The holiday season is usually filled with numerous festive events that are mostly centered around food, food and more food, especially those of us from the South where family, friends and food just seem to go together especially around the holidays. However, often times these foods are fattening and not so good for the waistline or our Body Mass Index (BMI).
What is Body Mass (BMI) Index?
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can tell you whether you’re carrying too much weight, too little or just the right amount of body fat. BMI is a formula that uses both weight and height to estimate body fat. Doctors use BMI, along with other health indicators, to access current health status and potential health risks. Typically, people with higher BMIs have a greater likelihood of developing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. Other factors such as family history, eating habits and activity level also influence your overall health. So, how do we control our BMI and proper nutrition, especially during the holiday season?
Balancing Diet and Activity
It’s important to know how many calories are being consumed on a daily basis. Keep a daily food and activity diary of what you eat and drink. Each day, write down the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, plus the calories they have. This method of writing down what you eat and drink will help you to become aware of what you are consuming or putting into your body. Also keep track of your physical activity each day and the length of time you do it. For adults, at least 30 minutes of physical activity is recommended each day. This should include moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking and muscle-strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). You can gradulally increase the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active to improve health benefits and control body weight. Consult with your doctor before beginning any work out. Keep in mind that each person may have different neeeds for calories and exercise.
Nutrition Tips for the Holiday Season
Now that the holidays are here, it can often wreak havoc on our healthy eating habits, personal goals and body. Here are some tips to help curb overindulging during the holidays.
- Work the Room. If you tend to overindulge in chips and dip all night long, then stay away from the food table. There’s a less likely chance of overeating if you have to cross the room to get to the food or if you’re chatting with someone.
- Sip Slowly and Smartly. When drinking alcohol, the goal is to keep your calories under control. Take slow sips throughout the holiday event instead of guzzling down your alcoholic beverage. Ask the bartender to only fill your glass halfway instead of to the top. Also be smart about what you drink. Keep in mind that wine tends to contain more calories than vodka, gin, or champagne.
- Be Picky. Pass the hors d’oeuvres. You don’t have to eat everything that’s passed your way. To avoid eating too many calories, limit yourself to only three things that you love. You may want to pass on the fried foods as calories add up quickly when fried. Remember that moderation is key.
- Pass on the holiday sweets. Holiday-themed coffee drinks and sweets, which are often more caloric than regular ones, may seem more desirable to us than non-scarce items. So, it may be safer to stick to the basics.
- Resist the Temptation to “Taste”. Remember that “tastes’ are not calorie-free. Tasting can easily pack on 500 calories, so limit the urge to “taste”. If you happen to work in an environment that is filled with holiday “goodies”, be aware – just because you’re at work does not mean the calories don’t count.
We know that foods during the holiday season can look more appealing than any other time during the year, however, be sure to have a game plan and make conscious healthy choices for your body’s sake.