MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 3, 2012

You’ll have to give yourself good health

By Lisa Wade Raasch
Get Healthy Muskogee

— Dear Santa,



Christmas is less than a month away and I’m writing early so you can get a jump-start on rounding out my holiday wish list.

Please, Santa, could you bring me a belly like yours, one that shakes like a bowl full of jelly?

And although we can’t see it, I’ll bet you’ve got a couple of chins hiding under that beard. May I have an extra chin, too?

How about a bigger backside? With your fancy red suit, you already know the answer to the age-old “does this make my butt look fat” question. But you’ve learned how to pull it off, and I want to be more like you.

I know, I know. These are the same “gifts” I received last Christmas.

I’ll help again this year by shoveling in forkfuls of pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes. And, with cooler weather and less daylight, I’ll stop exercising so I can store up as many calories as possible.

Oh, and one more thing. Could these gifts not come with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease? My doctor is starting to get a bit worried and is threatening medication if my health keeps going south.

No? It’s a package deal?

But, you’re Santa. You’ve got elves and flying reindeer. Surely you can figure out how I can eat my way through the holidays without harming my health.

If you can travel the world doling out gifts in one night, I have faith that you can save me from my over-indulgent self.

What do you mean it doesn’t work like that? How can the gift of health be in my hands?

You want me to take responsibility for the repercussions of how much I eat and how little I move?

That hardly seems fair.

What happened to the days of asking for the latest toy and it magically showing up on Christmas morning? Why can’t that apply to health, too?

Hmm.

Maybe I’ve changed my mind on that double chin. Maybe for Christmas this year you could give me the gift of willpower.

Yes! Willpower! That’s what I want.

With willpower from you I can simply decide once and for all to resist those tempting treats, to exercise daily, and to finally commit to that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight that I make every single year.

What do you mean it’s not that easy? Willpower can’t come wrapped in a box with a shiny bow?

Isn’t there some magic pill those elves of yours can whip up to make willpower and healthy habits easy?

No?

Dude, I’m seriously losing faith that you’re as all-knowing and magical as parents have proclaimed for centuries.

OK. So I can’t pig out for the next month on holiday goodies without getting a bigger belly, and that bigger belly can lead to health problems, but you can’t give me willpower or a magic pill to avoid temptation.

What’s a person to do? Can you at least share some pre-Christmas health tips to help me survive the holidays without needing to buy my own big red Santa suit and beard to hide the extra pounds? Surely you have a wellness elf who can help with this request.



Sincerely,

Still Your Biggest Fan in Muskogee



Lisa Wade Raasch coordinates the Muskogee Wellness Initiative and directs the EOK Health Care Coalition. For more tips and resources for a healthier holiday, go online to www.

MuskogeeWellness.org.

Healthy holiday season tips from Santa’s wellness elf

• Don’t make December the month of overindulgence: Santa will need to bring you a bigger belt and you’ll start the year off on the wrong foot. Jump-start your resolutions now by flexing your self-control muscles this month.

• Splurge in moderation: Kick the Diet Grinch to the curb and splurge just a little. Enjoy holiday foods in moderation. Consider having half a piece of pie at a party instead of two pieces for breakfast. Be sensible.

• Fill up on healthy produce: Don’t take a holiday from nutrition. Get your five servings of fruit and vegetables every day and you’ll be less tempted by the greasy, fatty, starchy, sugary holiday foods.

• Keep moving: Show off your festive footwork or walk an extra lap around the mall while shopping. Keep moving to avoid extra holiday pudge.

• Model healthy hosting: Make healthy options available when you host dinners or parties, or take a healthy dish with you. You’ll know there will always be something you can enjoy guilt-free.

• Keep an eye on priorities: Family and friends are the reason we get together for the holidays. Instead of making more trips to the buffet, make happy memories that don’t involve food.

• Keep the “Happy” in holidays: Holidays can trigger stress and emotional eating. Exercise, deep breathing and a nutritious diet can help alleviate the emotional urge to splurge.

• Drink water: Holiday drinks can be loaded with calories and sugar. Drink eight glasses of water a day for better health.