The holidays are upon us, and staying healthy during this season can be challenging. While this is true for the general population, it is especially important for individuals with hemophilia or other bleeding disorders. We understand the importance that activity and a healthy diet play in maintaining an ideal weight and decreasing the number of bleeding episodes and amount of factor needed to prevent or control a bleed.
For many of us, food represents comfort and the various smells of holidays trigger numerous joyous memories of childhood. However, studies have shown that a few extra cookies or a slice a pie each day during the holiday season can easily add 4-5 unwanted pounds in only a few short weeks.
How can you enjoy the multitude of desserts at the office holiday party, and still fit into those jeans in January? Well, here a few tips to help you stay healthy and not overeat during the holidays:
1. Eat Small Amounts of Those Comfort Foods You Love – Don’t deprive yourself. Enjoy a small piece of pie or one cookie, but not both. Select one item that looks yummy and that you know you will enjoy. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese and lean meats. Also, split a holiday entrée with a friend/relative when dining out. Portion control is key.
2. Don’t Hang Around the Table or Buffet – Mingle with friends and family. I know it is hard to resist the delicious food calling your name. Choose your items to eat, and then move to a different part of the room if you can. In most cases, you will think twice before walking back to the table.
3. Eat Light and Fluffy Desserts– Select the angel food cake or sponge cake with fruit, instead of pound cake. Eat mousse (which is whipped with air) instead of chocolate pudding and egg custard. Keep it light and low in calories.
4. Drink Lots of Water– Mild dehydration can sometimes feel like hunger, so avoid this feeling and drink water. Water can also be used to slow down your eating by taking a sip or two between bites. Also have a glass or two of water before you start drinking alcoholic beverages, and have one in between drinks to slow down your alcohol consumption as well. Don’t forget, cocktails add calories, so be mindful.
6. Don’t Skip Meals– Breakfast is still very important. Don’t save those calories for a big holiday meal. Not only can skipping meals make you feel tired and crabby, but it can also make you overeat when you finally have a meal. For breakfast, have a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, eat raisins and nuts for a snack, and enjoy a light salad for lunch.
7. Stay Physically Active– Have fun doing holiday inspired activities. Enjoy raking the leaves, walking the mall, a walk to view the holiday lights in your neighborhood, gathering pine cones, playing in the snow, and building a snowman.
8. Be realistic. Select a safe, attainable goal with a realistic time frame. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, begin by eliminating one unhealthy food from your diet at a time, not ALL unhealthy foods. Do what you like to do consistently. If you want to swim, walk, try a yoga class or ride a bicycle, start off doing it 1-2 time a week, then slowly increase your time or distance. Just don’t force yourself in doing something you don’t like.
9.Wear a pedometer. Research has shown that wearing a pedometer encourages people to walk about an extra mile each day, lose weight, and lower their blood pressure. Aim for 10 minutes and amp it up to 30 minutes of brisk walking and a total of 10,000 steps per day. Start slowly. Have a smart phone? Download HFA’s Get in Gear app and log your miles while listening to your favorite music. The app keeps track of your workouts and progress and even rewards you for your efforts!
10. Workout with a friend. Working out alone can be difficult, so find a partner in health. This person will help to motivate you to stay active, boost your confidence, challenge your weaknesses, and make fitness fun. You can do the same for them. Your workout partner can be your spouse or your child.
The benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks of inactivity. For those in the bleeding disorders community it means healthier muscles and joints and fewer bleeds and Factor. What activities are you going to chose to get you on your feet and on your way to better health and a better life? Make 2016 your year!! Happy Healthy Holidays!!
Visit: www.getingearapp.com to download our free app!
*As with any new activity, or if you are having joint or bleeding problems, make sure you check with your physician or therapist to be sure you are ready to get started.