STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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Whatever you do, start small, set goals and reward yourself when you reach them.


Sources and Resources

Medline Plus: Weight Loss with heart disease The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women

Like many Americans, do you believe heart disease affects mostly men? In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.


Heart disease, according to The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, written by members of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is one of several cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart and the blood vessel system. Others include stroke, high blood pressure and rheumatic heart disease. Coronary heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrow due to a build-up of plaque on the arteries’ inner walls. Plaque is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other dead cells. As this sticky substance adheres on the walls of the arteries, blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced. If this blood supply is cut off to a portion of the coronary heart muscle, the result is a lack of fresh oxygenated blood to that part of the heart muscle, resulting in a heart attack.


There are some well-known risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking and high cholesterol. According to the handbook, some women have a group of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome, which is usually caused by overweight or obesity and not getting enough physical activity. A healthy weight is necessary for a long active life. In the United States, about 62 percent of American women age 20 years and older are

HEART DISEASE AND THE NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

overweight — and of that number, about 33 percent are obese. The more overweight a woman is, the higher her risk for developing heart disease. Losing weight reduces that risk.


But losing weight effectively and keeping it off requires lifestyle changes, such as changes in eating and physical activity. The institute recommends no more than one-half to 2 pounds of weight loss per week, as well as taking a long-term approach to the subject.


For those considering losing weight, the institute recommends a combination of diet and regular exercise such as walking, swimming or biking. Cutting down on calories, especially from fat, is paramount. These two behaviors are a challenge for many but are not impossible to undertake.


Other tips from The Heart Health Handbook include: