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5 Unique Ways to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

by Dr. Jeff Rebarcak, health and wellness expert
December 04, 2014

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5 Unique Ways to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

Christmas is a season filled with family, candies, cookies, cakes and pies. I certainly have dreams of sugarplums dancing around in my head at this time of year! How do we battle the lethargy and guilt that often come from our overindulgence? Let’s take a look at these unique ways to stay healthy through the holidays:

  1. Slow it down. Mom always said to slow down and chew your food. Guess what? She was right! Recent studies show that if you slow down, eat consciously and chew your food at least 20 times per bite, you’ll eat 15-20% less. Eating slowly also was shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes.  Hormones that signal your brain to stop eating take 20 minutes to tell your nervous system that you’re full. So eat slowly and “chew up” those 20 minutes. You’ll be healthier for it.
     
  2. Use red or blue plates at the dinner table. You read that correctly. The color of your plate can make a significant impact on the amount you eat. Several studies have shown that the color contrast between your food and your plate will cause you to eat 22% less. If your food blends with the color of your plate, you’ll eat more—even if you feel full. The most recent study from Cornell University even showed that having a color contrast between your food and tablecloth could reduce over serving by 10%. Let’s keep it colorful for the holidays!
     
  3. Skip the long workout. Here’s my Christmas gift to you: releasing you from the 40-60 minute treadmill workout routine. Praise the Lord! Dozens of new studies have shown that short, high-intensity bursts of exercise with slow recovery phases (repeated during one exercise session) will burn 3-6 times more fat than endurance training. Studies indicate that 20 minutes of BURST training has significant metabolism and heart benefits when compared to training for 40 minutes or more.  In fact, when you BURST train, your body will burn fat for up to 48 hours. So don’t stress about the long workouts this season. BURST into wellness with a shorter 20-minute program.
     
  4. Laughter IS the best medicine. Let Santa’s “ho, ho, ho” and jolly demeanor be your guide this season. Recent studies from Loma Linda University show that not only does laughter improve your memory; it also lowers your blood pressure. A good belly laugh has also been shown to lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your “stress” hormone and is known for lowering your metabolism while increasing your appetite and fat storage. Let’s heed the wisdom of Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Let’s be mindful to smile and laugh through this time of year. If you do, you may very well be healthier!
     
  5. God’s prescription for health. Jesus is the reason for the season as well as the source of and power to our health and healing. Proverbs 4:20-22 says,

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Meditating on God’s Word IS the answer for our physical bodies. Whether we need a major miracle or a minor wellness tune-up, deliverance and healing begins with dwelling on the Word.

Jesus told us his will for our health in III John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health.” His will is for you and me to have maximum health so that we can serve even more effectively. Let’s not stress during this Christmas season. Instead, let’s implement a few of the easy tips that we’ve discussed and then focus more on spreading the love of Jesus to those around us. 

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