By: Bridget M. Chufo, Ph.D., R.N.

Well, here we are–in the midst of the most frantic, hectic, overwhelming days of the entire year for most of us.  It is also the time of year that we put on eight to fifteen pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in general, and we have no idea how it happened most of the time.  What I hope to do in this article is to make a few suggestions and offer some advice so that those pounds will be eliminated before they even get put on. 

 Let’s start with planning which is key to almost everything in life.  Planning makes our lives so much easier, is time and cost efficient, and doesn’t take all that much time out of our days.  In fact, in the long run, it will make amazing time reductions in our lives.  So, let’s begin OUR plan for the next few weeks and when we see it working, it will help us plan to use our plan for a long while after that because we like how we feel and like what we see when we look in a mirror.  Let’s call this the twelve days of planning for a great, healthy holiday season.

 1.)    Make lists.  These lists should include what foods and drinks you plan on buying at the stores.  Consumption of a higher protein eating plan results in a better weight controlled metabolism.  When eating, always start with the protein. Protein makes us feel full longer because it takes longer to digest.  You are less likely to slip and eat too much or eat the wrong things because of this.

 2.)  The next thing to eat on the plate, on the run or before the main course after protein are non-starchy vegetables.  Starchy vegetables are potatoes, peas, corn, and beets.  If you eliminate them, there are plenty of others to add to your dishes.  Keep remembering, you want color on your plate.  Orange, red, yellow, white, purple and green are the colors that you want on your plate. Crudités and roasted vegetables are great hors d’oeurves.   Vegetables are also a great sources of fiber.

 3.)    Fruits are high in fiber and high in natural sugar.  Go ahead and eat them, but stay away from fruit juices. 

 4.)    Use extreme caution with the “big five.”  They are dairy, fat, and the big 3–salt, sugar and starches.  These “big five” are the foods that have always gotten us into trouble. 

 5.)    Drinking calories is not a good thing.  Water is your friend.  Drink all of your body weight in ounces of water or more a day. 

 6.)    Move more, move differently, move harder. 

 7.)    BLUE!!!!  No, do not get the blues for the holidays, but know that blue plates are actually a color which suppresses the appetite. 

 8.)    Movement gets the serotonin working in our bodies and that is referred to as “the happy hormone.”  So, move, make a conscious plan to visit others, invite others to your home.

 9.)  Sleep is key especially this time of year.  You DO need eight hours of sleep.  As research progresses, we are finding that sleep is more important than we ever thought.  Five hours of sleep will zoom our weight gain up to 70+% a day. 

 10.) Eat Breakfast.  Starting the metabolism within 30 minutes of waking. Eat a protein-laden breakfast WITHIN 30 MINUTES.

 11.) Children.  Be around young children and see the world through their eyes. 

 12.) Health is the combination of great spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and financial security.  These must all be worked on daily to have the best health possible. 

 By following these simple suggestions, you can live life to its fullest.

 Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Holidays and may miracles big and small happen to you in 2013.


Bridget M. Chufo, Ph.D., R.N.


Healthy Performance

8500 Perry Highway

Pittsburgh, PA  15237