‘Tis the Season to Binge and Stress; This Year Avoid the Holiday Worry and Pounds

The holiday season is a time full of joy, cheer, parties, and family gatherings. However, for many people, it is also a time filled with anxiety, stress, and weight gain. Unfortunately, many people often use the busy holiday season as an excuse to reduce exercise or put off starting a new program. Often these people have the intention of coming back with a vengeance after the New Year. “The New Year is just around the corner and I’m going to lose weight and get in shape”; this trusty New Year’s resolution declaration is also conveniently used to justify holiday overindulgence. Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) have shown that for most people weight gained during the holidays is not lost and accumulates on a yearly basis. Says NICHD Director Duane Alexander, M.D; “These findings suggest that developing ways to avoid holiday weight gain may be extremely important for preventing obesity and the diseases associated with it.” Maintaining a regular exercise program throughout the holiday season provides benefits on many different levels.

The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests can contribute to feelings of tension. According to The National Mental Health Association, (NMHA) this tension can illicit stress responses such as: headaches, excessive drinking, difficulty sleeping, and the ever-popular over-eating. Exercise has been shown to be a tremendous tool to manage stress. Exercise will give you energy and the mental strength to deal with the mad rush of holiday shopping, holiday travel and holiday visitors. Managing stress with exercise can also help control cravings for those comfort foods that adorn the holiday tables. Regular exercise also increases metabolism, thus reducing the detrimental effect of an occasional extra cookie or glass of eggnog. Experts at NMHA claim, even more people experience post-holiday let down after the New Year than suffer holiday anxiety. With this comes lack of motivation and comfort eating. Its no wonder those New Year’s resolutions are rarely successful.

Parties, large meals and extra calories are almost unavoidable during the holiday season. Weight maintenance rather than weight loss through the holidays is a much healthier goal. Exercising regularly and enjoying the few extra calories will break the vicious cycle of guilt, feelings of failure, and more eating. Getting a head start on exercise prior to January 1st will give you a healthier and happier holiday season as well as make those New Year’s resolution goals far more attainable.

Healthy Holiday Tips:

1. Focus on weight maintenance not weight loss – Parties, large meals and extra calories are almost unavoidable during the holiday season. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it; setting difficult or unrealistic goals can lead to a vicious cycle of guilt, feelings of failure, and more eating.

2. Get moving – Regular exercise will increase metabolism and allow you to enjoy a few extra calories without putting on the pounds. Exercise will give you energy and the mental strength to deal with the mad rush of holiday shopping, the holiday travel or holiday visitors and the party hopping.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep – Lack of sleep impairs our ability to handle stress (which there is usually no shortage of during the holidays). Chronic sleep loss can also affect various components of metabolism that influence hunger and weight gain.

4. Substitute healthy recipes – Use applesauce in place of oil; use egg whites in place of whole eggs; try plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream. Magazines and healthy cooking cook books are full of reduced calorie and reduced fat holiday recipes that taste great.

5. Don’t go to parties hungry – Going to a party on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast and eating sensibly throughout the day should help you control your appetite and avoid over-indulging on the typically high fat and high calorie holiday fare.

6. Eat slowly- Make one plate of the foods you really want. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. Take your time to enjoy the taste of every bite, and you will realize you don’t need to go back for seconds.

7. Limit alcoholic beverages – Liquors,wines and mixed drinks can contain 150-450 calories per glass whereas, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. If you choose to drink, try light wines and light beers, and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water and diet soda. Limit yourself to one to two drinks.

8. Get rid of leftovers – Some foods are more fattening than others, however, no food will make you gain weight unless you eat too much of it. Often we eat beyond our body’s physical hunger simply because food is there.

9. Keep it in perspective – It takes days of overeating to gain weight; one day won’t make or break your eating plan. Nothing is more destructive to a healthy eating plan than the negative feelings of failure and guilt. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal or party, don’t beat yourself up; simply return to your sensible healthy diet the next day.

Black Friday for Beginners: How to Survive the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year!

What is Black Friday?

Perhaps the most popular shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving (Friday) is named “Black Friday” because this is the day that most retailers go from being not profitable (red on earnings statements) to profitable (in the “black” on earnings statements.) Deal finders love these sales, and I have been going for a few years now. Generally speaking, I love Black Friday, but with the birth of my new son, it doesn’t seem practical to get up at 4:00 in the morning to find these great deals!

Here is the strategy I have used to be successful in getting every item on my wish list:

1. Get the ads – Either online or the day that they come out in the paper, grab all the ads from the papers and sit down with a pen and paper. Remember that rural areas don’t often get all the ads from the retailers, so if you are missing one from a store you want to shop, you can probably go online and get one from them at their website directly.

2. Ad by ad, circle the items that you want the most. Remember that many stores will be offering the exact same items on sale, so price compare. I use 3×5 cards to make a list for each store on each card with the items I want for that store. Group them by department if you wish for easier navigation in the store.

3. Make note of the times that the stores open on each note card. The strategy will be to go to the stores that open earliest first, and so on so that you can grab those best deals as they become available.

4. The day before the sale – Lay out your clothes, wallet, notecards, and a quick breakfast bar or other item to snack on before you go or on the drive. Remember that it may be very cold at 4a.m. where you live, so dress warmly. Avoid bulky coats if you can (dress in layers), as you will not have room in your cart to stash your coat, and it will get very, very hot waiting in those lines.

5. The day of the sale – Hit the road with your best co-shopper. This works best with a friend.

6. Hit the earliest store first. Try to get there at least 10 minutes before the store opens. You will possibly have to wait in line, but get in there. When you door opens, never push or shove other shoppers. In fact, if it is overwhelming for you, hang back a bit and let the most aggressive shoppers through first. I usually wait casually until the rush gets in, and if there is already a cart or two in the parking lot, grab them! There will be a mad dash for carts that will cause the biggest confusion. (Sometimes they run out of carts.)

7. Head for each item on your list. Most of the really good early sales (those listed for opening until about 11 a.m. only) will probably be out in the aisles for easy access. If you find an item on your list that is hard to get to (due to crowds or narrow aisles) have one of you wait by the carts and the other grab the item. This teamwork approach works great for “divide and conquering.”

8. When you are about done, try to combine all items into one cart and head for the check out line. One of you wait in line while the other roams the store for any missed deals. Check out and head for the next store on the list!

9. Don’t forget to get some breakfast, coffee and bathroom breaks as needed. Don’t let the experience stress you out! After all, you are getting some great deals.

10. And last but not least, DON’T FORGET GIFT RECEIPTS! These are very important to have if you are claiming any rebates.

If you get home and want to venture online, many stores will be having some or all of their sale items online, too! You may find that this approach works best for items where you only have one thing to get at a retailer and it is not offered exclusively during that “early bird” morning window.

Once you go shopping with a plan in mind, this shopping holiday can become a favorite shopping tradition. Happy deals to everyone!

Where to Shop When You Are In Dorset

Dorset is a great county to do your holiday shopping. The bright array of colours and wide variety of designs makes it a great haunt for discerning shoppers. Many people do not see Dorset as a shopping paradise because it is not very popular and Dorset does not actively promote its shops. Holidays in Dorset will give you the opportunity to shop at the small local shops. These eclectic shops showcase the many talented designers and their work. You will be able to get a unique piece of clothing that no one has seen if you shop in Dorset.

Most tourists who go on Torquay holidays often visit the small shops at the harbour for shopping and some nightlife. Though the place is not famous for shopping, the location hides many different gems for you to uncover. If you are planning to spend your holidays in Dorset, do not miss out on the few areas highlighted here. Also if you are intending to embark on Torquay holidays, these few places are around the county and planning a trip there is a worthwhile experience!

Beales

Bournemouth has a very old shopping mall dating back to 1881. Beales has been entrenched in the history of Bournemouth. Even though it has 20 stores around England, Beales birthplace was at Bournemouth. Shopping here is not about the hustle and bustle of city life. There is no rush hour traffic or large major towns where stacks upon stacks of department stores await. Instead, shopping here is more eclectic. Individual boutiques surround the entire streets. You can still find large chains but the emphasis of this area is about small unique boutiques. Holiday makers enjoying their holidays in Dorset or those enjoying their Torquay holidays can visit this store and pick up some things. You might even be able to pick up some trendy fashion items at this place.

Town and Village Markets

If you prefer to discover more unusual items that hobbyist make, you need to visit the village markets. Each town and village has their own unique angle and their own unique craft. If you fancy finding the extraordinary or the unusual, do spend a few days hunting for these gems. Markets are often hosted once a month where hobbyists from all around town will gather and share their wares.