Ester Marsh: The holidays are here

Published 1:01 am Monday, November 12, 2018

The holidays are here!

I know its “only” mid-November, but a big “happy birthday” is due my oldest daughter, Frankie, on her 26th.

Thanksgiving is early this year, followed by Christmas and New Year’s.

I am super-excited for this year’s holiday parade on Nov. 21. The Y is having a float with Novant. With a new committee leading the parade, it’s going to be magical with so many floats, bands and more. I will be there on our float, and I hope you will be at the parade, too. It will be a great event for family and friends to officially kick off the holiday season.

The holiday season is an exciting time, but it can also become a stressful time. With planning, continuing (or starting) an exercise routine, giving the body the foods it needs and proper hydration, you can make it through the holidays and not gain the average 7 to 10 pounds many Americans gain in the holiday season.

Hopefully, the following will be helpful tools you can implement to get you through the holidays strong, healthy and with no, or very small, weight gain.

• Don’t over-commit to parties, gatherings and functions. The party will go on even if you can’t make it.

• Plan your exercise routine ahead; work it into your busy schedule. You might have to change the time of day, but work it in.

• Weigh yourself weekly. This way, you don’t have a great shock when you finally stand on the scale in January.

• Log your foods. Writing down everything you eat makes you aware of the calories consumed. When you have a special occasion where you know you are going to blow your diet, be frugal with your calories the rest of that day and increase your exercise time for that day.

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Especially if you consume alcoholic drinks, water is important. Alcohol dehydrates the body, so in between drinks, have a water or sparkling water. It’s still festive, and there are plenty of choices.

• Eat a healthy and light meal before you go to a party or function. This way, you won’t attack the snack table as soon as you walk through the door.

• Use a small plate if possible to get your food. You can only pile it so high.

• Wait 20 minutes before you go back for seconds. It takes the brain about that long to figure out that you are full. If you still have room for seconds in 20 minutes, go for it.

• Wear fitted clothes. It makes you more aware when you eat too much.

• Most important, treasure your family and friends and truthfully enjoy the holidays.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.