Tis The Season To Be Jolly!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Hump Day!

Is it the weekend yet? It's finals week, which means this is the longest week of the semester for all college undergrads and grad students around the country! One more tonight, and I am DONE! Whoop! How is everyone else holding up?

This is a slight exageration. It hardly even snows in Texas, but itsn't this picture beautiful? [source]

Yesterday, I was in my car for my annoyingly long commute, and I started to think about all of the little perks of cold weather. After more than 10 minutes in the car, my mind starts to come up with some strange things!

Under Appreciated Perks Of Cold Weather
  1. If you leave a water bottle in the car over night, it is ice water when you find it the next day.
  2. People finally stop making fun of you for having two heated blankets and a heating pad all in your living room. :)
  3. You don't ever have to dress up, because anything you wear looks fancy as long as you have a nice jacket on top.
  4. Wind burn can double as blush.
  5. You can drink coffee ALL  DAY LONG and blame it on the fact that you are just trying to warm up.
  6. My personal favorite: your heating pad can double as a teddy bear. I definitely fell asleep Monday night clutching my heating pad for dear life. Nope, I wasn't laying on it to soothe my sore muscles or using it to heat up my sheets. I rolled it up (or Eric did) and wrapped it up in my arms! If you have a favorite stuffed animal you are just not ready to give up, no problem, simply wrap them up in your heating pad (they'll appreciate it too) and snuggle away!
  7. Fuzzy ridiculous looking socks are all the rage.
  8. Leg warmers come back in style. (Ok, not really, but I'm really hoping they do some day!)
  9. You can make chili on Sunday and eat it two other times during the week and still think it's the best thing to cross your lips since wedding cake. ( I really like wedding cake!)

Ahhhh I love being all warm and snugly on a cold winter day. Don't you?

So now for the serious stuff. Winter isn't all warm and fuzzy, unless you count that extra layer of fat that likes to slip up on us this time of year. Yikes! With big sweaters hiding our "problem" areas, many of us fall slightly off the wagon this time of year. So what types of things should we try to avoid?

  1. Drinking coffee all day long (this looks familiar). Some of Starbucks blended coffee drinks (especially the holiday flavors) have over 700 calories and 20 teaspoons of sugar!! Stick with regular drip coffee and sweeten yourself with stevia.
  2. Cozying up on the couch. Since it's cold outside, it's hard to make ourselves hit the pavement for a run or walk, but that doesn't mean all exercise is out. Try taking a new class at the gym, hitting up the elliptical, or even doing a workout DVD in your living room. You might have to put down the heated blanket for this one.
  3. Caving in to rich winter foods. In the summer, the hot weather makes us crave light refreshing foods, but in the winter the opposite seems to be just the case. Maybe it's just me, but cinnamon rolls sound amazing right about now. Broccoli, carrots, cabbage, celery, clementines, fennel, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, leaks, oranges, pears, persimmons, sweet potatoes, tangerines, and winter squash are all in season right now. Try and stay away from fatty stews, pastries, and other winter fat traps and opt for lighter fare instead. There are a ton of soups and low-fat chili recipes that will warm you up without leaving you feeling heavy.  
  4. Not drinking enough water. Does anyone else notice that you just don't drink as much water when it's cold outside? During the hot summer months, I drink water like it's going out of style, but I have to make myself drink enough in the winter. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who drink two eight ounce glasses of water before meals lose more weight than those who don't drink. So before you dive into your chili, try drinking one to two glasses of water. Do the same before reaching for your mid afternoon snack. Many times we think we are hungry, when we are really just thirsty.
  5. Having "just a couple" at Holiday Parties. This goes for sweets and alcohol. Tis the season to be jolly right? Right, but we can by jolly without packing on St. Nicks belly! (Sorry Santa) If you know you are going to be attending numerous holiday parties make sure you are prepared:
    1. Eat before you go so your not ravenous.
    2. Stick with one or two low calories beverages such as vodka tonic, or 1/2 glass of wine with diet sprite (this is my favorite). Whatever you do, just say no to Egg Nog!
    3. If there is a dessert you can't live without, have a small piece and then throw your plate away so your not tempted to go back for seconds.
    4. Stand far away from the food table so you avoid grazing.
    5. Chew gum (politely) during the party, to help avoid randomly tossing things into your mouth.
    6. Bring a healthy option to the party so at least there is one item you know is safe.
    7. Remember Christmas comes every year, so this is not the last time you will ever see Christmas cookies or a gingerbread man.
Let's keep these tips in mind and make this a happy and healthy holiday season!

Food for thought:
What is your favorite thing about this time of year?
What is your favorite trick for staying healthy during the winter months?

In health,

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