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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“SAD lights,” which help shine light on the retina and stimulate the brain and body. Moderate your food intake. Keep a set schedule for sleep and activity. Antidepressants can be of use to those who feel these other tactics aren’t fully doing the trick.


There is a difference SAD and vitamin D deficiency, which also occurs in winter months when there is less light. Many people think going to tanning salons is an effective method of replacing vitamin D, but according to Dr. Thomas Kuhn of Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services, this is a fallacy because there are different types of ultraviolet light.


“The light that one experiences in tanning beds is UVA, which doesn’t penetrate the skin in the same way as UVB, which gives us vitamin D absorption from sunlight,” Kuhn said. “You may get a little in the tanning beds, but not as much as you may think or is claimed.”


In addition, keeping up with exercise, monitoring protein intake, drinking plenty of water and having quiet time for meditation and relaxation remains extremely important when battling moods swings in general, whatever the season.

The old Kentucky adage, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,” is as true today as ever. The weather changes constantly in this region, no matter the season. To say our bodies are affected by the weather is an understatement for some people. Many people are more prone than others to environmental shifts.


So many things affect moods, but one certain variable is the change of seasons. It is easier for most people to have “up” moods on days when there is more sunshine, no snow and a general feeling of warmth and coziness. When the temperature lowers to 40°F and below, snow falls, leaves change color and drop and there is less daylight, the body goes through some radical changes.


Most people are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a phrase that was first coined by Normal E. Rosenthal at the National Institute of Mental Health in 1984. Symptoms of SAD can include feelings of depression, low energy, problems sleeping, appetite shifts, problems concentrating, tiredness, irritability, weight gain, hypersensitivity to some issues and suicidal thoughts. These are different from the normal feelings most people have as the winter months approach. The body is preparing to hibernate, trying to pack on a few pounds as our ancestors did to survive the long, brutal winters without heat and indoor plumbing. SAD is a legitimate depression, and some people are more susceptible to it than

SEASONAL MOOD SWINGS

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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others.


Along with the shift in weather patterns come the holidays, which always seem to make people a bit more crazy. Happy jingle bells are everywhere; there is overindulgence in food and drink and increased traffic; every store wants you to buy more; and high expectations that you must play a part in all these rituals can be overwhelming. Add to this the feeling of another year closing and time passing. These abrupt seasonal changes tend to throw us off our game.


The further you live from the equator, the greater the likelihood of being affected adversely as the seasons change. Melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” tends to be released more when we are in the dark. When there is less light, more melatonin is secreted, which can increase drowsiness and create more feelings of listless depression.


Many things can help SAD and other similar conditions that occur as a result of seasonal changes. Spending more time outside in the fresh air and sunshine can go a long way. SAD can also be helped through artificial light therapy or