Then consider limiting yourself to one alcoholic beverage, not only to limit added calories, but also to prevent the loss of inhibitions, which only add up to a binge fest. Sticking to a glass of wine or beer, then moving to seltzer, is logical for not only your health, but for the safety of others.
And, finally, choose treats and splurges that are really special—i.e., things that you can’t get year-round, like your Aunt Mary’s pecan pie or Uncle Mike’s eggnog, and do so in moderation, as these things will be there again next year.
As you ponder the New Year and attempt to enjoy the moment, I would like to provide the following hacks to help you be a healthier and happier human.
Let’s consider the low-hanging ornaments for better health this holiday season, rather than considering starvation, restrictive and punitive diets, along with mysterious pills/potions touted for weight loss, especially given the significant evidence supporting the following practices that can help you live longer, think more clearly, and reduce depression and anxiety:
- Eat more healthfully (stick to plant-based approach with added lean proteins/healthy fats; while calories do matter, the healthy plate approach is a good starting point).
- Exercise with regular frequency (150 minutes of moderate activity each week; walking is completely acceptable for most).
- Sleep approximately eight hours per night (get into a routine and practice good sleep hygiene techniques).
- Maintain reasonable body weight (know that a 5-10% weight loss can dramatically improve health).
- Seek ways to reduce stress and change unwanted behaviors (seek professionals to help in these areas as needed).
Bottom line, there is no one solution to lose weight and improve your health. You must consider the “nutrition, sleep and exercise” triad. In the Mama G Lifestyle, we address all of these aspects in our lives.
Visit my website at mamagslifestyle.com and register for our newsletter in the “contact us” tab to get more info about weekly freebies. Click on the center box to get our first-ever “12 Days of Christmas” Recipe Giveaway, providing nutritious and delicious, easy recipes the entire family will enjoy, and consider joining our 12-week group virtual “Cooking Your Weigh to Health” Jumpstart Program that begins in January.
Gina Cousineau sees clients virtually and in person out of her San Clemente office. Her extensive education—a BS in dietetics and MS in integrative and functional nutrition—chef training, and 30-plus years as a fitness professional allow her to help clients lose weight and improve their health. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle. Register for her complimentary weekly newsletter at mamagslifestyle.com.