•Avoid bending directly over the oven door to lift out the turkey. Crouch down, pull out the oven shelf, and use your legs for better balance. Avoid putting all the weight-bearing stress on the lower spine. This helps reduce the sharp leverage on the lower spine.
•If you have to drive more than two hours to visit friends and relatives, take a break; get out of your vehicle and stretch. This temporarily restores normal posture, which will help prevent a recurrence of neck or low back conditions.
•When loading your vehicle for the trip, organize your luggage and packages into smaller loads, as opposed to one large suitcase, cardboard box or carrying case.
•Wear your seatbelt. Adjust vehicle headrests so that the top is no more than two inches below the top of the back of the head. Many of the estimated 20 million car accident victims suffering whiplash injuries in North America could have prevented much of the injury had their vehicle seat headrests been adjusted properly.
•Make sure your children have support. Use the proper car seat/booster seat with a head rest or a child-sized neck pillow so that they do not flop over if they fall asleep in the car. Flopping forward can impact your child’s ability to breathe and flopping over sideways can cause misalignments in your child’s neck vertebrae.
•It’s OK to be a couch potato this weekend, but don’t slouch on the sofa and don’t fall asleep on the recliner, as two or three vertebrae in the spine can assume a sharp angle. When you sit up, the normal movement isn’t restored. We often see people walking into our office with their heads sideways, because by slouching, the position of the joints irritates the nerves and blood vessels, causing muscle spasm.
1. Exercise Before You Eat. Maintaining a healthy weight is about one thing and one thing only: consuming less than you burn. So make up for the extra calories by exercising while the turkey’s in the oven! Some families even create fun traditions around exercising, such as an informal 5K race or a group aerobics class or dance contest in the living room. Be creative and work up an appetite together!
2. Eat Breakfast. Some people try to “save” calories by refusing food until the big meal, but the fact is, this strategy usually backfires. Not only do you stress yourself out with hunger pangs, but you make yourself so ravenous that you wind up eating more, faster, than you would if you’d had a sensible breakfast! Stick with something simple, such as an egg and slice of toast or bowl of oatmeal.
3. Portion Control. Instead of telling yourself there’s food you “can’t” eat, give yourself permission to have a little bit of all of it! But resist the temptation to go back for more. Instead, save room for dessert and enjoy the leftovers over the next few days.
4. Eat Slower. This is a once-a-year feast! Take the time to savor each bite. Not only will you enjoy your meal more, but you’ll end up eating less…WITHOUT feeling the least bit deprived.
5. Be Realistic. For most people, the holidays aren’t ideal for weight loss, so think more along the lines of maintenance. Most importantly, enjoy and have fun!
And have a happy and safe Thanksgiving…from all of us here at Hales Chiropractic!