“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Tis’ the season to be jolly and eat and drink more. Or does it have to be that way? This time of year is a time of reflection about what matters most in life, about friends, family and those in need. It is a time to reflect on the higher power, the Creator and to connect with him and his plans for our life. One day this life will be over. Treasure every moment, live sensibly, treat each other kindly and always remember and help those in need.

The reality of the season does not look like a time of reflection. Step out the door and you are immediately bombarded with the true spirit of consumerism. Do not get me wrong. We benefit each other by exchanging goods and services. Those are the dynamics of the market place. Then there are all the holiday parties and functions with (over-)abundant amounts of food and drink. We need to exercise some self-control and create some balance. Or do we? After all, the holidays do not last that long. You are so right. They do not. Nevertheless, I recommend some balance. Go ahead and indulge a little but understand the consequences.

Here are some strategies to enjoy the holiday eating and keep the extra pounds off:

Size Does Matter. Before you go shopping or indulge in any holiday or Christmas party, plan to keep the portions sizes reasonable. Use a smaller plate to help you with this. Think portion sizes. Remember that we have been programmed to think the plate must be big and it must be packed with food and we must get seconds looking the same as the first. As the food is being served, keep an eye on the portion sizes of all food items placed on your plate. If you used a small plate, seconds will not be so much. Drink that glass of wine if you indulge in alcohol and then switch to tea or coffee.

Lifestyle Does Matter. If you lead a healthy lifestyle of sensible eating and regular exercise, the impact of a little overindulgence will not be so great. If, however, you have not been eating sensibly and exercising regularly throughout the year, holiday overindulgence may negatively affect your health. No special programs or strategies that are of a short-term nature will change this fact. That is where the time of reflection is so important. Assess where you are at with your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments, one change at a time. You will be happier and healthier by doing so.

Movement Does Matter. Incorporate natural, every day movement as much as you can in your daily activities. Take the stairs. Go for a walk after work. Mow the lawn. Paint the house. The list goes on. If you are predominantly leading a sedentary lifestyle, your health is at risk for that reason alone. Develop a philosophy of movement and you will naturally burn more calories and feel better. It is also a great stress manager.

Exercise Does Matter. One hour of moderate to vigorous exercise, at least five days a week is the other part of the formula to lead a healthy lifestyle in our society of sedentary living. Cardio and complete body strength training are both important. Of the two, cardio is more important. Most diseases are caused by poor circulation, which is caused by lack of cardio exercises. There are so many different ways to take care of this. Go for a jog, do strength training in the gym, join a group class for a complete body workout, go biking, swim, hike, add push-ups to your jog. Just remember to get your heart rate up intermittently. Pick up the pace in the form of interval training, then slow back down. Interval training can be done repeatedly for a great heart and cardio benefit. Anyone can do it as long as you listen to your body and understand that getting out of breath is a part of making progress.

Your Action Plan. Be aware of negative affect of consumerism, eat sensibly and exercise regularly over the holidays.

You may freely publish and use this article. Please add the name of the author, Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret. along with his website http://www.beachbootcamp.net.

Author's Bio: 

Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.
Fitness Boot Camp Instructor and Personal Trainer
Lt. Col. Weinstein, nationally known as the Health Colonel, has been featured on the History Channel and specializes in a military-style workout for all fitness levels on Fort Lauderdale Beach in South Florida. He is the author of Boot Camp Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes.