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It is almost that time of the year again when festivities roll into one another. One moment it’s Thanksgiving and before you know it, you are scrambling to get your Christmas shopping done. Still, after all the tumultuous events of the year, this season of cheer is a welcome reprieve.
As with every merry-making feast, elaborate family recipes are going to get dusted off and put to use. So, if you hope to avoid the extra post-holiday weight you may want to navigate this season differently. More so if you are hypertensive because dietary choices are directly linked to worsening blood pressure health.
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The Gift of Moderation
The sumptuous spreads that grace festive gatherings are almost too tempting to pass up. Here is the good news, you do not have to. Contrary to many dietary beliefs, healthy eating is not about deprivation. Your body requires nutrition and food, after all, should be enjoyed. The more important thing to focus on is moderation.
One of the ways you can stick to moderation is by watching your portions. Nutrition experts suggest that the largest portion on your plate should contain vegetables followed by lean protein and carbs. You could implement this by measuring your servings by the spoonful. Say, for example, two servings of carbs for three servings of veggies.
Keep tabs on you what you drink as well. It is not often flagged as a weight concern but alcohol does contribute to your calories. Each gram of your favorite pint could carry as much as 7 calories per gram. Add to that the rich hot cocoa served during winter and other sugary drinks and pounds just keep piling on. Remember, therefore, to pace yourself and choose water and low-calorie drinks over the rest whenever possible.
Some of your favorite recipes may be gems that have been handed down through generations. This festive season, try and substitute some of the items with healthier alternatives that can taste just as good. Consider starting with something as simple as cooking oil. Yes, what you have heard about virgin olive oil is true. It is highly beneficial to your heart and overall health, try it.
Other healthy options you could explore include:
Low-fat milk and butter for recipes
Whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta or brown rice
Healthy protein like fish, poultry, and nuts
How you prepare your meals is just as important as the content of your meals. For example, as opposed to deep frying you could opt for air frying or grilling. You would still get to enjoy your meal but without the grease which ends up in your blood vessels as bad cholesterol.
An Exercise Routine
Skipping rope, yoga, and weight-lifting are great workouts you could try out in the comfort of your home. An hour each day could go a long way in keeping your weight low. If you prefer more sweat-inducing activities, Zumba classes might be the perfect fit for you. There are online sessions that you could subscribe to and get to shedding off those calories with some great music.
Admittedly, when you are away visiting family, sticking to a routine may be tricky. That said, how about you get your family to join you? Health and fitness are essential for everyone; they need to keep their weight and blood pressure low just as much as you do. Recruiting them to your routine could save their lives. Moreover, having fitness partners will keep your morale high even on the days you feel like slacking.
Track your Progress
As you keep making healthy choices, you will begin to notice physical improvements. Your waistline may not necessarily shrink 5 sizes immediately but you may begin to:
Labor less for breath even when active
Feel more energetic
Suffer fewer breakouts
Monitoring your blood pressure regularly using a home BP apparatus is also highly recommended. If you intend to travel, there are sleek portable models available in the market that are highly effective. They will give you readings just as accurate as a professional automatic blood pressure monitor. Better yet, you can sync them to your smartwatch through a BP app to have all your health data right in the palm of your hand.
In the past, you may have held your breath every time you were hooked onto a professional automatic blood pressure machine after the holidays. The weighing scale could have been even worse of a nightmare. Not anymore. Now that you know all the unhealthy pitfalls and how to avoid them, you can certainly do better. So, here’s to happy, healthy holidays.