BACKCoach Healthy Holidays Tip – Give yourself a foundation of balanced nutrition.

It is easy to let nutritional habits slip any time of the year, and each year we hear reports of pounds gained during the holiday season. But, it doesn’t have to be. This year, instead of passively letting nutritional habits slide, focus on providing yourself a solid foundation of balanced nutrition by following these three simple tips.

  • Think each meal as a protein, a complex carbohydrate and a fruit and/or a vegetable. If you stick with this basic formula, it won’t matter as much if you indulge in a cookie here or an eggnog there.
  • Eat three healthy meals or four-to-six smaller meals, whichever works best for you. Schedules and individual preferences can help determine which approach is best for you. Just be sure not to go with more than three full meals, or get into the habit of all-day grazing.
  • Save your splurges until after a meal. You will have less spiking – followed by a sudden drop – of blood sugar and brain chemicals such as seratonin and beta endorphin if you consume sweets or simple carbs after a balanced meal.

There’s nothing fancy here, but if you stick with a plan of providing yourself a solid nutritional base and be deliberate about what and when you splurge, you’re less likely to experience holiday weight gain and more likely to enjoy your holidays.

BACKCoach Healthy Holidays: Make a Plan

As with anything you’d like to accomplish, it helps to have a plan. What will your plans for staying healthy be for the rest of December? Some people like to use a “Plan A/Plan B” approach. Some weeks are Plan A weeks, in which there is time for everything and everything goes as planned. Other weeks are Plan B weeks, in which we just won’t be able to reach our optimum health goals.

Sometimes it helps to have a Plan B prepared in advance. So, when traveling, for example, you may not be able to exercise 5 times (Plan A), but may be able to fit in 3 (Plan B). You may not avoid sweets altogether (Plan A), but may elect to indulge in a treat or two per party (Plan B). The point is that what you do is completely in your control, and you are more likely to be successful if you have a plan.

What will your healthy holiday plan be this year?

What it’s like to live without back pain

Mountain biking

Without back pain, you can enjoy the activities you love

“I don’t even think about my back any more and am amazed by what I have learned. I used to say ‘I can’t do that’ and now I simply decide when I am going to fit things into my schedule. I can now go back to being me.”

– Cindi C, Minneapolis, MN

The above quote is from a former BACKCoach client. I share it with you to offer a different type of article this week. So much of what I write has to do with either the causes of back pain or what to do about it. But today I’d like to share with you what it is like to no longer have back pain.

  • It’s doing what you want to do, without questioning whether you can or not, without making deals (“I’ll pay for this later”, etc.).
  • It’s being an active participant in your life, deliberately planning what you will do with your life, without restriction.
  • It’s caring for your health, at first to make the pain go away, then because you’ve learned that this is a great way to live.
  • It’s having a positive outlook on life, both because of the lack of limits and improved physical health, and because you’ve been through something that was difficult and you conquered it.
  • And it’s wobbling from time to time, but having the information and tools to know that you will recover quickly, that it’s just temporary.

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Why movement is more important than exercise for back pain

By Mary A. Williams, MSEd, CPE

November 9, 2012

BACKCoach clients often share with me their anguish over the loss of activities that they enjoy to back pain. They say things like, “I can’t do that any more – I have a bad back,” or “If I do that, I’m going to pay for it later.”

The good news is that their assertions are rarely accurate. Further, for most people with back pain, movement is the very thing that will help them find relief. The only caveat is that movement should be done with proper, balanced mechanics.

I’ve had several BACKCoach clients recently that love to garden, and they report that they have an increase in pain after they spend time in their yards. I can hear the sadness in their voices as they share with me the loss they feel when they think about losing their beloved activity.

And the relief they feel when I share with them that not only CAN they move and enjoy their everyday activities, but that it is beneficial for them to do so and a key component of recovery. (more…)