Holiday Nutrition and Fitness Tips

Improving one's health is a great gift.
Shanna Blocher from the Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC)-based Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) team instructs Cmdr. Michael Beaty, assigned to Commander, Naval Forces Korea, during a NOFFS command PT session. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Chen/Released/U.S. Navy photo)

My husband is in Iraq (as a journalist), and although it is nothing compared to being on the front lines, it made me think about the spouses who also are spending the holidays alone and what they might need.

Suppose your spouse will be gone for the next six months, and you've decided to create a new "you" while they’re gone, or you just want to find a way to fight the loneliness and stress of handling the household on your own. Working out will help you stay happy while they are away, fight off stress and illness so you can get everything done, and look even better when they return.

The key is to set goals that are realistic and specific, and having a set time period as your goal will help you stick to a new fitness regime. Write down your plan of action for every day, week, etc. Make sure it is something you can measure and not just the end goal, but the milestones along the way. Start with a plan that you think you can accomplish or exceed. (Walking for 30 minutes at a time. Then running for 20 minutes and see how many times you have to stop and walk each time. Eventually, work up to running for 30 minutes and so on.)

Figure out what your barriers to exercise and eating well are and make a plan to conquer and avoid those specific barriers. Take each barrier or excuse and write down ways you can solve the problem.

Time is a barrier for everyone. If you make time for you first, then it won't hang over your head all day as something else on your to-do list. If you work out early in the day, you will start your day off with a natural high. You will be in a better mood, tackle difficult or mundane tasks with a happier outlook and more energy, fall asleep faster at night and set a good example for your kids or friends that working out should be part of everyone's day. A healthy parent is a better parent and a happier spouse is more fun to come home to.

Happy holidays and a safe return for your spouse.

Nikki Fitness is a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, writer and publicist living in New York City. She started as a cheerleader at Syracuse University but became certified in fitness before her beach wedding so that she could get back in shape.

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