Sunday, December 23, 2007

How to Have a SWEET Christmas

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week - How to Have a SWEET Christmas

Here, I expose my religious orientation, which is Christian. If you do not celebrate Christmas, you might be able to apply these ideas to a holiday that you do celebrate. If you do celebrate Christmas, here are some suggestions for how to have a SWEET Merry Christmas.

If you have kids, tell them to go to bed early because the earlier they to go sleep, the earlier Santa will come. Also tell them they can’t leave their bedrooms until it’s light outside (~7:00 a.m.). Once it’s light, they should wake you up and only open their stockings before you are there (or whatever other restrictions you want to set). At the same time, you should also have your visit with Santa as early as possible (remember, gifts from Santa aren’t necessarily wrapped) so that you can go to bed early too. And don’t eat Santa’s cookies & milk just before bed because the sugar could give you strange dreams and disrupt your sleep.

It’s easy to forget and to be too busy to drink water on Christmas day. Here are a few suggestions that might help you remember to hydrate yourself:
· Drink water each time you eat
· Drink water between alcoholic drinks
· If you’ll be at your own home, have a cup in the bathroom and drink some water each time you go in there.

Don’t “save up” and only eat Christmas dinner because of the “interest” that accrues when you starve yourself. You always hear that you’ll eat more at that one meal if you starve yourself beforehand. Well, I always thought that made sense because the extra calories at that one meal make up for not eating breakfast or lunch. However, what actually happens is that you “accrue interest” and end up eating more total daily calories and more fat, salt and sugar calories when you starve yourself then gorge yourself on one meal. Besides that, you will feel stuffed and uncomfortable for several hours after eating a huge meal.

Now that I’ve convinced you not to starve yourself all Christmas day, be conscientious to eat nutritiously during the other meals of the day. Eat small, simple meals of fruits and veggies and whole grains. These foods have a low glycemic index and a high nutrient content, which means they will keep your blood sugar (i.e., energy) level consistent and add the vitamins and minerals that you might miss in your big, Christmas dinner.

At the same time, and most importantly, enjoy your Christmas dinner! Like I said at Thanksgiving, serve yourself just a few bites-worth of each dish. If you don’t like something, don’t waste stomach space and calories by eating it. Just leave the rest, which will only be 1-2 bites-worth anyway. Holiday feasts tend to be high in protein, fat and high-calorie, low-nutrient carbs. Therefore, load up on any fruits and veggies that you can to get some balance in your nutritional load.

Another way to help control your eating is to wear close-fitting clothes with a belt to prevent yourself from eating too much. Remember the Hawaiians: they wore loose-fitting muumuus and weighed 300 lb. Don’t eat like a Hawaiian.

You’ll feel more comfortable and consume fewer calories and more healthy nutrients if you do the above.

My first thought is: skip it; it’s Christmas!
However, my husband’s family likes to take a walk together after a noontime Christmas dinner. It’s actually very nice to get out in the fresh air and move around a bit after sitting around and eating so much. If the weather continues as is, we should have a beautiful sunny day for taking a nice family walk.

Tranquility could be an easy, natural part of Christmas.
Or Christmas could be stressful due to family relations, having too much to do, having too much to cook and prepare for the family, etc. If Christmas = stress, then you definitely need to plan some Tranquility into your day. It’s a great Christmas gift to yourself. Tell your family you need ½ hr. (or 1 hr.), so they know to leave you alone. Consider your schedule for the day, and decide if, mentally, you need it before the onslaught of Christmas or after it, in order to unwind from the day. Here are some examples:
· Go to church; ‘tis the reason for the season.
· Morning: take a bath with nice bath oil or salts, a candle, and peaceful Christmas music to start your day.
· Noon: After opening gifts with your immediate family and before your afternoon or evening extended family gathering, take a walk, or have a family “Quiet time” when everyone does something quietly, like read a book, newspaper, or magazine; play with new, quiet toys; watch a football game, etc.
· Evening: If your Christmas celebration ends by the early evening, it’s a good time to take a walk and enjoy the Christmas lights in your neighborhood, watch a Christmas movie, use a Christmas gift (if you received anything relaxing), etc.

Christmas should be a fun, happy celebration. It’s up to you to make sure you have a SWEET, wonderful day.

Merry Christmas!


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