An ounce of prevention

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer

About a month ago, I walked into a local drugstore and filled out the paperwork necessary to receive a seasonal flu shot. Fully covered by our insurance plan, the only cost on my part was the bit of fortitude required to deal with the momentary needle stick. 

As I exited the store, complete with a colorful Band-Aid courtesy of the cheerful pharmacist, I must admit to having felt just a little more empowered than I had when I entered the store. Knowing that I was now armed with a hefty dose of protection against the germ-addled season ahead, I felt good about having chosen to be proactive this winter.  

As the holidays approach, there is still time to take a similarly proactive approach to your nutrition and fitness plans. Right about this time of year, and for the next five to six weeks, I will most certainly hear individuals talk about waiting until the treats-laden, family-oriented season has passed before they plan to embark in earnest on their wellness goals.  My response, every year, is always the same: why wait?  By taking a few easy steps now, any current level of fitness and nutritional well-being that has been hard-earned over the past several months does not have to be sabotaged.

An investment in health is not entirely unlike a monetary savings plan.  If you are fairly certain your favorite “guilty pleasure” foods will be in abundance at every party to which you will be invited over the next month, plan for this with some extra effort now. If you knew that you’d be facing a large financial expenditure in the near future — college tuition, needing a new vehicle, or even taking a family vacation — you would not hesitate to set up a prudent easy-to-manage savings structure, correct? 

By regarding fitness, nutrition and wellness with that same keen eye and attention to detail, you will be able to sample many of the festive treats that will be popping up in the next several weeks without feeling like you are undoing a month of hard work and dedication.  Arm yourself with a program that might include extra cardio sessions, or ramp up your current weight training schedule.  A brief consultation with a dietitian might put you on a healthy and safe path toward shedding a few pounds now, so that there is ‘wiggle room’ for enjoying the holiday meals.

An ounce of prevention will always work in your favor, whether it is in the form of a flu shot or pre-planning for the holidays in terms of diet and exercise.  You will feel better inside and out, and that is something for which we all can definitely give thanks.