As holiday crunch time fills your schedule, don’t give up your exercise. Exercise burns off those extra calories. It also helps to alleviate stress, while stimulating the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has been linked to post-exercise mood improvement more effectively than antidepressant medications.
Exercise allows you time to focus, and gives you a sense of mindfulness that makes the other pieces of your life fall into place, according to Erica Christ, RD, CDE. Christ is an exercise physiologist at Greenwich Hospital’s Weight Loss & Diabetes Center.
“It never stops to amaze me that when times get crazy, the thing people give up is exercise, and that’s the key thing a person needs. If people can accept that, and be validated to do that, they’d be less apt to give it up. When a person is excitable from stress, a burst of energy can help burn the adrenaline off and calm you down,“ explained Christ.
At Greenwich Hospital’s Weight Loss & Diabetes Center, people get help creating a personal eating and exercise plan. Located at 55 Holly Hill Lane in Greenwich, the friendly atmosphere is far from “hospital-like.” It’s a casual façade that tackles a serious issue – pre-diabetes is hitting epidemic proportions.
You don’t have to have diabetes to come to the Center. Some people come because they want to lose weight; others want to maintain their current weight but are finding it increasingly difficult. Sometimes referrals come from orthopedic physicians for patients with pain in their knees, the result of carrying excess weight. Losing weight sometimes helps to relieve the problem, or makes it easier to recover from joint surgery.
The first step when you come to the Weight Loss & Diabetes Center is a general assessment. This helps determine the team that will work with you. Do you need an endocrinologist? Psychologist? Nutritionist? Exercise coach? The one-location concept provides convenience for people moving in a healthier direction.
Physical activity is an essential part of any overall health plan, but what kind of exercise is best? Erica Christ decided to base the Center’s activity component around Pilates, a form of exercise that uses graceful movement to build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance while supporting the body’s core abdominal and lower back area.
“The physical benefit of Pilates goes beyond strengthening the abs, back, shoulders and buttocks. There is also the importance of concentration and mind-body awareness. Plus there are no pressure joints. It’s a very safe, very powerful workout,” explained Christ.
The Center’s full service Pilates studio is available to anybody. Christ offers one-on-one personal training in a private setting that allows a person to focus on personal limitations without distraction.
Being tri-credentialed as an exercise physiologist, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Erica Christ understands the intricate dance that goes on between food, motion and metabolism. She helps clients learn how to fuel their bodies with energy for their specific lifestyle needs.
The Exercise/Stress Connection
“My biggest goal is to teach people how to use exercise as a way to de-stress from the outside world. It’s the ability to use an hour to turn off the rest of the world and focus on the task at hand. You become empowered while you’re doing it, and it that empowerment is motivation for overall self-improvement,” said Christ.
Holiday Healthy Eating Reminders
1. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays. Maintaining your current weight is more realistic.
2. Create an environment that supports your weight goal. Keep healthy foods in your home.
3. Keep up with a regular exercise regimen.
4. Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full.
5. Understand why you eat. Is it boredom? Is it just because the food is there? Drink water instead.