Tis The Season: Tips To Stay In Shape!

You will enjoy the holiday gatherings even more when you have no feelings of guilt from over-eating and the depression some feel afterwards. Get some great healthy holiday eating tips here...

To me, "Eating is Fundamental". Especially, this time of year! All the holiday parties and gathering are enough to drive you insane if you had to worry about indulging too much right? Has it happened to you? Well, just relax and put your mind at ease because here are a few suggestions that you might consider in order to avoid the guilty feelings as you eat over the holiday.

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Glycemic Index
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The GI I'm talking about should become your best friend. You should keep the GI in your mind or near you at this time of year. The GI can save you from yourself even when you don't want to be saved. What "GI" am I referring to? No, I'm not referring to private Ryan. I am referring to the Glycemic Index.

A Glycemic Index can help you to determine the types of foods that will NOT result in an insulin spike that most definitely results in fat storage. It is an invaluable tool and you'd be surprised by the types of foods that qualify as "low-glycemic".

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The Glycemic Index ranks food based on how it will affects your blood insulin levels. A glucose-based GI will base this ranking in relation to how sugar affects blood insulin levels. Another type of GI called white bread will base its rankings in relation to white bread affect on blood insulin levels. Either GI can provide very useful information if used properly.

The GI will enable you to make more informed decisions when eating over the holiday and will help you to avoid the pitfalls we all have experienced and have payed for during this season. What might you consider a good GI ranking? It is an accepted view by many GI users that a 55 ranking or lower on a glucose-based index is considered low-glycemic and has a favorable affect on blood insulin levels.

GI
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The GI Will Enable You To Make More Informed
Decisions When Eating Over The Holiday.

Foods like sweet potato, banana, oatmeal, popcorn, spaghetti, brown rice etc...all have a low GI ranking. This means you can usually be safe to have these types of foods without the risk of adding extra body fat. Now for the good stuff.

Other surprising foods that you may find with a low GI ranking are: Mars Snickers bar, Mars Twix Bars (caramel), peanut M&M's, sponge cake, low-fat ice cream, Mars Chocolate Doves etc...and the list goes on! Just like you're probably experiencing right now, I was too shocked when I discovered all these low-glycemic wonders!

GI Bodybuilding.com:
International Table Of GI Values.

Check out the Revised International Table of Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load Values to find the GI values of all your favorite foods.

[ International Table of Glycemic Index Values! ]

However, it is important to mention that, although some of these goodies are low-glycemic, many are high in saturated fat content and/or caloric content. What is the best of these evils you ask? Moderation! As the GI helps to decide what is okay to eat this time of year, moderation must be maintained. In other words, just because you can eat it without feeling as much guilt, don't over do it!

GI
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Some Goodies Are Low-Glycemic,
But The Key Is Moderation.

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Moderation
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As I mentioned above, the GI is a great tool for deciding "what" to eat. However, you must maintain some sense of moderation. What is that and how to best approach moderation? Simple. Don't over-eat!

Although everything looks great and delicious and you discover that, based on your GI reference, many foods are acceptable, make sure you resist the temptation to eat all that you can stuff on your plate and in your mouth.

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Keep the portions that you choose small. Instead of two slices of "sponge cake", have a half of one and top it off with a couple scoops of low-fat ice cream. Many times our eyes are bigger than our taste buds and we "visually over-eat".

Overeating
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Many Times Our Eyes Are Bigger
Than Our Taste Buds.

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    Visually over-eating is when you see so much good food and just pile it on your plate whether or not your body can handle it. Remember, it takes approximately twenty minutes for your brain to realize a sense of satiety or fullness.

    That means eating small portions at a slow pace can help reduce your chance of over-eating. Also, you won't feel guilty when you make 2 or 3 more trips to the food table!

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    Just be sensible and you'll be fine. With a little resolve, you will find it very easy to do. You will enjoy the holiday gatherings even more when you have no feelings of guilt from over-eating and the depression some feel afterwards.

    This exercise in moderation can be used throughout the year during any gathering where an abundance of food is available to be devoured!

Overeating
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Just Be Sensible & You'll Be Fine.

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B.Y.O.F - "Bring Your Own Food"
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This is one of the best techniques that can be used to guarantee healthy eating at holiday gatherings. It is not uncommon for someone to bring a dish or two to a gathering. I highly suggest this technique especially if you know you will have problems controlling yourself. It is a great technique because, using the GI of course, you can prepare all types of delicious dishes that others as well as yourself can enjoy!

Preparing something that you normally don't have throughout the year will help to make it even more exciting. For instance, I am a devoted lasagna fanatic! If made using extra lean ground beef (96% lean) and low-fat cheese, you can have a delicious yet healthy alternative that's easy to prepare and a great low-glycemic food item.

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Not only that, it can be considered a quality carbohydrate source. Other delicious and healthy alternatives can be prepared to your hearts content and carried along with you to the gathering. Most hosts will appreciate your thoughtfulness. They won't even realize that you are not only thoughtful but you have guaranteed an alternative that maintains your diet.

Another item that should be in your B.Y.O.F list is diet soft drinks. This is one item we most often fail to consider taking to gatherings. Most people drink regular (high sugar) soft drinks. Some having up to 25 grams of pure sugar or more per serving! This can spell disaster to any health conscious person trying to eat sensible over the holiday season.

Soft Drinks
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Most People Drink Regular Soft Drinks.

As with other food groups, it is a good idea to take a bottle or two of your favorite diet beverage to a holiday gathering. I ensure you that, with all the other beverages available, a bottle or two of the "diet" will last the entire evening!

And for desserts, make sure you bring your own delicious yet daring alternative. A low-calorie, low-fat peach delight cake topped low-calorie whipped cream and made with an applesauce substitute to shortening/oil is a grand idea!

My wonderful "better half" made one of these during the Thanksgiving holiday that we took to our gathering. It was perfect! She also prepared a low-fat, low-calorie banana pudding. Is your mouth watering yet? Holiday gatherings are a time to enjoy friends, family and relax.

I encourage you to prepare a healthy dish or two to take along with you and make your experience more enjoyable and guilt-free than you ever imagined possible!

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Exercise
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The most important and over-looked aspect of the holiday season is exercise! Why? I've heard it time and time again. The same old excuse! It's the holiday and implicitly that means a "break" from the gym with the intent to start full steam ahead in the New Year! Big, big, big mistake!

The holiday is probably the most important time of the year to exercise. With all the festivities that you will most likely take part in, it is especially important to continue to maintain your exercise regime.

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Whether it's cardio, weight training, or stretching, you MUST maintain your activity to avoid the possibility of gaining excess fat during the holiday. It is most likely the best time to exercise. Why? Because of what I've already mentioned. Most health facilities are nearly empty this time of year.

No one wants to spend time in the gym during the holiday. They are spending their time doing other "more" important activities like, eating, eating, and more eating, watching football, eating, watching basketball, eating, going to the mall and stressing out over how crowded and congested things are, eating...get the picture?

Cardio Bodybuilding.com:
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We at Bodybuilding.com are serious about getting the best and most relevant information to you so you can make educated decisions this holiday season.

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After saying that, don't you think spending a little time exercising is kind of important? I do. It will help you maintain what you have been able to gain throughout the year and, more importantly, help you to relieve some of the stress associated with the holiday season. Use the holiday season to try something different when it pertains to exercise.

If you normally weight train, try some sort of low-impact exercise alternative like yoga. Make it a quasi-holiday from the gym by doing something out-of-the-norm. Just make sure you EXERCISE!