Re-posted from 2011…
It’s surprising that Kris Kringle is always portrayed as a full-figured fella, because the man has some impressively healthy lifestyle habits. If you’re looking to make healthy changes this holiday season, or as a New Years’ Resolution, look no further than the man himself. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, we have a special gift for you – Santa’s Diet Tips!
1. Make a List, Check it Twice. Plan a grocery list for the week with seasonal fruits and veggies, lean dairy and protein, beans, nuts and whole grains. Plan your week’s workout routine by ironing out logistics beforehand, like packing a gym bag or adding exercise classes to your weekly planner. If you’re looking to lose weight, make a list of long-term goals (using max 1-2lb weight loss per week) and check it twice for a practical, realistic approach.
2. Use Your Elves. Even Santa needs his helpers, especially when the excitement of Christmas dies down. Methodically plug away at your goals year-round. Do elves make all of the toys in December? I don’t think so! Changes, just like toy-making, require a slow and steady approach. Ask your family for help, such as avoiding bringing home unhealthy snacks or assisting in the kitchen with a new recipe. Change is hard for everyone, but it’s easier when those closest to you support your efforts and help out when they can.
3. ‘Tis the Season of Giving. Share recipes, advice and motivational stories or quotes with others also trying to make healthy changes. Join a community group with similar goals (Jenny, Weight Watchers, church or medical group, or create your own altogether) for support. Freely share what’s worked for you and what hasn’t.
4. Share the Cookies and Milk. It was always my firm belief that Santa shared his cookies and milk with Rudolph and the gang. When faced with dessert at a restaurant or gifts of chocolate and candy, share freely to lessen your portion.
5. Ho! Ho! Ho! Have a sense of humor and don’t be too critical of yourself. Keep your self-talk gentle and kind. Also, laughter burns calories! The International Journal of Obesity found that laughter may contribute to weight loss by increasing calorie expenditure and utilizing abdominal muscles. According to the journal, a belly laugh burns as many calories as walking ½ mile. Researcher Dr. Maciej Buchowski says, “The cost of 15 minutes of laughter over one year may translate into annual weight loss of 4.5 pounds.”
As my theory goes, Santa Claus is actually quite a healthy man. You don’t live to 600 years old (Father Christmas supposedly originated around the 15th century), still fit down a chimney and inspire thousands of 5ks without knowing a thing or two about health and nutrition. I hope the tips above help you find and enjoy the greatest gift of all – good health and happiness. Merry Christmas, everyone!