LARRY NORTH/ TIPS FOR COPING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS
- EAT!!! Don’t skip meals during the holidays. This is the biggest mistake people make. I am not going to eat all day because we are going to a holiday dinner or party. Do the opposite. Eat low fat and healthy as often as you can even leading up to the special occasion or event.
- Exercise!!! Typical holiday mentality is to say it’s the holidays I will just start working out the 1st of the year. How has that strategy worked for you lately? You may not lose weight during the holidays but wouldn’t it be GREAT to not gain a single pound while enjoying the holidays? A short walk, a muscle building exercise. FYI the best deals on gym memberships are the last quarter of the year not the first.
- Beware of free food during the holidays. In all likelihood if it is there for the taking it is probably going to help you gain weight easily. This holds true from the candy at the reception desk to the buffet at the holiday party.
- Modify holiday favorites and or offer up several healthier versions of the food everyone loves. For example you can substitute molly mc butter instead of real butter or use less sugar than the recipe calls for.
- Food is less the problem than the stress that causes us to eat more than we should even when we are not hungry. Keep your emotions in check by not repeating the same mistakes of Holidays past. Do this by staying organized, managing your time and becoming slightly more disciplined.
- Have 90% of the pleasure with only 10% of the calories by allowing yourself to eat whatever you choose by having it in smaller portion sizes and above all make the calories WORTH IT!!! Fried beer for example is hardly worth it…
A letter from Larry:
The winter holiday season is a wonderful time of year. But I know that this can be a very stressful time of year for many people. There is a monumental amount of stress that many people and families go through this time of year. The stress develops due to lack of funds, old feelings resurfacing, property taxes due, relatives, and apparently much more. I know that soup lines will be full in December, so I have to prepare for a different kind of soup line. I call it emotional soup.
The winter holiday season is a wonderful time of year. Just not for everyone. I tend to go through a spiral of emotions during this time of year. I volunteer at a toy drive in an urban area of Dallas, and I help hand out toys to over ten thousand kids who would otherwise not receive a toy this year. Needless to say, it is a humbling experience for people on both sides of the line.
To many people’s surprise, I was often on the other side of the line growing up, so I know all too well the feelings of emptiness during the holidays. I guess when I get right down to it. I’m not all that crazy about the holidays.
I’m not a scrooge. I’m far from it! This is a great time of year! However, I know that this can be a very stressful time of year for many people. I believe my feelings stem from my childhood, and I know that I am not alone in those stressful feelings during the holidays. There is a monumental amount of stress that many people and families go through this time of year. The stress develops due to lack of funds, old feelings resurfacing, property taxes due, relatives, and apparently much more.
Did I forget the unwanted weight gain? Oh! Many people attribute it to the overeating when I know it has more to do with dealing with real life than the food itself.
I was an only child up until age 10. I grew up in a household with a father that never worked a legitimate job until he drove a cab in Las Vegas at age 60 for the last 3 years of his life. My Dad was a degenerate compulsive gambler from Brooklyn, New York. My Mom, who has a heart as big as Texas, was an overeater who suffered from low self-esteem due to her negative self-image, which was exasperated by an abusive husband.
I was very much loved by both parents. I wasn’t physically abused, but the environment I was forced to live in was abusive itself. We were forced to move repeatedly because my Dad was always avoiding bookies, loan sharks, or local and federal authorities, and often it was in the middle of the night with just the clothes on our backs.
With bowl games, playoffs and basketball, the holiday season for a compulsive gambler is comparable to toys under the tree to an 8 year old. The outcome was always the same, and as hard as I try, I cannot recall one single holiday during that period of my life that did not end in mayhem. The fondest memory I have is when I was about 6 or 7 and my Dad had about six bucks and some change. They were raffling off free turkeys. Our family won the turkey, and then my father let me buy as much candy as his money would allow. I was happy for as long as there was no fighting in the house, as short lived as that was.
Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE spending time with loved ones and close friends, and I am blessed to have many in my life. But my background reminds me that the holidays can be as stressful as they are wonderful.
I know that the soup lines will be full in December, so I have to prepare my organization for a different kind of soup line. I call it emotional soup. Having been in the fitness business for almost 30 years, I am well versed at helping distribute the single best stress buster on this planet. It is exercise, healthy food and a mountain of positive energy.
In the past, I just survived the holidays and held on for dear life, hoping to get through it. I’m now a 10th degree black belt in thriving during the holidays. I have mastered getting leaner, or should I say my leanest, in the month of December. I practically am standing outside of Wal-Mart like the Salvation Army jingling my bell. Instead of looking for a donation, I’m handing out buckets of healthy information.
What I Have Learned
Looking back, it was what it was and I’m somewhat glad I came from humble beginnings. I realize that, as bad as it might have been, there are many people who have it much worse.
I am now approaching age 50, and I realize that regardless of their upbringing, many people have skeletons that tend to resurface this time of year. I know some people that get completely knotted up at the thought of having to visit certain relatives over the next few weeks. I also know people that refuse to visit their relatives.
So just how do I always find a way to thrive during the holiday season?
I start with a goal, and that leads into a mindset that says I can and will get leaner in the next 30 days while also enjoying all the food I want. I know that I can be successful in this because I know just how much to eat and when to stop. I know that if I eat 5 times a day, which is 35 times per week, that it is not only OK to have a bad food choice. It is actually preferred. I slowly ramp up my cardio to a full hour and never miss a workout. I lift weights with an idea of how I am going to look headed into the New Year. I stock my refrigerator with plenty of healthy food. I even get a manicure, pedicure, massage and start taking better care of my skin. I give myself permission to eat whatever I want, and the good news for me is I usually want the better choice foods. I catch up on my reading and the first person I buy a gift for is me. That’s right me.
I have learned the most valuable secret in the world and that is if I am going to be able to love and take care of all the people that are important in my life, I must also learn to be selfish to the point of taking care of myself to the highest level. If I don’t love me, I certainly can’t love you! If I don’t take care of me, I certainly can’t take care of you.
Therefore, my gift to you this holiday season is the gift of understanding that YOU and YOU alone are the most important person in your life! To neglect yourself for the sake of others may appear noble. However, if you really love the ones you love, you will know that they want you to be healthy, positive and most of all happy. If you take this approach and revitalize your efforts, you will start to feel the stress you normally feel this time of year slowly evaporating.
Here is a list of specific dishes you can look for, regardless which restaurant you visit.
Italian: look for vegetable plates with no sauce, meatless pastas with oil free marinara or wine sauce, or a vegetable pizza with no cheese and a oil free crust. Avoid any cream sauces and fatty meats as prosciutto, parmesan cheese, breaded veal, breaded vegetables and white breads. Also, watch out for olive oil, which many restaurants tent to overuse. Plain pasta might seem like a good choice, but often contains oil from the boiling pot. One of my favorite Italian meals consist of grilled portabella mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, grilled chicken, Caesar salad with no croutons, dressing on the side, and a small bowl of plain pasta with marinara sauce on the side.
Mexican: look for fresh fish or chicken breast marinated in limejuice with beans and rice. You can also order corn tortillas (not fried), chicken enchiladas without the cheese or cream sauce, or chicken fajitas grilled in lime juice instead of oil. Avoid cheese, chips, sour cream, guacamole, and refried beans (ask for whole beans instead). Its easy to make a North Plate at a Mexican restaurant. To do this you would order grilled chicken fajitas with no oil, corn tortillas instead of higher fat flour tortillas, rice instead of refried beans, pico de gallo instead of guacamole, and no cheese. Have the lettuce, onions, and tomato served on the side. If spinach enchiladas are listed on the menu, you can ask for a side order of spinach as your fibrous vegetable.
Vietnamese, Thai or Japanese: these restaurants are great for the North program, because they use very little oil in their cooking to begin with. You can order any type of dish with no egg and no oil, and it’s likely to be low fat. You can also order a spring roll that’s like an egg roll; just make sure it’s not fried. Japanese restaurants also cook many items without oil or margarine. Sushi places can be ideal for your program, as long as you order less-fattening items on the menu. I recommend the California roll minus avocado or mayonnaise. However, be careful because some sushi can be extremely high in fat, such as eel and ahi tuna, and of course anything that is fried.
Steakhouse: at a steak restaurant, ask for a large dinner salad without cheese or croutons, and ask for a baked potato with yogurt or Dijon mustard. Most of these restaurants offer grilled chicken on the menu. When ordering chicken, ask that it be prepared using no oil with all the fat trimmed. Usually, shrimp or lobster is OK to order. If you want to eat steak, then order only one. My suggestion is to get a small cut of fillet (where it is cut down the middle) and this will help get rid of some of the fat while it is being grilled.
American chain restaurants: actually, these restaurants have become very accessible for North eaters. Most of them carry grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, brown rice, black beans, salads, fat-free dressing and steamed vegetables.
Fast Foods: there is very little nutritional value in fast food. It hits you with a horde of calories that are basically sugar and fat without any fiber or vitamins. Don’t be fooled into thinking that fast-food chicken is better than hamburgers. A single fried- chicken nugget contains an entire tablespoon of mostly saturated fat. Fast-food chicken sandwiches have as much fat as hamburgers. As for fried chicken, the original healthful piece is soaked in so much oil that the fat has seeped down to the bone. If you must eat at a fast-food restaurant, try to go vegetarian. Get the lettuce and tomato and look for baked potato.
HARPER'S BAZAAR FALL FASHION TRENDS
1. Knitwear Dressing
Cozy knitwear pieces, perfect as the temperature begins to drop...
Vendor: Adrienne Vittadini
Available at: www.neimanmarcus.com
2. Shades of Gray
Gray: the standout color of the season...
Vendor: White House Black Market
Available at: White House Black Market Boutique:
3. Cocktail Dress
Fitted cocktail dress for that special night on the town...
Available at: www.dvf.com
4. Military Chic
Camouflage and military looks are bigger than ever for Fall...
Vendor: Robin’s Jeans
Available at: Saks Fifth Avenue
Must-Have Accessories & Beauty Items
7 anti-aging benefits in one lightweight moisturizer
Vendor: Olay Total Effects Moisturizer Plus Cooling Hydration
Available at: your local drug store and www.olay.com
Newest moisturizing haircare collection
Vendor: Paul Mitchell
Available at: Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom or
The classic riding boot; for a classic, yet cool vibe...
Vendor: Vince Camuto
Available at: www.vincecamuto.com
Fabulous jewelry adds sparkle and shine...
Vendor: Simon G.
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HOLLY CLEGG/ "TOO HOT IN THE KITCHEN: SECRETS TO SIZZLE AT ANY AGE"
The 14th book in Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC® cookbook series, Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age, features 200 easy and exciting recipes with 100 color photographs and illustrations, designed for today’s busy woman. Entertaining yet practical, Holly’s focus on healthy eating is from the perspective that these scrumptious recipes have been trimmed down while keeping them terrific and full of flavor. Get ready to learn the secrets to sizzle in your own kitchen! Price: $24.95. For more information www.hollyclegg.com.
LEMONS TO AID- KIDS JOINING TOGETHER
1) Meals on Wheels – Kids can make “Enjoy Your Meal” Positive Placemats for Meals on Wheels. The placemats will be delivered with the meals. We did this recently at a camp in Dallas and it was a huge success! It is simple to make the cards and we can show your viewers how to make them. This is a great activity for kids to do with their families over the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks. We will provide a teaching tip sheet so the parents can explain the “lesson” to the kids.
2) Cards for the Soldiers – Kids can make “Thank You for Your Service” cards for the troops. This was also done this summer at a camp and the cards are precious.
3) Decorate pumpkins/holidays items/cards for the children’s hospital – This is going to be a hit at Fall festivals this year. Kids can decorate mini pumpkins to be placed in the children’s rooms at a nearby hospital. This is great for Thanksgiving – another decorating idea for the holidays can be snowmen, snowflakes, santas, etc.
4) Hot Chocolate / Cookie Stand – Set up a stand and sell cookies and hot chocolate for a charity. Kids can decide what speaks to them and raise money.
5) Host a read-a-thon - Get your reading eyes ready! A read-a-thon is educational and enjoyable fundraiser. Kids will get pledges from friends and family. Example – If you read 10 books, you get a donation. Come up with your own level of giving. Your kids will have fun reading books and raising money for a cause that speaks to them.
CHILDREN'S AQUARIUM AT FAIR PARK
The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park is located at 1462 First Avenue in the shadow of the Texas Star Ferris wheel. It features an outdoor pavilion with a 50,000 gallon pool with eagle rays and southern stingrays as well as bonnethead sharks. Next to it is Stingray Bay, where guests can interact with cownose rays. Indoors, the kid-friendly design offers interactive exhibits for hands-on exploration, with touch pools, feeding demonstrations, child-high viewing windows, birthday party facilities, colorful graphics, tools for teachers, and more. Formerly known as The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park, the historic art-deco building closed in January 2009 for an $8.2 million renovation. For more information, please call (469) 554-7340 or visit www.DallasZoo.com
I-20 ANIMAL MEDICAL CENTER