Newswise — Valentine’s Day has turned into a day of indulgences. Whether swimming in the eyes of the one you love over a luscious dinner or drowning your loneliness in a box of chocolates, Valentine’s Day can be a big road bump on your path to better health and fitness.
“Valentine’s Day stirs up lots of emotions and anxiety,” said Cristina Harder, a registered and licensed dietician at the Loyola Center for Fitness. “But there are ways you can keep yourself in check and still make it through the holiday without ruining your healthy eating plan.”
Harder suggests a few ways to stay on track on Valentine’s Day.
First, try not to make Valentine’s Day about food or candy. Instead, focus on the people you love. Harder recommends spending time on activities to show how you care. Start by sending valentines to the loved ones in your life. You might also consider volunteering at a local animal shelter, food pantry or other local organization as a healthy way to share your caring spirit.
“Focus on spending quality time with your friends and loved ones instead of food and candy. Trying a new activity together is a great way to share time with family and friends,” said Harder.
Cooking a meal at home instead of dining out can relieve the frustrations that come with crowded restaurants and save you money. It also allows you to control portion sizes and calories.
Finally, burn some extra calories by being active on Valentine’s Day. Regardless of your relationship status, physical activity releases mood-boosting endorphins, which will lighten your spirits. Whether enjoying a group fitness class or a workout on your own, adding physical activity to your Valentine’s Day is the way to go. In one hour a person can burn approximately:
• 200 calories walking, ballroom dancing or bowling
• 500 calories playing racquetball
• 600 calories playing tennis
However, sometimes the desire for conversation hearts and chocolates can be hard to resist.
“If you really want to enjoy Valentine’s Day candy have smaller portions,” said Harder.
“The following only have 100 calories. They will satisfy a sweet tooth without killing a diet.”
• 5 Hershey’s Kisses
• 30 plain M&Ms
• 3 Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts
“If you overindulge just get back on track as soon as you can. A minor dietary mishap is only a bump in the road and should not derail your efforts,” said Harder.
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About Loyola University Chicago
Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago, founded in 1870, is the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic university. Enrollment is nearly 16,000 students, which includes more than 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China and now features an academic center in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Loyola’s 10 schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, communication, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, continuing and professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 71 undergraduate majors, 71 undergraduate minors, 85 master’s degrees, and 31 doctoral degrees. Loyola is consistently ranked among the “top national universities” by U.S.News & World Report, and the University is among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations, such as the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information about Loyola, please visit LUC.edu. You can also follow the University on Twitter (@LoyolaChicago) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/LoyolaChicago).