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Saturday, December 29, 2012

How To Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

“Ho ho ho ho, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” As this holiday season approaches, many of us are preparing for big celebrations and parties. Food, snacks, wine, beverages… there is no better time of the year to fill yourself to your heart’s desire!

However, if you are a health-conscious type of person, then this article will reveal some tips for staying healthy this holiday season (while everyone else around you gains 5 pounds!).

Below are 5 tips for keeping yourself healthy this holiday season:

1. Eat Snacks Moderately – Let’s face it, snacks are abundant during the holidays seasons (as if they aren’t already throughout the year). If you take a seat within an arm’s reach of the snack table, you’re going to have a tough time keeping yourself from unconsciously grabbing handfuls of party mix, candies, and the like and picking at them all day. By sitting on the other side of the room, getting to the snacks involves a conscious effort into getting up and walking over to get at the snacks.

2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! – There is no better thing to do during this festive season than to exercise! If the weather permits it, go out and take a quick walk around the house or block. If your celebration is taking place in a colder climate, you’ll be more inspired to quicken your pace and burn a few extra calories in the process. If the weather is bad, do 10-20 squats, stretches, or other brief exercise each time you go to the restroom. You only want to do just enough to elevate your heart rate, but not break out into a sweat. Chances are, no one will know what you’re doing, and you won’t have to feel self-conscious about trying to maintain your figure.

3. Eat More Healthy Foods – Take an extra scoop of vegetables and fruit when filling your plate, and by the time you finish, you won’t have room for the other foods which are higher in calories and more likely to cause you to gain weight. Also, avoid those fatty and fried foods (they taste good, but you know they aren’t healthy!)

4. Drink A Lot Of Water Throughout The Day – Water helps your body stay fit. Drink a fair amount of water or other unsweetened beverage before each meal, as well as during and between them. The liquid in your stomach will help trick your mind into not feeling as hungry, which reduces the tendency to gorge yourself on potentially fattening foods.

5. Eat In Smaller Portions – Instead of eating platefuls of food, try eating smaller portions throughout the day. No doubt, everything at the table looks good, and it’s all you can do to keep from filling your plate 2-3 times so that you can sample everything. An easy way to combat this urge is to simply take a smaller portion than you normally would of those dishes you’re most interested in, especially belt-bursting desserts. Split a piece of pie or cake with your spouse, child, or another family member who may be watching his or her waistline.

Keeping healthy during this holiday season is simply making sure you follow healthy habits just like anytime of the year. However, don’t fret it if you end up gaining a few pounds during the holidays. After all, the holiday season is only one of the few times of the year where you can truly enjoy yourself!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last minute X-Mas Shopping

If you are like most people you do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots that are filled to capacity and stores that are literally filled with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more and more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for an acceptable gift. Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion, most people leave their shopping until the last minute every year despite New Year’s resolutions to get the Christmas shopping done early. This article will discuss a few different types of last minute Christmas shoppers. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exciting. I'm one that procrastinates.

People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity. Consider college students who typically end the semester around mid to late December. Many of these students are living on campus without access to a car. This can make Christmas shopping quite difficult but when you combine this living situation with the fact that they have finals to take at the end of semester, Christmas shopping becomes downright impossible. Finals often account for as much as 50% of a college student’s grade and it is understandable that they would have to spend the early part of December studying, the middle of the month taking their finals and then wind up last minute Christmas shopping almost immediately after their last final.

Other last minute Christmas shoppers include those who are just born procrastinators(me). They may go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves. While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don’t feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy.

Finally, there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping. Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year. Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn’t feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October. I personally hate the crowds and wish I would get it done earlier.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Time For Giving (Should Be Everyday)

     Recently a friend of mine came to our home to visit.  I could tell this wasn't an ordinary visit, something was wrong.  We visited for a while and talked about where we used to work, and how everyone was doing and how things have been for us as well. I could tell there was something on his mind.  I was trying to decipher in my mind what could be wrong.  We hadn't talked about our current place of employment yet or how our holidays were going to be so I thought I would ask.

     Once I asked where he was working now he said "nowhere right now I'm in between jobs and looking for one at the moment."  I kinda knew then what was wrong.  Now this friend of mine happens to be as old as my dad, has worked his whole life, and taken care of his family without fail.  He now is in need of a job and cannot find one.  It is real hard to get people to give you a chance once you hit a certain age.  It isn't quite right, he is still a very able bodied person and willing to work as hard as anyone else. I did not ask why he lost his job and I didn't care.  I know he is the type of person who does not get fired, he shows up for work when he is supposed to and does a good job, so why he is in between jobs doesn't matter.  I asked him if he is doing alright and he said he was not.  I had just purchased a half of beef so I asked him if he needed some meat in the freezer.  It was hard for me to figure out how to ask without offending him and I know how hard it was for him to say yes but he did, so I gave him some and offered my help with anything that I could.  I am not able to help financially but who is right now, right?

     I was able to help him find a job through my place of employment, and he is now on his way back on his feet again.  I know without a doubt he would have done the same for me.

     I am not telling this story so someone will give me a pat on the back.  I am not looking for praise in any manner.  My point is that everyday should be a time for giving, not just the holiday season.  Too many people turn their back when a friend is in need.  I am not a super religious person but I do believe in God.  This friend of mine said it best when he said "The Lord might not seem to be there ALL the time but he IS always ON time".  I have noticed that this is true.  Things always seem to get just a little worse right before they get a lot better, but they always get a lot better.  I also noticed that the more you unselfishly help people in need, the better off you will be. Good things happen to good people and the same goes for the opposite.

     If you happen to be the person in need and you are reading this, please know that there are still good people in the world who are able to help and still care enough to do so. Please be humble enough to accept the help when it is offered, it is hard for both sides.  The person offering you help is usually afraid of offending you but they are just trying to be helpful.  Good fortune might not always be monetary but as long as you are willing to try and willing to help yourself, you will get what you need or deserve. These times are tough and people have made it through tougher.  In time good fortune will come to you, keep the faith and know that it may not get better right away but it will always get better for sure.

     The point of this story is - if you are able to help someone in need, help someone in need. 

 It's a good feeling to help a friend, or anyone for that matter.  It doesn't have to be a holiday or a special occasion to give from your heart.  

 It's just the right thing to do. 

Go buy a toy and donate it for a kid that you don't know this Christmas, or a hat and some gloves, or a coat.

Help someone you know who is in need if you are able at any time of the year and see what happens. 

You won't regret it.