Have a heart-healthy holiday
With the holidays just around the corner, we are about to kick-off the fun yet often busy season, when a lot of us tend to put our health on the back-burner. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares why you should consider your heart health this holiday season.
Why we tend to forget about our health during the holidays?
Nurse Rose: We all know the feeling of clothes fitting a little snug around this time of year. Keeping up with healthy habits is tough around the holidays for a few reasons:
- An increase in eating unhealthy food at holiday parties
- Boost in stress due to lots of holiday responsibilities
- Less exercise due to cold weather and busy schedules
Does a few weeks of unhealthy eating really matter?
Nurse Rose: It does. The average American gains about one pound over the four-week holiday period, which may not sound like a lot. But, over time it adds up and can eventually lead to obesity and increased risk of heart disease. Also, it’s much tougher to lose weight as you age. In-fact, even those who remain active lose muscle mass every decade beginning in their 30s.
How can we stay on top of our health over the holidays?
Nurse Rose: Follow these heart-healthy tips this holiday season:
- Everything in moderation. It’s okay to enjoy the treats of the holiday season, but pay attention to serving sizes. Don’t indulge at every meal, and know when to say “I’m done.”
- Weigh yourself regularly. This helps you stay in tune with your body and make better choices during the day, especially when faced with indulgences at parties. Some experts recommend daily weigh-ins to stay accountable, while others recommend weekly weigh-ins since you might experience minor fluctuations in weight each day.
- Stay active. Don’t let the cold or a busy schedule keep you from moving! Walk indoors or do some indoor exercises like jogging in place, jumping-jacks or push-ups.
- Eat half a dessert. Take a taste, but eat only half a serving of the sugary and carb-rich treats like cookies, pie or cakes.