St. Vincent’s One Nineteen offers Healthy Holiday Challenge

NORTH SHELBY – Turkey, dressing, pecan pie and all those chocolate treats—food is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the holidays for many people.

Unfortunately, we often enjoy the food too much.

Jessica Cox, dietitian with St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, said the average American gains 5-7 pounds during the holidays but only loses 3-5 pounds of the extra weight afterward.

“Most people are packing on an extra 2 pounds of weight gain from the holiday season they don’t lose,” Cox said.

Cox said she wanted a way to help St. Vincent’s One Nineteen members during the holiday season, so last year she started a Healthy Holiday Challenge.

“The goal is just to maintain your weight,” she said. “The idea was to have a challenge that is easy and not a huge commitment.”

Members could weigh in at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen through Nov. 23, and can weigh out Jan. 2-4, 2017.

All who do not gain weight will be entered into a drawing for gift cards from St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, Trak Shak, Seasons 52 and Zoe’s Kitchen.

Additional motivation was added to the challenge this year. Participants who check into the fitness center three times a week during the challenge will receive an extra chance in the drawing.

All who signed up will receive emailed nutrition and fitness tips, and recipes.

For example, a pre-Thanksgiving message included advice for a Thanksgiving meal: “Fill half your plate with vegetables—fresh vegetables instead of casseroles—a quarter of your plate with lean protein from turkey and limit your dressing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes,” Cox said. “The key to keeping those starches to a quarter is to pick the things you really love.”

The email also included an in-home workout from a St. Vincent’s One Nineteen trainer: a warm-up with 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks and skater jumps, repeated three times; then a workout including push-ups, lunges, abdominal leg lifts, mountain climbers, sit-ups or crunches and squat jumps, starting with 10 reps of each, then nine, then eight and so forth.

“You don’t need any special equipment or weights,” Cox said. “You can do all of that right in your living room.”

Cox reminded residents that St. Vincent’s One Nineteen offers events year-round including healthy cooking classes and group fitness.

Also, there is no enrollment and no contract to join the fitness center at the beginning of the year.