Simple, healthy choices can make for healthier holidays | CraigDailyPress.com

Simple, healthy choices can make for healthier holidays

This holiday season

— Endless holiday parties, decadent foods and busy schedules can make the holidays into a health fiasco, but with a little bit of intention and a few good strategies, you can enjoy the season without throwing your health out the window.

Diet and exercise are both important to feeling your best throughout all the merriment, however if staying trim is your main objective, it all starts with what you eat.

"Exercising daily is going to decrease your risk for heart issues and other issues… but it's equally important to focus on what you're putting into your body," said Weigh and Win Health Promotion Manager Kaytee Long, "If you're working out like a crazy person and eating poorly, you're not going to achieve your goals."

Weigh and Win, which has a kiosk located in the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in Craig, is a free program supported by Kaiser Permanente that incentivizes weight loss and offers participants daily tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The Weigh and Win Holiday Challenge kicked off before Thanksgiving and encourages people to maintain their weight within one pound through the holidays.

"On average, a person will gain one to two pounds during each holiday season. This excess weight is typically never lost which, over time, can add up to a significant weight gain," according to a Weigh and Win press release.

When it comes to navigating holiday parties and workplace treats, Weigh and Win offers these tips to participants:

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• Grab a small plate instead of a big one, even if you're hungry.

"We found that those with small plates consumed 16 percent less than those with large plates," Long said.

• Fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables before moving onto the more indulgent treats, like meats, cheeses, fried foods or desserts.

• Opt for sparkling water and lemon sometimes instead of rich, alcoholic drinks.

"I think a lot of people are not aware of the calories that are in holiday drinks," Long said. "A lot of them are cream-based (or sugary) drinks and they can have upwards of 300 to 400 calories per glass, which can put a huge dent in your calorie intake."

Local runner, teacher and Craig Middle School track and cross-country coach Sara Linsacum tries to stay the course through the holiday seasons by cooking up healthier versions of holiday dishes, setting limits on sweets and getting the family involved.

She and husband Travis Linsacum have made a family tradition of writing their own special workouts for the holidays, and inviting siblings, cousins and kids to join in.

"Include your family. Make it a tradition that you have workouts or a time everyone can go on walks," Sara Linsacum said. "Growing up, the aunts and uncles would always go for a long walk and I would go out running. I think it's about fitting it in, but also making it something you can do as a family."

The annual Turkey Trot is one great way to get the family outside and exercising together over the Thanksgiving weekend. This year's Turkey Trot 5K and one-mile Fun Run/Walk event, organized by Hayden School District, takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Dry Creek Park in Hayden.

Other tips for staying active include getting up from your desk at work at least once per hour to stand or walk around, or park further away when running errands.

"Incorporating small changes into your day and over a consistent amount of time does make a difference," Long said.

For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.weighandwin.com.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

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