Fall Into Health

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By Kac Young PhD, DCH, ND

pumpkinsThe air is crisp, the fallen leaves crackles beneath your step, you’ve exchanged your tank tops to hoodies and you’re spending more time indoors. This is what happens when we switch from summer games to autumn leaves. How are you going to handle the change of seasons? Will you fall back into the bad habits of eating unhealthy foods and too much couch time, or will you jump into autumn with resolve and a commitment to be healthier and happier?

Too often we are predictable and wait until New Year’s Day to make resolutions, which statistically, most of us don’t keep. Instead, try something new this year. Turn Fall into the season of change for you and your family.

Not in your favor are:

Halloween goodies, trick or treat candy, tailgate parties, sedentary television and televised sports events, Thanksgiving overeating, flu season, holiday shopping, seasonal parties, guests and the stress of entertaining, cooking, wrapping presents, decorating and making it all happen for you and your family á la Martha Stewart.

In your favor are:

Healthy eating alternatives for holidays and parties, fall fitness opportunities, changes in your routine, creative rethinking of traditional rituals and the contentment that follows all of the above.

Here are Helpful Tips you can put to good use:

Healthy Eating:

– add more luscious Fall veggies to your meals

– make healthy snacks from veggies slices, hummus, unsalted nuts or unsalted popcorn.

– try a variety of flavored balsamic vinegars as marinade and as flavoring for roasted vegetables.

– consume more sweet potatoes – unbuttered and unsalted. Try them roasted, baked , mashed (without butter) or lightly sautéed in Canola oil.

– when attending parties, arrive full. Choose low calorie cocktails and drink a glass of water between each adult beverage you consume.

– skip dessert. Curb your cravings with just a taste from a friend’s plate. (Ask first!)

– talk more and eat less at all social functions.

– track your food consumption on 3×5 cards or use an app. http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ is a good one.

walkingdogFall Fitness Opportunities:

-use this season to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Try kick boxing, yoga, tap dancing, Pilates, Tai Chi…something that interests you but you haven’t found the time for in the past. Enroll and just do it.

-don’t just “watch” TV. Do something during the game or the show. Crunch the commercials by doing sit ups when the ads come on. Take a jog around the house during commercials. Stand or jog in place for every other segment. Lift weights, do arm exercises, tighten those abs.

-if you’re having coffee with a friend, wear layers and walk with your coffee. Take to the outdoors for your chat and get your body moving along with your mouth.

-if you smoke, quit.

Change Your Routine:

– create a fitness routine or an exercise program and work it before you start your morning for 30 days straight. Your body will adapt to the new routine and have more energy to sustain you throughout the day.

– make sure all bedrooms in your house are quiet, dark and relaxing. Rest is important to a healthy life.

– if you immediately fix a cocktail the minute you get home, substitute that with an activity such as playing with the dog, talking with your kids, or running a load and folding the laundry.

– list the components of your current routine and change at least one of them every day.

saladheartsmallTraditional Rituals:

– cook light and easy holiday meals and every day. Choose recipes from Heart Easy Cooking.

– avoid a large meal at night. Switch to lighter and healthier portions and food.

– do more things together and share the load. Get help in the kitchen by dolling out chores and responsibility. Shop as a family and clean and store foods together.

– don’t buy anything with ingredients you can’t spell or recognize.

– try a new vegetable recipe once a week.

– reduce your sodium, sugar and salt intake. Cook with less and less of these every day. Take the salt shaker off the table. In less than three weeks you will adjust your taste buds to lighter tastes.

– get the rest you need and make sure everyone in your family has some personal and alone time to get away from electronics, phones and social demands. Create a quiet hour for peace and rest that your whole family honors and enjoys.

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy Cook Book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals anyone can make and everyone will love.