December 15, 2011


As the December holidays are upon us, there are lots of ways to get into the spirit. One could read “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens, or “Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry or even the chapter, “Angel McBride and the Christmas Doll,” from my novel, “Heart Land.” But another way to get into the spirit is to browse through the plethora of the women’s magazines, their covers resplendent with pictures of holly and snow and pumpkin pies. These publications offer more than a pretty face, however. They often contain a wealth of information you won’t find in the “Lancet,” that prestigious journal of medicine. Here are a few tidbits to make you smile, improve your waistline and help you enjoy guilt free holidays. The information can be found on various pages of the December issue of “More.”


GO SHOPPING“The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health” reports that researches have found a person can cut the risk of an early death 23% just by shopping daily. The theory is shopping not only provides physical activity but socialization, too. (pg. 134)

FORGET THE DIET SODA — A link between diet sodas has long been a suspect in weight gain.  Now we know the reason thanks to a study of 474 adults in the “San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging.” Apparently, artificial sweeteners raise insulin levels which increase hunger and store those extra calories we eat as fat. (pg.136)

EAT CHOCOLATE BUT THINK ABOUT IT FIRST — Research at Carnegie Mellon University shows that thinking about a sweet before you eat it will reduce the amount you eat. The mind tires of repetition so thinking about a morsel before putting it into your mouth decreases the desire for more. (pg. 138)

EXERCISE 12 MINUTES A DAY FOR A LONGER LIFE – Carol Ewing Garber, associate professor of movement sciences at Columbia University says we can do less and still benefit, at least during the busy holidays. With 12 minutes a day of moderate to intensive exercise five times a week a person can lower the risks of stroke and heart attack by 27%. (pg. 146)

What a great recipe for the season.  You can go shopping, have and eat your chocolate, too, and all for no more than 12 minutes of exercise a day.  Now that’s what I call a holiday bargain.