Fitting in Fitness for the Holidays

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy for your fitness routine to fall off track. Though exercise may seem less of a priority, squeezing it in can actually help you feel more energized and better cope with the stress of the season.

The holiday season is undoubtedly a time for rejoicing. Unfortunately, the average adult often does a little too much celebrating, which inevitably leads to extra baggage when the New Year rings in. Indulging in extra helpings, snacking on seasonal treats, increased alcohol consumption, and little to no workout time all contribute to an increase of dieters in January. This year, enjoy your holidays without the weight gain and save your resolutions for something else!

Here are few suggestions to prevent weight gain while still enjoying the holiday season:

1. Incorporate activity into holiday celebrations. Park and walk to view neighborhood lighting displays instead of riding in the car. Start a tradition of ice skating, sledding, or skiing as part of the planned holiday tradition.
2. Give yourself the gift of planned physical activity. Make it a priority by scheduling daily activity into your routine. Physical activity is an effective method for preventing weight gain during the holidays by burning calories, suppressing appetite, and helping deal with stress.
3. Never skip meals before or after a big celebration. This practice creates a feast-famine cycle. To prevent overeating at holiday celebrations, drink a large glass of water beforehand, try to avoid socializing near the food, place food on a plate rather that eating straight from the buffet, and don’t eat while standing.
4. Spend less time in the kitchen. Do you really need to make dozens of different cookies, candies and breads? If so, consider modifying recipes for baked products by reducing the fat and sugar.
5. Rethink the food gifts you give. Consider replacing your usual box of homemade candies for your neighbors with an assortment of fresh or dried fruits and nuts or a freshly-baked loaf of whole grain bread.
6. Go to the back of the line. Let others go before you in serving and buffet lines; tempting items may be gone by the time you go through. Practice being a slow eater. Give your brain 20 minutes to tell your stomach that you are satisfied before going back for seconds.
7. Get adequate sleep. Sleep loss may affect various components of metabolism that influence hunger and weight gain. Being tired also affects your mental ability to resist temptations.
8. Plan Ahead. Schedule time for yourself and physical activity on a daily basis. Prioritize holiday celebrations to attend, schedule weekly family activities, be adventurous and try some new healthy food recipes.

Moderation is the key to achieving a fun but also healthy holiday season. With a moderate approach both to what you eat and how much you exercise, you can avoid packing on the weight and still partake in all the fun activities this time of year. So, this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting with extra pounds to lose in January.

“Celebration is the Movement of Life.”

Carol A. White

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