Healthy Living



 Question of the Month

Q. Can you suggest some healthy holiday-gift ideas?
A. First, it's important to choose a gift that the recipient would enjoy and not what you would enjoy (they're not always the same!).

For those who prefer food gifts, think about fresh- or dried-fruit baskets, an indoor potted herb garden, a bottle of first-press olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar or specialty mustards. Consider baking (or buying) some whole-grain bread, and combine it with fruit and a chunk of low-fat cheese. These are available in most supermarkets as well as in local specialty stores.

For the activity-minded, think about such presents as introductory classes for yoga, tai chi or salsa dancing. What about a gym membership? These are available in all price ranges, and facilities are located in many neighborhoods. Also check out your local YMCA or community center for more ideas.

Managing Holiday Stress

At this time of year, it seems there's not enough time in the day. Adding holiday preparations to our already-busy lives can be a major stress on both the mind and body. Therefore, it's important to manage this stress and allow yourself to enjoy the season.

For starters: Don't sweat the small stuff. Purchase baked goods or offer to provide napkins and plates for an event instead of food. Enlist family members to help with decorating, shopping or cooking, and accept that others can do a good, if not perfect, job. Recognize that friends and family remember the time spent together, and if you're frazzled from being the "perfect hostess," no one benefits.

Skimping on sleep will only add to poor stress management. When traveling, allow extra time to reach your destination. Small changes to your schedule can mean a big pay-off in your holiday stress.

My favorite idea? Take a break and go for a walk - it's great for stress relief and for burning off those extra holiday cookies!

Holiday Cocktails: Watch Out for Liquid Calories

From eggnog to rum punch, and everything in-between, alcoholic beverages are a part of many holiday parties. Be a smart indulger, since alcohol is a double-whammy when it comes to your waistline.

The calories from alcohol and mixers add up quickly, and the relaxation effect of alcohol often weakens our ability to resist eating too much (after all, fried zucchini IS a vegetable!).

Stick with a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail made with seltzer, diet soda or water. You'll double or triple the calories using regular soda or juices.

Be mindful of your total consumption. A serving is not what the glass will hold. Serving guidelines are: 5 ounces of wine, a 12-ounce beer and 1.5 ounces of spirits. With super-sized glasses, a "serving" is often two or three times more than the standard.

Coming next month: New Year, New You

A top New Year's resolution is to lose weight. If it were so easy, everyone would be thin. But when it comes to diet and weight loss, no two people are alike.

In the clinic, I often hear, "Don't tell me what to do; tell me how to do it." In my new book, The Real You Diet, I tackle the major tools needed for lasting weight loss: Behavioral, Eating/food, Activity and Medical/biological. It's what I call building a BEAM box, and it all starts with some self-assessment quizzes of what you're willing and able to do.

Look for excerpts from this book in next month's magazine. It'll be in bookstores and online at the end of December. Or check it out at therealyoudiet.com.

If you have a health question for Dr. Fernstrom, e-mail her at fernstrom@wqed.org.

Dr. Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S., is the founder and director of UPMC's Weight Management Center. She is the diet and nutrition editor for NBC's "Today Show" and is the author of The Runner's Diet. Also visit "Health Journal with Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom," a health and wellness blog at iVillage.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


2024 Eclipse Will Be Even More Impressive in Pittsburgh

2024 Eclipse Will Be Even More Impressive in Pittsburgh

Don’t toss out those eclipse glasses, you will need them again.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Watch: Pittsburgh's Italian Chefs Cook Up an Amazing BBQ

Watch: Pittsburgh's Italian Chefs Cook Up an Amazing BBQ

The fire-cooked meal organized by Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino, included dishes prepared by chefs from Pittsburgh’s Italian restaurant community.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Time-Travel Drinking: Why We Need an '80s Bar

Time-Travel Drinking: Why We Need an '80s Bar

The case for an establishment where one can dine and drink while truly believing it's 1987.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Are a ‘Close Group’ Still Seeking an Identity

Steelers Are a ‘Close Group’ Still Seeking an Identity

The team looks good on paper, good in practice and even, uncharacteristically, good so far in the preseason. But very soon now, none of that will matter.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

Reviews of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and "Wind River," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Popping the Question Far Away from Home

Popping the Question Far Away from Home

Three grooms share how they carried their rings long distances to keep their brides-to-be in the dark until the moment they got on one knee.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Bombs Away: Arsenal 201 Apartments Open After Cannonball Removal

Bombs Away: Arsenal 201 Apartments Open After Cannonball Removal

Months after the Civil War-era cannonballs were discovered at the former arsenal and munitions factory in Lawrenceville, residents are given the green light to move into the 243-unit apartment complex.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module