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Healthy Holiday Habits

Wellness experts Basheerah Ahmad and Valerie McMurray tell us how to avoid holiday weight gain and stress.
Healthy Holiday Habits

Healthy Holiday Habits

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Basheerah Ahmad

Metro Technology Centers


Show Details

Show 1649: Healthy Holiday Habits
Air Date: December 4, 2016



Rob McClendon: Well, with all the holiday goodies that surround us this time of year, it’s easy to pack on a few pounds. But my next guests say you can avoid holiday weight gain and holiday stress. Basheerah Ahmad is a celebrity wellness expert while Valerie McMurray is the wellness coordinator at Metro Technology Center, and they both join me now in studio. Well, what’s the problem, Basheerah, that we eat on Thanksgiving, we eat on Christmas, how can you pack on that many pounds?

Basheerah Ahmad: Well, you know, Rob, it would be a great thing if we just ate on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But what we do is we eat for the entire six weeks. As someone said earlier in a presentation, you eat Christmas Eve, you eat Thanksgiving eve. You’re lucky if you only do that. Most of us have leftovers, and we forget it’s just about celebrating on the two holidays. But go back to your normal healthy way of eating. If you only binge on two days out of the year, you’re not going to pack on pounds. The body can absorb that, metabolize it, and you’re good. So it’s about moderation as with anything in life, moderation during the holidays will keep that weight off.

Rob: I know for those of here that work in an office setting and that don’t really have particularly good impulse controls, there’s a lot of food around. How do you avoid it?

Basheerah: You know, it’s near impossible to be perfect in those types of settings, and I tell people, don’t try. When you shoot for perfection, you’re always going to fall short, and you’ll end up probably doing the opposite, which is binging. So set little goals for yourself. Say OK, if we know they do a lot of chocolate, I’m only going to have one piece of something, not I’m gonna go back every little break and pick from the table again. And when you self-impose goals on yourself, our mind is set up to meet those goals. But if you just go in with a blank sheet, you’re going to eat until your little heart is content, and a lot of times it doesn’t get content.

Rob: Uh huh, and it is a very busy season. How do you work and exercise?

Basheerah: Well, I tell people, you have to schedule it the same way with most things during the holiday. For example, you have family coming in, you have all these parties and different things that you have to do. Schedule your workouts in a time frame that’s actually doable. Stop reaching for unrealistic goals that you know you’re not going to achieve and then you beat yourself up for it afterwards. Be nice to you by setting things that you can achieve. It’s good for your mind as well as good for your body.

Rob: Yeah, which really brings me to you, Valerie, and that’s holiday stress, the holiday blues, all those things that we associate with the holidays that are somehow negative.

Valerie McMurray: It is, and a lot of times that we’ve lost loved ones, and we think about the money we, maybe we don’t have. And should I buy a gift, should I not buy a gift. We just put all that stress on ourselves, and as we know, stress is not good for our bodies. The hypertension, the diabetes, it really tears down our bodies. So we suggest to try to get ahead of these holidays by setting goals as Basheerah already said. Set some goals and decide that, you know, I’m only going to spend a certain amount of money on gifts. Or I’m gonna plan ahead and before I go in that grocery store, I’m gonna make a list and decide that I’m going to purchase exactly what I want to purchase, rather than just going in the store and just buying everything that you see. And learning to say no. Because I know so many times during the holidays, we get invited to a lot of parties. We get invited to a lot of activities. And we get really stressed out, and stress is horrible for the bodies. So we really need to make sure that we just kind of stay focused and not let the holidays get us off of our game. And just plan, like Basheerah said, even for the exercise we have to plan mentally as well what it is that we want to do and how we want to handle the holidays, so.

Basheerah: And another thing, Robert, is I, well, Rob, I always tell people, be nice to yourself. If you, at the end of the day, beginning of the day, it’s you with you. Be kind to yourself. If you’re not up to doing something, honor yourself and say no. You have that right, and I don’t feel like we feel we can honor ourselves as human beings. Honor yourself by living a healthy life, but also honor yourself by keeping yourself away from negative influences that you know tear you down through stress and then other triggers.

Rob: Uh huh, and I know I also want you to take me through an in-office workout. And we will have that on our website at We’ll see Basheerah make me sweat a bit. Ladies thank you so much.

Ladies: Thank you, thank you for having us.