Friday, December 30, 2022

Preventing Frostbite


Last time, I explored what frostbite is and how you get it but today we are looking at preventing it. As stated last time, it is possible to get frostbite without the temperatures being super cold.  All you need is enough wind chill to take the temperature down to 25 below zero or being on a snow machine, ATV, or motorcycle and going fast enough to experience wind chill that low. 

Fortunately there are ways to help decrease your chances of experiencing frostbite.  First of all, you should dress in multiple layers of loose warm clothing because the air captured between the layers of clothing helps provide insulation.  Make sure to wear windproof or waterproof garments on top of everything to protect against rain, snow, or wind.  In addition, choose undergarments that help wick moisture away from your body.  Furthermore, change out wet clothing, especially hats, gloves, and socks as soon as possible.  

Make sure you wear a hat or headband that fully covers your head and ears.  Choose something made of wool or windproof materials for the most protection.  In addition, wear mittens rather than gloves because the mittens provide better protection.  If you want to, you can wear a pair of gloves made out of a material that wicks moisture away from the body underneath the mittens.  As far as socks or sock liners go, choose ones that fit well, wick moisture away from the skin, and provide insulation.  Think about using hand and or foot warmers but make sure the foot warmers do not make the boots too tight. 

When you go out, limit your time outside in the wind, cold, or wet weather.  If you are planning to go outside, check the weather report to see how chilly it will get and don't forget about the wind chill factor.  If you aren't careful, you can get frostbite in a matter of minutes.  When you go outside, monitor yourself for signs of frostbite.  Look for changes in skin color, prickling, or numbness and if you observe any of these symptoms, immediately head inside to a warmer place.  

Furthermore, do not drink alcohol because it makes you lose your body heat.  Eat well and stay hydrated.  Finally, make sure you move around when you are outside because movement helps you stay warm but don't overdue it.  The best way to avoid frostbite is to follow these suggestions.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Avoiding Frostbite


This is a topic, I should have written about earlier but I'm doing it today because with weather being nasty and a possibility of more nasty weather later in the winter, it is an important topic.  Frostbite occurs when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. In the early stages when your skin gets cold and you have a prickly feel, there is going to be no permanent damage.  It is referred to as frost nip and one's hands can easily be warmed. As the process increases, the fingers become numb and the skin is hard and waxy.  It happens most often in cold windy weather and it can effect the skin even when covered by gloves or clothing.  

The chin, cheeks, fingers, toes, nose, and ears are the areas most likely to suffer frostbite. It is possible to have frostbite without realizing it until someone points it out.  

In general, symptoms associated with frostbite include cold skin, a prickly feeling and numbness, skin that ranges from red, to whitish, to blueish-white, grayish-yellow, purple, or brown depending on the skin. The skin becomes hard and waxy, a person becomes clumsy when joints and muscles become stiff, and blisters appear after rewarming.

These symptoms appear during one of the three stages of frostbite.  The first stage as mentioned before is frostnip. It is the mildest form of frost bite. Your fingers might become numb but as they warm, you'll feel a bit of tingling. The second stage is superficial frostbite, where the skin color undergoes slight changes, and the skin begins to feel warm.  If you rewarm the skin, you might notice the skin becomes mottled and you'll experience stinging, burning, and swelling.  Within 12 to 36 hours a fluid filled blister may appear.  

In the third stage, deep or severe frostbite, all layers of the skin and the tissues underneath are effected. The skin changes from pink to white or blue-grey and you no longer feel any cold, pain, or discomfort in the effected area.  In addition, a person's joints and or muscles may stop working.  Then within 12 to 24 hours, large fluid filled blisters form, the skin turns black, and hard due because it has died.  

It is best to see the doctor if you experience any symptoms associated with the second and third stages of frostbite, experience an increase of pain, swelling, inflammation, or weeping from frostbitten areas, you develop a fever, or you experience new and unexplained symptoms. 

If you think you can't get frostbite because the temperature is above zero, that isn't quite true.  It is possible to get frostbite if the temperature is below zero or if the wind chill drops to 25 degrees below zero.  So take care during this winter weather and be safe.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Body Weight Exercises


This topic is important to me because I've been traveling a lot and not all the places I stay at have a fitness center or access to a fitness center.  For instance, here in Iceland, I am at a guest house that is not near any type of fitness center so I need a way to get resistance integrated into my exercising.  The great thing about using the weight of your body is that it provides resistance for a nice overall workout. In addition, one does not need a gym, equipment, or anything else.  You just need yourself.

What is nice, is that body weight exercises are a great way to boost metabolism, your fitness, and your endurance.  One study concluded that if you used body weight moves as part of high intensity circuit training, it helps one lose body fat effectively and improve muscular fitness.  Furthermore, you may not develop bulky muscles which is fine if you are only interested in improving your overall fitness so you don't suffer injury.  You will tone muscles, build strength, and improve your health.

If you haven't exercised much recently, using body weight exercises is a good way to help one build a good understanding of correct form and movement as you build strength. You can either do the body weight exercises on their own or you can add some moves to your current workout plan.  In addition, these exercises can be done by anyone of any fitness level. 

When starting out it is recommended one do two sets of 15 repetitions of each movement but if you are more advanced, you could do four sets of 15 repetitions. It is best to use a variety of body weight exercises targeting specific parts of the body.  For instance, if you want to work on your chest, look at doing pushups (12 to start) , the push up shuffle in which you do a push up then move a step right, repeat the pushup (5 sets) and move a step to the left, or an isometric chest squeeze where you stand with the hands in front of you at a 90 degree angle so they meet at the chest.  Then push together for 30 seconds and release (10 reps).

For arms try doing tricep reps which can be done using a bench or couch. Sit so your feet are extended in front of you and your back is facing the couch.  Your hands are positioned behind you about a shoulder width between on the couch or bench and fingertips are facing your body.  Straighten your arms so your body is now over the floor and bend your elbows into a 90 degree angle.  Carefully let yourself do down and then raise yourself up.  Repeat 12 times.  Then there is the up-down plank where you  begin in plank position with your body in a straight line.  Take your left arm and put it down on the mat so it is on the ground, bent at a 90 degree angle.  Repeat with the right arm, then straighten the left arm, followed by the right and repeat for 30 seconds.

Let's move on to your back.  Lie down so your face is on the ground, your feet together, and your arms form a Y above your head, Using only your back and shoulder muscles, raise your chest and arms off the ground, hold, and then lower.  Repeat 15 times.  This same exercise can be done with the arms to the side at a 90 degree angle in the same manner.   Another good exercise for the back has you kneeling on the ground on your hands and knees.  You lift the left leg and straighten it backwards and the right arm forward, hold, and lower.  Repeat with the right leg and left arm.  Do 15 on each side.

We are back to the regular plank where you put your legs straight out behind you, arms lifting you up, and your eyes focused on a spot about a foot in front of you.  Hold for at least 30 seconds but longer if you can.  It works your core muscles.  Another exercise for your core and abdomen muscles is the bicycle crunches.  You lay on the ground, your hands lightly on the back of your head, Pull your knees into your chest as you raise your shoulder blades.  At this point extend your left leg out while you twist your upper body so your left elbow touches your right knee.  Straighten and bring your left leg back in, then repeat by extending your right leg and twist to touch your right  elbow to the left knee.  Repeat until 30 seconds is up. 

I am stopping here and will continue with more exercises in the next column.  As you see, these exercises can be done anywhere without much more than a yoga mat.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Fitness Trends For 2023

We are almost to the  end of 2022 and 2023 is rapidly approaching.  As with any new year, there are new fitness trends.  Some will last and others will prove to only be a fad but they all make a mark on us.  Some trends disappear because they are not research based and offer nothing to the participant while others are so good, they stay with us for years.

There are several trends but the actually ones listed tend to vary according to the source you explore. One trend that is found on different lists is  Metaverse Wellness.  This covers the digital world where we use data to help us improve our times and performances.  In this case the metaverse also covers fitness, beauty, diet, mental wellness, spas, and wellness when traveling, buying a house, or at work.  So it is looking at ourselves and our place in the universe.  

Next is Biophilia exercises which is another way of saying that when one exercises they connect to nature and the outdoors. Exposure to the outdoors helps improve mood, productivity, cognitive function, enhanced critical thinking and helps our mental health.  It is a good way to lower our stress levels.  I was just over in Copenhagen and half the population rode bikes even in the colder weather.  Everyone was out walking around, babies were in their carriages, and no one thought anything of it.  

More women are participating in weight training since it has become an accepted part of a well rounded workout. Weight training improves metabolism, increases bone density, and strengthens joints.  In addition, it can improve a woman's confidence while reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  Although many think weight training is only good for building muscles, it is also a good way to boost your metabolism even at rest.  

The next trend is called free movement which is where you allow the body to intuitively move around.  One does not follow the structured routines such as the cardio workout in a fitness studio where you walk forward four steps and back four steps before repeating 8 times. Instead, it is about the body connecting with free movement so one finds the joy in moving again.  One lives in the body rather than the head.  I've done this and the hardest thing for me is moving around rather than following predesignated steps.  It is nice because you aren't wrong and you won't get on the "wrong" foot.  In addition, I've ended up feeling the same way as I have when working out with a regular routine.

Furthermore, with society deciding to live with COVID, people are returning to in-person classes.  At the same time, virtual fitness classes are going to remain but many times these classes end up feeding people into in-person classes.  In fact, 85 percent of virtual gym goers want to try in-person classes and in-person rates are at or above pre-COVID rates.

Another trend that is continuing into 2023 is wearable technology.  This includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and GPS-tracking devices.  In addition, wearable technology provides data that can be used by trainers to provide personalized workouts.  People want personalized workouts so they get a workout designed specifically for them so they get the most out of their workouts.  In addition, wearable technology can gamify the workouts by using a VR headset or app. 

Then there are mini workouts also known as exercise snacking where you do short workouts throughout the day rather than one lone session.  Research indicates that the frequency is much more important than the length of a session and it fits in better, especially if you are busy.  In addition, these short sessions allows your body to release endorphins and changes the mindset from dread to enjoyment.  

Furthermore, one should add mobility training to the overall routine.  Mobility training is where a person learns to safely move a muscle or muscle group through a range of motion around a joint.  This helps you improve functional movement, prevent injuries, reduce pain and so much more.  At the same time, one should work on posture so everything is lined up and you stay healthy, without pain.  

We'll revisit these trends in a year to see which ones lasted and which ones fell by the wayside.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Interesting Name For A Bar.

 Saw this in Reykjavik and laughed.

Mini Workouts

I was checking up on fitness trends for 2023 and came across something referred to as mini workouts.  I know what it sounds like to me but I wanted to look into it in more detail because I sometimes have days where it is hard to fit in a 30 to 60 minute workout.  This offers a change, especially for those who know they need to exercise but find it hard to do it.  

In today's society we know how important exercise is but many of us have jobs that take so much of our time or we have family matters we need to take care of if we are not working. Sometimes mini workouts are our best option.  By definition, a mini workout is an exercise session that lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. This length is easy to fit in a busy schedule and can be easily incorporated especially if you work at home. The mini workouts can be done during a break from work. Even with the shorter workouts, you can lose weight, improve fitness, and are easier to stick with. 

Another. big advantage is that when a person finishes a mini workout, they have a sense of accomplishment which can keep them motivated. In fact, these mini workouts help combat the fact that we do not move as much and spend lots of time sitting.  In addition, these short sessions are enough to have your body release endorphins so that you feel better. I will say that it is much easier to start exercising if you know the session is only 10 minutes long and since it is short, it can be done across the day.  

However, in order to get the most benefit from such a short session, it needs to be of higher intensity. When looking at exercises that fit the higher intensity category, you need to look at HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training which are composed of high intensity moves alternating with very short periods of rest.  One could do Tabata Training composed of four minutes of high intensity moves broken down to extremely high intensity moves for 20 seconds alternating with a resting move for 10 seconds.  this is continued until four minutes is reached.   

One could also do High Intensity Circuit Training which is made up of compound eight training movements designed to up your heart rate while working multiple muscle groups at once.  Finally, one can do a metabolic training composed of high intensity movements that work the whole body alternating with short rest periods.  No matter what exercises you do, you need to make sure that you have proper form, otherwise they are not as effective.

The advantage of using mini workouts is that you can choose one or more depending on your needs.  So instead of exercising 40 minutes straight, you can do 4 different 10 minutes sessions spread throughout the day.  It is important to do a warm up and cool down but these do not have to be super long and each session should focus on one muscle group or area of fitness.  This site has suggestions for various mini workouts one can do at home easily and a suggested warm-up routine. 

So if you don't have a lot of time, think about doing a mini workout.  It will get you up and moving, improve your mood and your health.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

What is 12 - 3 -30?

In the world of fitness, there is always something new that pops up on our radar.  For me, it is 12 - 3 - 30 but this cannot be done anywhere.  It can only be done at a gym, fitness center, or at home but one has to have access to a treadmill in order to do it.  

The idea behind the 12 - 3 - 30 is that you set your treadmill to a 12 degree incline with a speed of 3 miles an hour and walk for 30 minutes. This particular routine came off of social media first in 2019 and again in 2020.

This workout focuses on walking, not running so for many people it is a much better option, especially if you don't do well running on treadmills.  Although walking is considered a moderate activity, when doing it on the treadmill with the 12 percent incline and at three miles per hour, it becomes much more vigorous for people.  The 12 percent grade is a fairly steep incline especially as most mountain roads only have a six to eight percent incline.  

When a person walks at an incline compared to flat ground, they encounter more gravity trying to pull them down and your leg and butt muscles have to work harder to overcome the gravity. Consequently, your heart works harder turning it into a cardio challenge. It was found that when people use an incline of between 2 and 7 percent, it causes the heart rate to increase by 10 percent compared to being on a flat surface.  

The 12 - 3 - 30 workout is a great way to increase the intensity of walking, making it a better workout.  It is considered a good alternative to running especially if someone wants a more intense workout than just straight walking and it is straight forward. The 12 - 3 - 30 tells you everything you need to know. In addition, if one does this workout five days a week, it meets the government guidelines for the minimum amount of recommended exercise. It is recommended one not do this workout more than two or three times a week.

Although the 12 - 3 - 30 workout offers a good cardio workout, it does have some drawbacks one should be aware of before choosing it.  It puts some stress on your lower back due to the amount of incline and it is possible to damage your hamstrings and calves if you do not do proper warmup every time.  In addition, if you have issues with your knees, you could stress your knees too much.

Furthermore, this workout has you walking uphill all the time rather than walking both up hill and down hill as you would when walking outside. If you walk on an uneven ground, your balance is challenged, and you work your lower legs more than on a treadmill.  When you walk outside, you get sun (vitamin d), fresh air, and changing scenery.  

it is strongly recommended that one eat something that contains both quality carbohydrates and protein about 45 minutes before beginning the workout so you are properly fueled up.  Do not jump into the workout too quickly.  Instead take time to do some pre-exercise stretches as a way of activating your glutes, calves, hamstrings, and hips.  When you start working out on the treadmill, begin at 0 percent grade (flat) for the first two or three minutes as a way of warming up before moving on to the 12 percent incline.  Then once you are done with the 30 minutes, take time to properly cool down. Don't forget to include stretching and giving your heart a chance to slow down.  

Although this workout is good, it should not be used as your only exercise as it does not help other leg muscles fully develop as they would using other exercises. In addition, it is best to mix up various workouts to keep your motivation up and reduce boredom. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 12, 2022

How Many Times A Week Should You Do Weight Training.


Research has proven that it is important to do weight training as people age.  It helps people avoid experiencing osteoporosis and other issues.  I admit, that some weeks it is hard to even do strength training because I prefer cardio and would rather do that but as I read the research, I become more aware that it is extremely important to include it.

One does not need to go to the gym to do weight training.  Having a few different sets at home combined with a DVD or YouTube video is all you need to include weight training on a regular basis.

First off, research indicates that the number of times one works out with weights does make a difference.  With older adults, working out one or two times a week does not make a difference but they experience a significant increase in strength when using weights at least three times a week.  This indicates that the place to get the most benefit lies between working out two to three times a week.  Therefore, it is recommended one includes weight training at least three times a week to get the best results. 

If you work out two to three times a week, there are three things to keep in mind.  First think about doing full body workouts, because people can work out harder and recover faster from that type of workout. Second, think in terms of movements rather than muscles for best results.  Consider pressing and pulling like in the bench or row, or performing vertical movement with a pull-up or military press.  When you use your legs, think of squatting, dead lifting, or using single leg exercises. Always switch up the exercises you do every three to four weeks because your body adapts to certain exercises or programs, so you want to switch things up.  Do this by making exercises more difficult, performing variations of exercises, changing the number of sets and repetitions, or decrease your rest time.  Finally, make sure to take a day off between weight training session to give yourself the best results.

If you are able to workout four times a week, you cab either perform a full body workout or a split workout where you do upper body one day and lower body the next and repeat.  This allows you to target areas better.  When working out four days a week, focus on a specific movement pattern by using two to three exercises that use that movement.  Do not exercise more than two days in a row before taking a break. If you do more than two days in a row, you open yourself to possible injury.  Finally, every four to six weeks consider deloading which means you decrease the number of repetitions, lower the amount of weights, or skip a few more days.  

If you are just starting out, don't be surprised if you experience delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. It is advices that you hold off on working out again with weights until the soreness goes away to avoid injury.  It usually takes 12 to 24 hours after a workout for DOMS to appear and the soreness usually disappears by 72 hours.  In addition, a good way of doing weight training is to perform 8 to 12 repetitions per set and anywhere between one and three sets of the exercise to start. As your body gets stronger, you can increase the number of repetitions or sets. 

So remember, include weight training two to three days for maximum benefits.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

New Way Of Parking.

 Down by the train station, they had double decker parking for bicycles. Copenhagen bills itself as a city with lots of bicycles.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Regular parking.


Bikes by the transit station are parked in single level.  Some even offset a bit but I saw something new today. Check back tomorrow to see.

Friday, December 9, 2022

How Much Water Do You Really Need To Drink.

I'm sure we've all heard that we need to drink eight glasses of water where a glass is defined as eight ounces.  My mother was always telling me to drink more water every day because I seldom even had a glass of water.  I usually drink tea, tea, and tea but I don't do water that much because I do not like the flavor.  Just recently, I've come across articles that indicate we may not need to drink that much water every day.

The idea behind this idea is to keep ourselves hydrated.  This way we stay healthier, help expel toxins from our system, keep from becoming dehydrated due to sweating, and so much more.  It turns out that the human body is quite inefficient because we are always losing moisture, cannot store the excess, and we cannot replenish it.  We cannot go for any real length without water.  We are always losing water through our urine and via sweating or via our breath.

According to what I can find out, this particular notion first made its appearance back in 1945 when it was published as part of nutritional guidelines established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.  They suggested that people needed this amount of water every day even though there were no studies published to support this claim.  

According to several nutritionists and scientists, most people get way more than the recommended intake if you include all the moisture in the food we eat and the liquids we drink directly.  There is water in most foods even if we are not really aware of it and that liquid makes up part of our daily requirement.  Furthermore, if you are not getting enough liquid, your body tells you by letting you know you are thirsty.

However, if hot weather, you are likely to need more hydration so we need to be making sure we get extra moisture.  Also, as people age, the thirst reflex decreases so older people tend to become dehydrated more easily.  My mother would always make sure she and dad had glasses of water with them all day long because she'd easily become dehydrated.

In general, if you drink more water than you need, you will expel the extra through your urine because your kidneys are designed to maintain  a balance between water in and water out.  There is research that indicates drinking excess water provides no benefits but if you have certain medical conditions such as heart disease or kidney disease, your. body may retain more than it should and this can cause problems.

So if you are not drinking eight glasses of water a day, do not feel bad.  Follow your body and if you are thirsty, drink something, if not, don't worry.  One rule I learned years ago when I had to work outside on extremely hot days is one I use.  If your urine is dark, drink more, if it is a nice light yellow to clear, you are fine.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Face Masks For Improved Skin


Over my lifetime I have used a variety of face masks from those goopy ones that dry and leave your skin feeling tight to the newest ones made of paper dripping in serums and such.  Of the two, I prefer the dripping ones because I don't have to struggle to either peel or rub the dried mixture off. 

We know that their appeal is in their claims to make our skin and faces look better, younger, and smoother just makes us want to use them.  Although we all use them, we may not be using them correctly or using the right one so we might not get the best results.

One reason face masks are so popular is that they offer intense treatment for the skin at a fraction of the cost. One reason they work, is that the ingredients in the face mask are up against our skin for a much longer period of time.  Consequently, the mask traps ingredients against the skin to hydrate, moisturize, dry, or even exfoliate the skin. So the time factor gives the ingredients a chance to penetrate the skin better than under normal circumstances.  

One of the first steps is to choose the type of face mask that is best for your skin.  If you look on line, or go into the drug store, there are so many to choose from and if you aren't sure, you may not know what to get.  There are several types of masks and each type performs a different job.  Many overnight masks are designed to hydrate your skin and are designed for mature or dry skins.  Masks with clay, sulphur, or mud, tend to soak up oil, and tend to exfoliate your skin.  Then there are sheet masks are filled with antioxidents to hydrate the skin.  One wears a mask from 10 minutes to overnight so plan the timing so you have the time you need to enjoy the benefits to its fullest.

When you buy a mask, you need to decide what you need it for and check to make sure it has the proper ingredients. For instance, if you have acne and you want a mask, look for one with salicylic acid and alpha-hydroxide acid. For fine wrinkles, look for a mask with vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, ferrlic acid, or retinoids. If you have redness or rosacea look for a mask with niacinamide.  To help with dark spots and pigmentation, look for kojic acid, retinoids, or vitamin C. 

When you look at face masks, you want to select ones that have shorter ingredients lists.  If the face mask has a long list of ingredients, it ups your chance of reacting to the face mask. Look for words like fragrance free, hypoallergenic, or free of dyes or parabans and stay away from harsher ingredients, allergens, and other things that can hurt you.  You always want to look for certain signs that the mask is irritating your skin.  If you breakout or develop acne or your acne gets worse, you experience redness or burning or it hurts to remove the mask, you break out in hives or you experience dryer skin or your skin peels, then quit using that mask.  It is not right for your skin.

A good general mask is the sheet mask often associated with Korean skin care. These masks are wonderful for soothing sensitive or inflamed skin.  They are more hydrating as they distribute the ingredients over the whole face.  On the other hand, creme masks are more for specific skin complaints such as acne.

When you are ready to use any face mask, make sure you clean your face first with a mild cleanser. Be sure to use warm water to open up the pores.  When pores are open, they absorb the face mask ingredients better. If you are into making your own masks, use yogurt and milk which contain lactic acid which acts like an exfoliant, aloe vera which contains vitamins A, C, E and B, all of which help brighten the skin, or papayas which contains enzymes that brighten skin.  Avoid lemon or lime juice, or apple cider vinegar which can cause skin irritation. Always do a small test patch of your homemade mask to make sure your skin handles all the ingredients.

Think about using a face mask, one to two times a week to help your skin. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Applying Moisturizer Correctly


The other day, I came across a video on YouTube in which the person stated that most there is a correct way to apply moisturizer.  I didn't realize that because my mother just smeared it on her face, so I learned to apply it that way.  Watching the video, I discovered a few things I didn't know.  

First of all, it is important to use moisturizer because research has shown to increase the moisture in the outermost layer of your skin. It also helps fight signs of aging while keeping your skin looking healthier. It is important to gently exfoliate your skin so the skin absorbs the moisturizer better.

1.  Clean your face so you've removed all the dirt, grime, and makeup. You need a clean face so your skin is like a blank canvas.

2. There is a specific order to apply skin care products to your face.  After cleaning your face, you want to apply products such as toners, essences, serums, all designed to help hydrate your skin,  The moisturizer is then applied on top of these products and if you use sunscreen, it is applied on top of this.

3.  Make sure your skin is damp when you apply your moisturizer so if you use products to hydrate the skin, do not give the skin a chance to dry out before applying the moisturizer.  This seals in the moisture so your skin stays hydrated throughout the day.

3. Apply only a pea sized blob of moisturizer to your skin and dab it all over your face before you smooth it into your skin. Do not rub the moisturizer between your hands before applying it to your face because your hands will absorb some of the moisturizer, instead, place the pea sized blob on the back of your hand and use your ring finger to dot it around your face.  When you smooth it in, do so by moving the moisturizer away from the nose and eyes.  Do not over apply the moisturizer.  If you use too much, it will waste product because it won't all be absorbed into the skin, leaves your skin shiny and makes it hard to apply sunscreen later on.

4. Always clean your face and apply moisturizer twice a day. When you do it in the morning, you are cleaning off crud from the night before and at night, you get rid of the days grime and makeup.  In addition, moisturizer is not designed to last for 24 hours at a time.  To get the best results from using moisturizer, it is essential to apply it twice a day.

5.  Even if you have acne, it is recommended you use moisturizer to help protect your skin and keep the acne from increasing. When choosing a moisturizer, look for an oil free gel that has niacinamide or retinol.    When you skip moisturizer, it can make your acne worse, so find one that works. 

It is important to apply moisturizer correctly because your skin is unable to retain adequate moisture without help.  If you don't moisturize regularly, your skin can become dry and flakey.  The moisturizer provides a barrier between your skin and the climate so it is protected from heat, cold, or pollution.  It helps rehydrate and make your skin so much better.  So remember, use a small pea sized bit of conditioner, dot it on, and smooth it around your skin for best results.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, December 4, 2022


 Eventually, the outer layer begins to cool and it becomes the new land.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Friday, December 2, 2022

Exercise DVD's Need More - Body Shapes, Levels, And Ages.


As you know, I use exercise DVD's instead of going to the gym or studios.  This is mostly because I usually end up working in places that do not offer gyms or studios so I have to get my exercise in other ways.  I lack a certain amount of motivation so I love exercise DVD;s because I have a "leader" I can follow.  Seeing others work along with the instructor encourages me but not all DVD's are encouraging for me.

I've found that many exercise DVD's are lacking in having people with a variety of body shapes.  Although I use a lot of different DVD;s I like the ones who have a variety of body shapes the best.  I admit, I am not a twenty something with a body that has a flat stomach, no boobs, and extremely tall.  I like seeing a woman who is more rounded with a bit of a rounded abdomen, and looks more like I do.  

The thing is, women come in every shape.  When I see a DVD with super skinny women working out, it seems unreal because most of the women I know, even the ones who are in shape, are not that skinny.  They have curves.  When I see women who have curves, even the instructor is that way, I feel more motivated because they look like me.

I also think that all DVD's should offer the workout routine with three basic levels - easy, medium, and more challenging.  I have a couple with the three levels but the easy level is not made for folks like me.  I have one where the instructor stated flat out there was not alternative to jumping jacks and one should just buck up and learn to do it.  The problem with that attitude is it can be very discouraging if you can't do the move to start with.  I've seen a modified jumping jack which I've used when I wasn't in the best shape and needed to work into the full jumping jack.  

It is important to have the doable levels for the average person so they don't get discouraged and feel encouragement because they can see they have options.  I admit, there are days, I am so tired, I don't feel as if I can do the challenging so I stick with the easy level or I start with the easy and when I'm truly warmed up, I'll move up to medium or challanging. I also like the DVD's that offer the choice of choosing which parts of the routine you want to do so if you had a really long day, you can put together a routine for 15 minutes or you feel good, you might go for the full 45 minute routine.  I have several 10 minute DVD's which means there are 5 ten minute long routines I can use to put together the routine length that works for me.

The last thing is I love getting DVD's that have participants of different ages from twenty something up to someone with beautiful gray hair.  When I use one like that, I feel more motivated because I don't end up discouraged because I can't move exactly in the same way all those twenty something fitness models work.  It also shows that anyone of any age can use the DVD which I think is important.  If all you see are twenty something people on the DVD, you receive this subliminal message that you have to be young to do it.  

When I end up with an exercise DVD filled with people who have different body shapes, are of different ages, and the DVD allows me to choose a length and a level, I am happy and so much more motivated because I feel as if I am working out with "regular" people.  I know there are people out there who will disagree with me, but this is how I feel and I love feeling as if I belong to the "class".  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The 10 Do's And Don'ts Of Exfoliation - 5 Each

I remember when I was in my teens, I had the usual acne, oily skin, and blackheads.  At the time, you popped any and all zits because that is what everyone else did.  If you invested in any face stuff, it was usually a tonic with lots of alcohol, or an exfoliant with cracked walnut shells that just left your skin looking like it slid along a road.  You just thought that was normal because we didn't know any better. Sometimes I wonder how I got to adulthood with decent skin.

Over the years, I've learned more about exfoliation and using it more effectively so I don't hurt my skin.  You can exfoliate but you have to follow certain "rules" or suggestions. Rather than list the Do's first and Don'ts next, I'm going to do one Do followed by a Don't.  So we're off.

1. Do use a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical exfoliant such as a scrub with walnut shells.  The chemical exfoliant use chemicals such as acids or enzymes to gently remove the dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin.  The exfoliant breaks the bonds that hold the dead skin cells in place.  Chemical exfoliants are so much more gentle to the skin and much better.

Don't exfoliate every single day.  If you over exfoliate, you can permanently damage your skin's barrier and it can lead to your skin experiencing dehydration, redness, and peeling.  In addition, it can exasperate acne. You only need to exfoliate once or twice a week for best results.

2. Do exfoliate at night only. When you exfoliate, you expose a fresh layer of skin and if you do it in the morning and go out, you are exposing your skin to more sun damage. If you do it at night, you give your skin a chance to heal while you sleep and you are exposing it to fewer environmental issues. 

Don't exfoliate right after a chemical peel or facial. You need to wait a week, otherwise it could cause significant damage and you don't want that. In addition, if you had your body waxed recently, skip the body scrub for the same reason.

3. Do wear sunscreen.  Although it is important to wear sunscreen everyday, it is more important to wear it after you've exfoliated your skin. This is because your skin requires extra protection for a few days after you exfoliate due to the fresh new layer.

Don't continue exfoliating if you experience stings, turns red or flakey, stop and wait a week while researching the ingredients and to make sure you are using the correct method for your skin and age.  What works for someone who is twenty something with oily skin won't work for a fifty something lady with drier skin.  So do a bit of research before trying again.

4. Do continue using your normal face routine after you've exfoliated. This ensures that your natural skin barrier is properly restored and keeps your skin from drying out.

Don't get too rough with your exfoliation because your skin is quite delicate and sensitive.  Always be gentle even when applying your chemical exfoliant.  

5. Do remember to exfoliate your body in addition to your face. Your body needs to have the dead cells removed so plan to exfoliate from head to toe at least once day a week.

Don't rinse your chemical exfoliant off right away because you want to give the active ingredients a chance to be absorbed. Leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes so it has a get rid of all dead skin cells while letting your skin experience it to the fullest effect.

Follow this list of do's and don'ts to have the best experience with exfoliation.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Skin Slugging


Last week, just before Thanksgiving hit, I wrote on hair slugging. While doing research on that topic, I discovered you could slug you skin too which makes sense since slugging adds and seals moisture into your hair or skin. This is especially important during winter when the elements and the conditions of your house work hard to suck the moisture out of your skin.

Skin slugging is referred to on Tik Tok but it has been around for a long time.  It is one of the basic tenants of the Korean skin care program which is one I use regularly because of how it makes my skin feel and look.

Basically, skin slugging means you slather an occlusive like petroleum jelly on your skin just before bedtime to hold in your skin's moisture.  Slugging also helps prevent water loss so you wake up in the morning with plump, glowey, moisturized skin. 

Let's look at the benefits in more detail.  As stated earlier, the occlusive you slather on your skin forms a barrier that prevents moisture loss.  This is important as you age because your skin tends to become drier and the barrier really helps slow tis down.  It keeps your skin looking younger.

Next, it protects your skin from the hot, dry, air circulating from the furnace or heater.  In addition, the barrier helps provide the protection from dust and other envoirnmental elements found in your house.  Furthermore, the occlusive layer does so much more.  It restores your skin's natural fats known as lipids as you sleep, keeps out bacterias, while helping skin retain its natural elasticity. There is some research that indicates the barrier can help restore the natural fats and repair the skin's natural barrier. 

Having said that, not everyone can do skin slugging.  If you suffer from clogged pores, acne, or other such problems, then this may not be a good thing.  In addition, if you use retinoids, alpha hydroxide acids (AHA), or beta hydroxide acids (BHA) you need to be careful because the combination of occlusives with these might irritate the skin. 

When you are looking for a night creme to use, look for ones that have petroleum or ceramides because they work the best.  Yes, petroleum jelly is considered one of the best occlusives on the market due to cost and effectiveness. Although ceramides are not actually occlusives, they work in the same way to are often mentioned in the same breath. 

If you want to practice skin slugging, there are two different ways you can do it.  The first way has you cleaning our skin at night but do not apply any face oils, AHA's, BHA's and retinoids.  While your face is still damp, apply a little of the product and smooth it all over the face.  Go to bed, sleep well, and when you get up in the morning, clean your face well.  Instead of a fancy pillowcase, use one you don't mind getting stained and can easily be cleaned.

The other way is to remove your makeup and clean your skin.  While your skin is still damp, smear some of your product of choice all over your face.  Go about doing your normal things and a few hours later, wash the occlusive off your face and gently pat dry.  This is good for a day when you have time and need a little extra something.

Always make sure the occlusive is applied to damp skin.  If you are using OTC or prescription topical medicines for acne or other skin problem, apply them after you've finished slugging because they could irritate your skin. If for some reason you break out, notice an increase in acne, or see blackheads, quit.

So if your your skin is dry or you want to counter all the issues with winter, try skin slugging on a regular basis to improve it.  You want your skin as healthy as possible.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Hair Slugging!


The other day, I was reading my digital news and came across an article on hair slugging.  The first thing I pictured was hair beating up on itself but a quick search of the internet indicated that was not it.  Apparently, it came to public attention via Tik Tok as a hack designed to help your hair. Apparently, this developed out of a Korean skincare routine called skin slugging.

By definition, hair slugging is a process designed to lock moisture into the hair by using oil. It takes it a step further than just applying oil to your strands, it requires the hair to be covered by a sock or satin bonnet.  This helps the oil penetrate individual strands and when done, your hair looks healthier and shiny.  If you choose a sock, you might want to use a tube sock rather than a fuzzy sock so you don't leave any fuzzy bits in your hair.

To use hair slugging, one needs to wash their hair first so it is clean and has had all the extra moisture patted out so it is damp.  At this point, you apply oil to the hair.  It is recommended one use a light weight hair oil or serum because those are designed to penetrate the individual strands while providing protection but if you don't have any handy, you can use regular oil but you need to wash it out properly at the end.   You want to make sure the oil is well distributed throughout the hair, making sure the ends receive a generous amount and use little around the scalp.  Do not over penetrate the hair or your hair could end up too limp.

Furthermore, do not use a comb to distribute the oil, use your fingers as they do a better job. When your hair is soaked in oil, it can be a bit weaker and your fingers do not cause the hair to break as easily. Once the oil is dispersed throughout the hair, wrap it up in a sock or bonnet. Although some might recommend putting your hair into a pony tail before placing it in the sock or bonnet, a loose bun works much better. It is best to leave it in overnight but if you don't have that amount of time available, the oil can be left in for one to two hours.  

When you are ready, wash the oil out of your hair with lukewarm water and finish off with a cool water rinse to close the cuticles and lock the moisture in. If you use a regular oil like coconut or olive oil, you need to make sure it is throughly washed out otherwise it could lead to clogged pores and buildup. It is recommended one slug the hair at least once a week and up to three times if you have dry hair.   Just to let you know, this is not a "new" thing.  The idea of oiling ones hair has been around for a very long time.  It was used in Southeast Asia and India.  

So if your hair needs a bit of help in the hydration department, give this a try to see if it works for you.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Vitamin D And The Winter.

 Today, I'm exploring the question of why we usually get less Vitamin D in the winter. This is an important topic because it helps us stay healthy throughout our lives.   I know I get less Vitamin D in the winter and I end up having to take supplements to get enough.

The best source of Vitamin D is by having your skin exposed to sunlight for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. It is also the best source. In the winter we produce less Vitamin D because we wear more clothing so less of our skin is exposed and we spend more time indoors at the same time. 

When a person does not get enough Vitamin D, it can affect so many different things.  One of its most important roles is to help your body absorb calcium and phosphorus.  It also helps fight depression, muscle weakness, gets right of fatigue, and pain.  When you don't have enough Vitamin D in your body, your risk for cardio vascular diseases increases.  It can also help cut down on illnesses.

In winter, it is important to take specific steps to keep your Vitamin D levels up.  One thing you can do is to go outside every day even if it is cold. Unfortunately during the winter, when the angle of the sun has changed, a person usually needs more time to get the same amount of Vitamin D as one does in summer. It is recommended a person use sunscreen when going outside in the winter.  Research indicates that a SPF sunscreen of 15 protects 93% of UV rays from reaching the skin so this means 7% makes it through to be absorbed by the skin.  That is enough to help your body produce Vitamin D. 

Another thing is to make sure you eat plenty of foods containing Vitamin D during the winter. The few foods that offer a good amount of Vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, mushrooms, and eggs but milk is considered one of the best sources because milk is fortified with Vitamin D to prevent rickets in children.  Milk has been fortified since the 1930's. Other sources of dairy include yogurt and certain cheeses so if you are not a milk drinker, there are other dietary possibilities. 

If you aren't sure you are able to get enough Vitamin D via your diet or being outside, it is possible to take a regular supplement. The United States Government recommends that people get 400 to 800 International Units(IU) but most supplements are sold in the 800 to 2000 IU's so go for the lower amounts unless you've been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency and the doctor will tell you what amount is best.

Always make sure you are getting enough calcium because if you do not have calcium available for the Vitamin D to use to add to your bones and circulate in your blood, your body will take the calcium out of your bones to make sure your blood has what it needs.  The same foods that have Vitamin D, also have the calcium so if you eat plenty of them, you should have enough of both Vitamin D and Calcium for your body's needs.

If you are taking medications, talk to your doctor to make sure the medications do not interfere with your body's ability to absorb Vitamin D.  This is important since you want to make sure you have enough Vitamin D so that you stay healthy.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

It's Even Better When This Is Out

 It is even better when the Aurora comes out to play.  It is always moving around as if it is alive. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

I Love Looking At The Night Sky


I love when it is clear enough to stand outside and enjoy the beautiful night sky.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Why Sunlight Is Important In The Winter


The hardest thing for me about winter is the lack of sunlight. Where I live in Alaska, there is like 4, maybe 5 hours of sunlight on the shortest days and I miss the bright sun shinning in my window. Even with the sun, it is often gray and cloudy outside so I notice it.  

I've noticed that I tend to be more energetic and happy when it's sunny out.  I pop out of bed, prepared to face the day but in winter, I tend to crawl out of bed, want to nap all the time, but I know spring isn't far away. If you read up on things, you will know that it is important to get enough sunlight even in the winter.  

One big reason that sunlight is important is that the sun helps boost your immune system while preventing disease.  When your skin is exposed to sunlight, the sun helps your T cells move consequently improving your immune system.  In addition, sunlight also helps your body produces 90 percent of vitamin D which is used by your body to build bones, control inflammation, and increase your immunity. Vitamin D also helps protect your body from certain types of cancer and slows down aging.  Yes, it is recommended one use sunscreen but you only need 15 minutes of exposure to the direct rays. This can be done by a short morning outing just before the sunscreen is applied.

Furthermore, sunlight helps improve your mood because it makes you feel good. Unfortunately, the amount of sunlight decreases during the winter and many people undergo SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and certain types of depression. If you can't get enough sunlight, buy a special light to use on days without enough sun.  

Sunlight also helps to improve your energy levels.  It perks you up and keeps you going. When the light hits your eyes, your brain is told to wake up and release the cortisol your body needs to increase your metabolism so you make it through the day.  When your body is exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes every day in the morning, it tells your body to stop producing melatonin which is the hormone responsible for helping us sleep, helping us wake up. 

Research has also found that when you are exposed to sunlight year round, it helps you live longer.  In fact, specific research shows that the women who were exposed to a minimum amount of sun every day over a 20 year period, tended to live much longer than those who didn't.  Furthermore, when the body is exposed to UV rays, the body produces nitric oxide which helps keep your weight down and slows the development of type 2 diabetes.  In addition, being exposed to sunlight helps lower our blood pressure. 

It is easy to forget about getting enough sun during the winter due to the temperature drops, snow, storms, wind, and other things.  I don't always get outside but I do have a window open I sit by so I can get some sunlight.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Why Is It Important To Exercise In Winter.


As I look out my window, the ground is covered in snow.  I don't know what the temperature is but I know it snowed more last night because the car is covered in it.  With the colder temperatures, the shorter days, and longer nights, I find I have to push myself to exercise.  It's hard to get enthused to go to the gym when you have to prewar the car, put on your coat, shoes, etc to protect you and head off when it is so much easier to just say "I'll do it tomorrow" but as we know tomorrow never comes.  It's even hard to get motivated to exercise at home some days because we get into the snuggle up with a hot drink mentality. 

There are some important reasons to keep exercising through winter.  One is that it helps us work on the body that we want to have during the summer.  It also helps us keep over eating under control and get air into our lungs.  In addition, some of the benefits are more noticeable in winter.

First, when we can exercise outside, we expose ourselves to the sun, our bodies get Vitamin D because the sun provides that.  There are very few foods that provide you with vitamin D so when you expose your bare skin to the sun, you are bathed in it.  I live so far north, it's too hard to exercise outdoors so I have to take a supplement but if you have decent weather, get out there and enjoy the sun.

Second, participating in a workout helps warm your body up naturally.  When you workout, your core temperature helps sooth and calm your body.  It does it in the same way as soaking in a hot bath. Furthermore, regular exercise helps makes your immune system stronger because exercising makes your blood pump through your body circulating your immune cells throughout.  This helps your body fight infections and you stay healthier.  Although the effects only last a short time after the workout, it is important to exercise regularly to enjoy the long term effects of protection.

In addition, when you work out daily, your body releases chemicals that help you feel good, helps destress you, and eases depression.  When you workout, your brain releases serotonin and dopamine so you feel better and if you do this daily, you feel better the whole winter.   The best thing is that exercise helps keep the traditional winter weight gain especially when combined with proper eating.  

Now if you live in a place where you can exercise outside, there are some advantages to that.  You get direct exposure to the sun, are able to breathe in fresh air, and so many other things.  It is shown that exposure to the cold can help improve your endurance because your heart doesn't have to pump as hard, you sweat less and your exercise becomes more efficient.  There is also research to indicate that exercising outdoors in cold weather can help turn your stubborn white belly fat into calorie burning fat. 

If you decide to exercise outdoors, be sure to warm up properly, protect your head, feet, and hands, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated.  In addition, check with your doctor if you have certain conditions.  I do not exercise outside in super cold temperatures because it can trigger my asthma so I stay inside but once it has warmed up, I'm off walking. It doesn't matter if you work out indoors or outdoors, just do it regularly. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Keeping All Your Skin Beautiful And Hydrated In Winter

 It is winter time when the cold and wind does a job on our hair, face, and overall skin. I often forget about my skin until I discover it is flakey and dry.  I sometimes get so busy, I just shower, take care of the face but don't bother with my skin.  Even if your skin does not get to the rough, flakey stage, it can become dull due to the temperatures, indoor heat, wind, and low humidity levels.  

Not all signs of dry skin are obvious.  In addition to dry flakey skin, your skin might turn red, become rough, itch like crazy, become raw and irritated, have cracks, or you might experience a stinging or burning.  These symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the person.  Dry skin is referred to as Xerosis in the medical community.   I also realize that most of the suggestions are similar to those recommended for your face but we still need to be reminded to take care of the rest of the skin properly.

Although it seems as if dry skin is always around in winter, there are steps you can take to make it easier to have beautifully hydrated skin throughout the season.  As soon as you are done with your shower, slather a moisturizing lotion or cream all over your body because when you shower, you wash away your natural oils and they need to be replaced.  

We've talked about protecting your face with sunscreen throughout the winter but you also need to apply it all over the exposed areas of the skin even if you wear a coat or sweater.  The sleeves can ride up, exposing your skin to the sun and cold.  Any time UV rays hit your skin, the barrier helping to keep your skin hydrated can be disrupted and this can lead to dry skin. Always apply the sunscreen on top of the moisturized skin and use one rated at least 30 SPF.

Use the thicker emollients at night because they take so much longer to be absorbed.  This gives your skin a chance to absorb all the oils and nutrients it needs.  If you use oils or emollients on your hands or feet, think about wrapping them in plastic or gloves to help protect the bedding while helping the absorption rate increase.  Think about using products that have shea butter, cocoa butter, reship or jojoba oil because these ingredients help provide a protective barrier to lock in the moisture and oils.

If you notice your skin is more sensitive or irritated in the winter, you might want to simplify your routine with just a moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning, perhaps a gentle cleaner for the body instead of the usual body wash.  In addition, the irritation could be due to the fragrance in your body wash.  Pull out the humidifier to use all winter long.  Too often the air inside the house loses moisture and that in turn can make your skin drier.  When you run a humidifier all winter long, it keeps the moisture in the air, which helps keep your skin in better shape. 

Instead of taking a hot, hot, shower, switch to a lukewarm temperature because the hot water strips away your natural oils, leaving your skin drier.  When you are done with the shower, don't forget to pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it dry because that helps the skin stay hydrated.  Furthermore, watch the amount of exfoliation you use.  If your skin is drier, you might want to switch to a chemical exfoliant as they are more gentle to the skin than using a physical one.

As stated before, many of these steps are the same you'd do for your face but you have to remember to take care of your whole body.  Purchase a few small tubes of a good creme to carry with you at all times so you can take care of any issues while you are on your way.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Avoiding Weight Gain During The Holidays.

We are already into November, heading into the holiday season when everyone pulls out all stops.  This is the time when everyone has cookies, pies, big meals, and so many other goodies that it is easy to gain weight. The good news is that most people do not gain the mythical 5 pounds over the holidays.  Instead, they only gain a bit under a pound, possibly as much as 2 pounds.  It is hard to turn down the sweets when your aunt insists on you trying her dish, or going out to dinner at others houses.

Fortunately, there are things a person can do to keep their weight gain down or off entirely.  Rather than sitting down to catch every special, or game, get up and move around.  Get together with the family to walk around the neighborhood.  Participate in organized community events such as working out at the local gym before the thanksgiving meal in exchange for canned food or go on one of those 10 km runs.  

Instead of enjoying cookies, pies, or cakes for snacks, look at either not snacking or enjoying fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds because these are healthier for us. In addition, watch your portion sizes so you don't indulge too much.  A trick my mother always used was to go for the salad plate rather than the dinner plate because it was smaller and she couldn't put as much on it.  If you have to use a dinner place, do not go back for the second spoonful because you do not want too much food on your plate.  Many of us grew up learning to eat everything on our plates so we will eat everything we put there.  In addition, do not go back for seconds because that is more calories you don't need, even if the food is fantastic.

Another way to keep weight gain down is to slow down, put your electronics away, and enjoy a conversation.  When you are multitasking while eating, it is extremely easy to over eat due to being distracted. When you sit down, take a few breaths before taking your first forkful of food.  Then chew every single bite so that you recognize when you are actually full so you stop. 

It is also important to get enough sleep every night.  When you go out to parties, you are likely to stay up later and sleep less causing you to eat more and exercise less.  In addition, your metabolism tends to slow when you don't get enough sleep.  You also need to watch your stress levels.  Let's face it, planning a dinner for the whole family can be quite stressful.  When you are stressed you are more likely to eat junk food and have higher levels of cortisol which is not good.

Furthermore, make sure you serve protein with every meal.  Many of the dishes served at this time of the year tend to be rich in carbohydrates but don't have a lot of protein.  When you serve enough protein, you are less likely to be hungry and over eat.  In addition, do not eat as many desserts as you want to due to the excessive amount of sugar and you also want to watch the amount of alcohol and soda you indulge in.  Both of these have lots of empty calories which can lead to a weight gain.

One other thing is to make everything from scratch rather than relying on highly processed foods. Boxed stuffing mix, or mashed potatoes often are high in unhealthy fats, salts and sugar also known as hidden calories.  Its the extra calories that can cause the weight gain.  Always find time for yourself to exercise, keep an eye on what you eat and if you mess up, move on.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.   Have a great day.