Stay healthy through the holidays and beyond<

Donta Tanner, a retired Navy lieutenant, shows off the form that won him an IFBB pro card.

Donta Tanner

Special to Ho‘okele

Going through the holiday season is a great time to indulge in family, friends and food. It’s also a time that we have a desire to start the new year to become the best versions of ourselves.

To get through the holidays, don’t set goals to lose weight or achieve lofty fitness dreams that distracts from holiday indulgences. Instead strive to maintain current weight and fitness levels by moderation and not neglecting your fitness routines.

By all means, enjoy your favorite holiday foods, but stop eating when you are satisfied. Centenarians in Okinawa offer a great example of this by uttering a useful Confucian teaching (hara hachi bu) before meals that reminds them to stop eating when they are 80 percent full.

Also, slow down and enjoy your family and friends while eating; take time to talk and laugh between bites. There is a delay in the signals from our stomach that lets our brain know we’re full, so this added time will serve us well and stave off added calories.

Do your workout before everyone wakes up or after they fall asleep, or better yet, invite them on a 20to 30-minute walk before or after a meal. Don’t miss valuable time with family and friends or avoid delicious food to take on new fitness goals. Maintain what you’ve already accomplished by moderation and moving before or after your planned social time.

So, how can we strive to be our best and maximize the “Four Fs,” which is a term I’ve recently coined to refer to my favorite things (family, friends, food and fitness).

The answer is simple and incorporates something called “The Power 9” or nine common denominators of what the longest-lived people in the world do. (See: https://bluezones. com/2016/11/power-9/)

My favorite two lessons of the Power 9 are to move naturally and plant slant. Moving naturally with loved ones helps improve our strength and fitness, while plant slant encompasses adding more plant-based foods to our diets.

Basically, just eat more of the best foods for humans and less of the non-nutritious foods our palates have become accustomed to craving. This is challenging, so we should do everything we can to help make healthy choices easier and eventually the most desirable decision for ourselves and loved ones.

The communities we live in and our overall environment has a lot to do with the choices we make, so let’s take action to shape and build it to accommodate options that will positively nudge us to make choices that lead to healthier and happier lives.

Donta Tanner is a retired naval officer, professional athlete and actor, certified personal trainer and sports conditioning specialist.

A member of Hawaii Blue Zones Project team, he has earned a certificate by the American Council on Exercise (Fitness Nutrition Specialist program), a Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education, Development and Training, a Master of Public Administration and recently completed final courses to graduate with a Master of Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University.

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Category: Sports