As soon as Halloween hits the calendar, it seems Americans veer off the path of fitness and into this infamous holiday funk. Thanksgiving claims us as its first victim with luscious pies, salty ham, and countless calories. Next is Christmas with the various cookie flavors, loads of chocolate among other tasty treats and New Years comes with several glasses of wine, liquor and other not so healthy choices. After January 1, all of a sudden the gyms are packed with hopefuls trying to compensate and erase months and months full of bad habits. Why do we constantly fall into this vicious yearly cycle? Instead of waiting until the New Year to “fix” our temporary patterns, let’s think long term and change our lifestyle. Here are a few tips to stay fit and on the right path this holiday season:
- No starving: Don’t skip breakfast or fast all day on Thanksgiving or Christmas! Eat normally all day to prevent overindulging.
- Portion Control: Don’t load your plate with food! Be moderate in your choices and perhaps chose a smaller plate. Avoid going back for seconds or thirds
- Healthy Choices First: Eat all of the vegetables and protein first to feel full before getting to the “not so healthy treats.”
- HIIT: High intensity training is a good exercise option that takes less time and burns more calories than continuous longer duration exercise
- Run a race: Participate in a Turkey Trot the morning of Thanksgiving to start the day on the right track!
- Pack snacks: With the Holidays comes tons of high calorie baked goods at the mall. When you are out shopping, bring healthy snacks such as almonds, fruit or vegetables in your purse or pocket to avoid these unhealthy options. If you fail to plan, plan to fail!
- Stay hydrated: Try to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to feel full as well as flush any toxins out of your body.
- Sip Moderately: Keep alcohol intake to a minimum and avoid it if at all possible. These provide empty calories and are associated with many harmful effects such as “Holiday Heart,” liver issues, and car accidents.
- Substitute Food Choices: If you are hosting a party, provide healthier alternatives to classic dishes. For example, instead of five different pies, provide a fruit salad. Bake with applesauce and egg white instead of butter and oil.
- Be flexible and realistic: Many of us will be traveling during the holidays or the weather might not permit access to a gym. Improvise with your workouts and eating habits. Perform exercises using your own bodyweight or utilize your surroundings. For example, do a circuit at home with functional training such as pushups, body weight squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and crunches. Don’t make excuses!
In order to avoid weight gain, elevated blood pressure, hyperlipidemia among other negative medical implications, we must tackle unhealthy habits during the holiday season! Yes, we should celebrate these special occasions with friends and family, however this should not entail going overboard and having a feast for three months straight. Temporary gratifications are not worth the detrimental consequences that are inevitable with these harmful choices.
1. Having a plan is key!
2. All things in moderation.
3. Think long-term! 🙂
Article by Sofia Rodriguez. You can find her at: