Can't commit to your usual exercise routine over the holidays? Try… (Michael Nagle / Getty Images )
Trying to stay on the straight and narrow this holiday season? You may feel like the cheese log standing alone as you endeavor to quit smoking or try to keep up your exercise and nutrition routine, but there are folks who want to help by providing some tips on getting through the next few weeks unscathed.
The American Lung Assn. offers seven tips to quit smoking in the new year, but there's no time like the present, we say. But if the stress of quitting is too much right now, at least let's plant the seed and get you thinking about things.
First, a number of treatments are available to help you quit, including over-the-counter patches and lozenges, so check with your doctor or pharmacist about what's out there. The lung association's website also has helpful information about quitting. You may also want to check into smoking-cessation programs in your community.
Picking a date to quit helps you get yourself in gear. Make sure you have whatever medications you need, and think about how you're going to handle stressful situations without cigarettes. Getting some exercise can cut down on the anxiety associated with quitting, as can eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep.
Get support from friends, family and co-workers. Let them know what you're up to and that you might need propping up.
As for not derailing your diet and exercise program, the American Council on Exercise says the best way to counter stress is not by downing a quart of eggnog, but by doing a few minutes of deep-breathing exercises.
What with parties, shopping and parties and shopping it may be unrealistic to keep your normal exercise routine. Don't beat yourself up about it -- work out for 20 minutes instead of your usual hour. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
Use this time to try some new activities such as ice skating or snowshoeing. And it's OK to indulge here and there -- if you don't, there's a good chance you'll feel deprived and binge. Even if you overdo it, taking a walk after dinner will undoubtedly make you feel better.
We'll add one more: Food will always be there. This won't be the last opportunity you'll have to eat mashed potatoes with gravy or praline cheesecake. So enjoy the holidays and be good to yourself.