This guest post is written from Barb Geske of Mind-full MotivatorIt’s that time of year, all that holiday cheer. And along with it comes the wonders of holiday shopping. The malls are beautifully decorated with swags of greenery, bright red ribbons, silver bells and twinkling lights. Christmas music plays in every shop we walk in, making sure we stay in that holiday spirit. It’s fun for many of us who enjoy the shopping experience. But, dangers lurk for those of us trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
The aroma of warm, spiced nuts, cinnamon rolls and cookies. Our entire sensory system is on overload, and if we aren’t careful, we can easily fall victim to extra pounds of body fat that weren’t on our holiday wish list.
17 Tips for Holiday Shopping Survival
and Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Before You Shop:
Have a healthy meal or snack. If you hit the stores when your blood sugar
level is low, you’ll have much more difficulty controlling your food choices.
Drink a glass of water. Staying hydrated is critical to brain and body
function. At times, some of us mix up the signals and think our body is asking
for sugar cookies when the message is really, “I’m thirsty.”
Take a snack. I like to take snack size plastic bags of nuts, dried fruit and
sometimes a little whole grain cereal. Be sure to make note of portion sizes.
Take a water bottle. One of my friends has a water bottle holder on a belt
that works really well for power shopping.
Wear your running shoes. Go prepared for a workout!
Take your pedometer.
As You Shop:
Get ready, get set, and turn on that pedometer! It’s amazing how the steps and miles can add up, which means great exercise as you shop.
Drink water often. Think of power shopping as exercise. Both activities need frequent hydration.
Munch on a small healthy snack every 2 or 3 hours. Stop, sit down, and be mindful of your eating. Some people enjoy stopping for a meal at a restaurant to refuel. If you do, be sure to look for lighter fare and control those portions.
Chew gum. Many people find cinnamon or minty sugar-free gum a great help as they steer past the cinnamon rolls.
Carry bags evenly. Try to balance the weight in each hand so that one side isn’t more taxed than the other.
Pull the bags up and down occasionally as if they were hand weights. This gives your arms and shoulders a little strength-training workout.
Walk packages back to the car frequently. More steps, more calories burned.
Stretch. As you stand in each checkout line, stretch a different muscle group and roll your shoulders. Lean into the counter to stretch your calf muscles, tip your head side to side to give that neck a good stretch. Be mindful of physical hunger. If you get hungry, stop for a healthy snack.
When you get home:
Stretch all your muscle groups. They deserve it.
Relax. Take a hot bath filled with bath salts or bubbles, take a nap or read a favorite book while sipping on a cup of non-fat cocoa.
Praise yourself for a great shopping workout and controlled eating.
The trick is for you to maintain control of your eating; don’t let all those holiday foods control you. Fire up! You can do this!
Barb Geske of Mind-full Motivator is a Health & Nutrition Coach with B.S. degrees in dietetics and community nutrition and a M.S. in exercise physiology.