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CindySays: Come up with a game plan for the holidays

By Cindy Boggs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Thinking about it yet? The new year, I mean.

Like many of us living in a push-come-to-shove kind of world, you may be experiencing that odd tug-of-war where overindulgence collides with commitment. In fact, if you're running on empty, the last three months of the year just may push you over the edge.

Over-served, over-extended and dreading the onslaught of the holidays, you look ahead and make a flimsy attempt at maintaining your health, but you can feel the willpower evaporating.

What's the problem?

During the holidays, we tend to adopt an "all or nothing" mentality. Someone recently told me, "I started junking it up at Halloween, which threw me into stress eating at Thanksgiving and decided there was no sense trying to clean it up for Christmas."

Yes, it happens. You fall off the wagon by devouring those mini candy bars your children dragged in; they (the candy bars) seemed so innocent. Next thing you know, you're scavenging in the bottom of their treat bag for stray candy corn and half-eaten gumballs. There you have it -- permission to ditch all efforts, gobble up a pumpkin pie with a side order of guilt. Yummy!

It's a battle

The last quarter of the year is a challenge for most of us. Sure, a few motivated souls exist and refuse to break. They pass on parties, seconds and leftovers. But for the rest of us less motivated, a shift in perspective just may be in order. A revamped attitude and the ability to set a few boundaries go a long way to limiting the amount of self-imposed health damage. While some may seem too easy to be effective, these are often the things that can make the most difference.

  • Sleep and stay rested throughout the holidays. When rested, we are much more equipped to deal and manage stress -- a trigger like none other when it comes to overeating and overdrinking.
  • Schedule at least 30 minutes to be active. It may not be your regular workout or have the intensity you are used to, but it is vital. Take a walk, do some pushups and lunges, play with the kids or grandkids. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion and this will ultimately help you when you are ready to jump aboard the resolution train in January.
  • Just say yes to those who offer assistance. No need to be a martyr. Relinquish some responsibility and get involved with other like-minded souls.
  • Traditions can be very burdensome so remember that phasing out or changing things up won't compromise your holiday. Be creative and reframe yours, and this may enhance your celebrations and help them fit into your healthier lifestyle.
  • Just say no to some of the obligatory parties and celebrations. You don't have to make it to every event. This goes back to getting enough rest. You really can't enjoy the holidays if you are always exhausted.
  • It's never too late to apply the brakes. Just because you've gotten off course, doesn't mean you can't jump right back on. Digging the hole deeper that you must climb out of in the new year isn't the best idea. You can make positive strides starting today. After you've said no to your children's leftover treats, you may also want to say no to heaping portions and yes to some physical activity and restful sleep. This is your chance to get a head start on the health you'll be searching for when you ring in the new year.
  • Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to cindysays@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.


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