by Jim Keck

This time of year has always been tough on my health and my weight, and it always seems to be for the same reasons.

As winter approaches I can no longer enjoy outdoor activities like golf and biking, but I am not quite motivated enough to go to the gym so my activity level drops dramatically.  Even worse, my sweet tooth for chocolate and tasty (but maybe not so healthy) food kicks in around Halloween and usually does not let up until after the New Year.

But here it is December already and for the first time that I can remember, I feel good and have actually dropped a couple of pounds since Halloween.

Here are the three changes I made that helped me stay healthy for the holidays:

Keep Moving

When the weather started to turn cold and the golf clubs and bike got put away, I decided that I needed to do something physical every day.   It was not easy.  As usual, this year I again used the hectic holiday schedule as an excuse not to go to the gym, but now if I decide to blow off working out, I still make myself do something, anything.  It can be yoga, cardio, a brisk walk, or on the days when I am feeling really lazy I’m happy if I do even five minutes of stretching.  Every little bit helps.


50/50 Raw Food

I really love holiday food.  This is the time of year when I find myself craving starches and bad carbs.  Potatoes, bread and butter, stuffing, you name it and I’d eat it.  Dr. Barb is always promoting a 50/50 plate where we eat 50% raw food and 50% anything else (within reason).  I guess her words finally sank in.  Now when I sit down to eat I look at my plate and make sure that at least 50% is occupied by raw food.  This has made a tremendous difference for me.  The raw food has water and fiber that makes me feel full so I don’t eat as much, and the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes help curb my cravings for the bad carbs.


Upgrade the Sweets

I have a sweet tooth for chocolate and I was never too fussy about the quality of chocolate I ate.  At Halloween I would buy some of my favorites and help myself from the trick or treat bowl, then continue to eat sweets through November and December until the extra pounds and the aches and pains in my muscles forced me to realize that it was time to stop.  This year we handed out Glow Sticks instead of chocolate to the trick or treaters which helped me a lot.  But the biggest change for me was that instead of buying common milk chocolate, I now buy high end Swiss and German Dark Chocolate.  I find that just a little bit satisfies me a lot, so I eat much less.  And trust me, it is GOOD.


These three simple strategies have helped me stay healthy and keep the extra pounds off so far this holiday season.  Notice that none of these actions require drastic changes on my part and I am denying myself nothing.  I can still be occasionally lazy about working out, I still get to eat stuffing and even a bit of chocolate.   So in January after the holidays, instead of working so hard to feel better and lose the holiday weight like I usually do, I can go into the New Year feeling good about my health.

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