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How Much is Too Much?

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Beth Bielat

Aging Well / / December 09, 2013

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The holiday season is officially here and temptation is all around us! It can definitely be hard to refrain from over doing it. In an effort to help us stay healthy and happy this holiday season, our Reveille fitness and wellness guru, Beth Bielat has some tips on how to determine when too much becomes too much! 

How much is too much food and alcohol?

Everyone is different. Our calorie intake and alcohol consumption can vary from person to person, gender to gender, size to size, etc. But here are some general guidelines:

In an article from Mayo Clinic the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that "if you choose to drink alcohol you may do so only in moderation - up to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men". If you are Diabetic and have another medical condition or you are taking medications, you should consult your doctor.

With holiday festivities, quite often it may be that you end up having a few extra drinks and alcohol use is a slippery slope. It's easy to drink too heavily, leading to serious health consequences. Be careful, not only is drinking and driving a problem, the calories can add up fast. Here’s how the problem grows…more drinks, more calories, poorer choices in food, and alcohol slows your metabolism. So it’s a double or triple whammy.

As for food intake, calories add up so quickly. A few bites here, a few bites there, a drink and the next thing you know – pow – 1000 new calories. Do that for a few nights and you’ve already gained a pound, right?

Some feasting tips:

  • Choose shrimp, veggies and fruits.
  • Stay away from fried foods, the creamy stuff and anything with pie crust.
  • Don’t go to parties hungry!
  • Don’t eat unless you are hungry - and you shouldn’t be too hungry because you ate a healthy snack a few hours prior...right?
  • While cooking and baking, chew gum! I know this sounds funny, but it works!
  • Drink lots of water.

Some healthy cooking tips:

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Keep cut up vegetables and fruits in the fridge. If healthy snacks are easily accessible, you will tend to reach for them more than slaty chips or sugary sweets.  I even always include big vegetable and fruit salads as part of holiday meals so that the whole family has healthy fresh options throughout the meals.

You would be surprised how far a tablespoon of butter or oil will go for some recipes that include stuffing, sautéing, etc. I make a huge serving of healthy stuffing with just one tablespoon of butter. I sauté lots of onions and celery (and sometimes mushrooms), then I add skim milk to a loaf of healthy whole wheat bread, (I mush everything together with my hands) Bell’s seasoning and some chicken broth. Yummy, my family loves the treat and it’s a tenth of the calories of regular stuffing.

Some breathing tips:

First, you must be conscious of your breathing and how you are feeling. If you are feeling stressed or anxious try some deep breathing techniques. Take some deep inhales through your nose into your belly and draw the breath up into your chest – like a wave. Then, on the exhale…just sigh through your mouth. You can even make a sighing noise on the exhale. It feels really good. If you are home alone, you can even give a good yelp on the exhale a few times – that feels good too.

Some other helpful tips: 

  • Try to stay calm during holiday shopping or other overwhelming events.
  • Start holiday planning as early as you can. You feel so much more “in the spirit” if you are not rushed, irritated and panicking.
  • Be organized: Organize your time, your lists, your holiday wrapping etc.
  • Try to find time to “get it together” and create a positive intention for your holiday experience. For instance, “I am going to have fun, stay calm, and enjoy my time with friends and family.” 
  • If something unexpected happens, go with the flow. It’s not the end of the earth to change some plans mid-stream, right?
  • Most of all – have fun, remember the purpose and spirit of the season. How about some random acts of kindness? Remember "Kindness" is a Reveille Arch Ideal! 
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About The Author
Beth bielat   headshot
Beth Bielat has spent 35 years as a fitness professional.  She is the fitness director for Joan Lunden’s Camp Reveille as well as the fitness professional and manager at the Ocean reef Club in Key Largo, FL.  Beth specializes in life coaching, martial arts, self-defense, yoga, tai chi, and she is a certified nutritional councilor.  Beth founded the LifeBreath Institute and she is an author and speaker on health, nutrition, and fitness.  Beth is also a mom, grandmother, devoted wife, outdoor enthusiast including cycling, hiking, canoeing, backpacking and swimming, healthy cooking devotee and a strong believer in spirituality and faith.
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