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Holiday Health

As I write this in mid November sitting by the fireplace by the pool it’s such a nice almost summer like day that it’s hard to imagine that Thanksgiving is around the corner and then it’s time for Xmas plans. There is as yet no holding back the hands of time so might as well get ready for it. Not too ready … I still shudder at all the Xmas decorations even before Thanksgiving but that’s just the traditionalist in me.

There’s a lot of health issues around the holidays and we might as well deal with the most common and get our Xmas cards on the table … so to speak.

This can be a rough time of year both physically and mentally. Physically because this is when you go a little cra-cra with the diet … The typical adult puts on 1-3 pounds of weight each year and this is the time of year when that happens. You did fine the rest of the year but now look at you!?! Are you really cutting into that cakey thing made of nutella and dried prunes? You can’t possible reel it in after that first piece of pumpkin pie? You can at least go for a walk before or after dinner … it won’t give you any real weight loss but at least when you are walking you are probably not eating. I know there are those proud few of you that can eat and exercise at the same time but you are not reading any articles about health or medicine so I can safely exclude you from the conversation. I love how people act like the holidays sneak up on them every year … I had no idea we would be sitting down to a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Who knew there would be treats on the table for the holidays? Who could have guessed? pv-1

You could actually plan for these occasions … intentionally bringing a healthy choice to the communal dinner, you could get some extra walks in and or trim down your usual portions for the week or two before the get together to keep the weight gain down. I am not saying you should not enjoy the holiday … life is way too short and I have no objection to the eat dessert first crowd. I am saying throw some cranberry on that plate … even the kind that still has the ring imprints from the can it came from. (That’s my personal favorite). Take a couple spoonfuls of that green bean casserole … it’s good and it’s good for you. Well, as I write this I realize when you read this you will already have debauched yourself at Thanksgiving but you can still get yourself together for the rest of the year end festivities.

This is also a tough time of year physically because people “turtle up” for the winter. They have no problem being outdoors and active during the three months of the summer but wintertime comes and they go into exercise hibernation waiting out the long cold months for the sun and warm weather to return. That’s too much down time for a person of your age. You have to keep moving it in the winter. You don’t have to go to the gym but you should move around more than you are. Don’t kid yourself … if going down the stairs with the laundry is really exercise for you … you are not the fittest amongst us. Of course I’m a big fan of walking but I understand the dangers of the slippery sidewalk, etc but you can always walk at the Mall. It’s absolutely nothing like being outside in the elements but it is safer! pv-4

Turning to the psychological side of the holidays this can be a stressful time. A lot of people let the whole family gathering and or gift giving get them anxious and depressed. Also people who have lost a loved one during the year are experiencing their first holiday without them and I just don’t know how to lessen that pain except to urge them to find comfort in the company of others. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend the great local charity Hope for Bereaved because this is completely their bailiwick.

Now on the issue of gift giving … Last year I gave someone who I thought I knew a gift of Bacon of the Month … and I mean this was high end, thick cut, special rubs and salts specialty bacon not a package from the Gas and Go … in return I got a disco ball from Spencer’s gifts with the promise that if I gave more bacon further disturbing gifts would follow. Needless to say all subsequent bacon was diverted … to my house … I still don’t know what to make of this incident because I thought a love of bacon was shared by all guys my age. My point being you can torture yourself trying to think of gifts and be oh so wrong so why not try something new? Is it too trite to suggest you give the gift of time together? Instead of that sweater you know they will exchange … why not movie tickets to a show you can all go to together. Why not a dinner gift certificate that includes you? Tickets to a baseball game are dirt cheap so you can’t throw down the $$$ excuse. Speaking of getting together as a gift, which it surely is, this is the perfect time of year for that because there are Christmas shows aplenty. To bring just two to your attention why not check out The Desantis Xmas show at the Palace Theatre Sunday Dec 11th … This is a great venue for great Xmas music provided by local talents both new and legendary fronted by Maria Desantis. For something a little different check out the Solstice at the Cathedral Celebration on December 8th, 9th and twice on the 10th. This series of concerts features other local powerhouse performers like Joe Whiting, Donna Coulton, Loren Barringer, Matt Vacanti to name just a few. There is something for everyone at both of these events. There are memories to be made. Isn’t that the best gift of all?

Until next month … get well and stay well.pv-6

Dr. Barry