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Let’s Get Healthy, Santa!

We have all grown up with a jolly Santa Claus who comes magically at night into our houses to leave gifts for young and old. We leave him biscuits and milk and his reindeer lap up water from a bucket. As an Exercise Physiologist, it’s my job to review research to develop my clients via the most up to date nutrition and exercise plans for them to achieve their goals.

So guess what Santa… I’m coming for you!

Nutrition: Let’s do some figures for Mr. Claus:

2 Chocolate Chip Cookies:  Calories 98; Fat 4.94g; Carbs 12.82g; Protein 1.1g
There are 49 calories in 1 medium chocolate chip cookie 44% fat, 51% carbs, 4% protein.

1 glass of milk: Calories 122; Fat 4.8g; Carbs11.49g; 8.03g
There are 122 calories in a glass of milk 36% fat, 38% carbs, 26% protein.

Total 220 calories Fat 9.74g Carbs 24.31g Protein 9.04g

It would take Santa 32 minutes of walking at 6.4km/h for him to burn these off.

So Santa, your nutrition over the Christmas period is the main causal factor in your weight gain. If we multiply this by the amount of children in the world, we are looking at some serious binge eating. So we need to implement some goals over this period, being:

  • Swapping your biscuits for a healthier snack option e.g. veggie sticks, hummus, trail mix.
  • Drinking water (30kg weight = 1L water).
  • Eating out can be a challenge, so look for the healthier swaps.
  • Snacks high in protein and fibre are filling and contain low calories.
  • Remember, everything in moderation, so know your portion sizes.

Medical History:

If history serves us, St Nicholas or Santa Claus is over 2000 years old, so let’s look at some health issues that he may be facing as a 2000 year old elderly male, who is sedentary and obese: Joint degeneration, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Fatty Liver, High risk CVD, Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Disease. We need to approach this as a long term (more than 12 months) exercise and nutrition program to develop long term behavioral changes.

Exercise:

Losing weight at any age is difficult and the results vary from person to person. So what we need to do initially, is address any muscular imbalances that can potentially be aggravated through increasing movement. Below are the recommendations for Santa to achieve his goals:

Cardiovascular: 30 mins moderate intensity on 4-6 days per week (HR monitor).

Strength: Functional Strength program 3x 1hr sessions p/w at his Optimum Clinic.

Stretching: Daily stretching goals: Posterior chain due to excess sitting.

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