Wellness Jackie’s Way: 12 days of wellness

Recently, upon entering Whole Foods I saw a flier advertising “12 Days of Cheese/” Yikes/ Instantly, it felt like my blood began to stick to my arteries. Twelve days of cheese? Is that in a row?

Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese and 12 days of it would rate almost sinful and definitely delicious. However, as a nutritionist, I would have to force feed myself in order to get past the negative side effects of consuming cheese in excess which 12 days in a row would most certainly be. Cheese is a high fat, mostly saturated fat, the bad kind of fat, and a high-calorie food so the recommendation is to consume in limited moderation.

The good news is that there are benefits to eating cheese. First and foremost is calcium and protein. Cheese is among the richest dietary sources of calcium, which plays an essential role in bone health and cheese contains protein. So relax and enjoy a slice of cheese now and again but let’s avoid 12 days in a row.

But then I got to thinking, what will prevail as we go over the river and through the woods, to help ourselves stay on top of our healthy living goals? Let’s try 12 Days of Wellness.

Day One: Drink more water. Guidelines tell us to drink eight glasses of water daily, eight ounces each. Or drink at least half your body weight in water. For example, if you weighed 100 pounds, you would need to drink 50 ounces of water.

Day Two: Walk and walk often. Do you track your steps? Why not use this month to launch a new habit of wearing a pedometer? Your goal is at least 10,000 steps per day. I use a $10 pedometer – nothing fancy required. And if it’s after 2 p.m. and I’m only 5,000 into my 10,000-step goal, then I know I have to pick up the pace and go for at least a one- or two-mile walk in the afternoon in order to reach my goal.

Day Three: Get eight hours of sleep. Pick a day and make it your “extra sleep day” if you don’t normally get eight hours of quality sleep. There are always interruptions but if you specifically appoint a day, such as Wednesday, as the day for eight hours of sleep, you are more likely to accomplish this feat. Sleep is so important for restoring the body and brain from stress.

Day Four:  Find foods containing antioxidants, substances that inhibit damaging oxidation within our bodies, and consume as many as possible. We know how good they are for us, so seek them out among the holiday delicacies. Examples are pomegranates, dark chocolate, pecans, artichokes, cranberries and blueberries to name several top choices. Surprisingly enough, red wine contains antioxidants if you care to indulge.

Day Five: Make green a daily habit. Make a point to eat something, preferably a vegetable, that’s green every day. In fact, if you make it a dark green leafy vegetable you will be getting vitamins such as A, C, K and folate and minerals such as iron and calcium. About one cup is a good start for this daily habit.

Day Six: Consume Omega 3s. Be Kind to your brain and toss a handful of walnuts on your morning oatmeal. This polyunsaturated fat offers a wealth of health benefits for preventing heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

Day Seven: Probiotics are a must when it comes to cold & flu season. Pick up keifer, yogurt and fermented foods which are readily available in the supermarket. This will help to fortify your immune system as we meet and greet relatives and friends over the holidays and share germs with every hand shake and hug.

Day Eight: Always a good practice to put in place as the year comes to a close. Schedule those annual checkups early in January so you can relax for 2018 knowing that all screenings have been completed and appropriate follow up is on the schedule.

Day Nine: Weigh yourself daily. Let’s face it. The only way to stay on top of yourself before and after all the parties is to weigh in. I like to do this in the morning. Keep tabs on your weight and it will make your New Year’s resolutions that much easier.

Day Ten: Go vegetarian for one full day. We tend to overeat during the holidays so we have plenty of room to eat less meat at least for a day.

Day Eleven: Meditate for 10 minutes. The point here is to take the time out of your busy day to clear the mind, reduce stress and promote relaxation Try it, you may like it.

Day Twelve: Here’s the rub: Realize that each one of these wellness habits is designed to be cumulative and part of your every day healthy living lifestyle. So, it might just take you a day to recognize what parts you are missing and what practices you need to incorporate for the New Year. After twelve days of Wellness, you are in a position to launch a very healthy you for 2018.

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About Jackie Tate

Jackie Tate has been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. She has a master’s of science degree in health education and a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition, both from Penn State. Early in her career she was recruited by Johnson & Johnson to work in their diabetes division during which time she earned her diabetes educator certification. In 2009, she developed a health and wellness consulting business. Tate’s Wellness Company enables her to work with individuals to create personalized dietary plans using a one-on-one consultation approach. She conducts personal training sessions and leads fitness classes at Way Martial Arts in West Chester, Darlington Arts in Garnet Valley, and the Concord Country Club in Concord Township. Jackie is a certified fitness trainer, Silver Sneakers and zumba Instructor. Additionally, she teaches nutrition to students attending the Academy of International Ballet in Glen Mills. Lamb McErlane, PC is one of Jackie’s corporate clients where she delivers nutritious Lunch N Learn sessions for employees as part of their on-going commitment to wellness. Jackie has a passion for inspiring people to lead healthier lifestyles through optimal nutrition and fitness. Tate4foodandfitness.com Tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net

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