Thanksgiving turkey, eggnog, late night parties, and cross-country airplane flights can make it hard to stay fit in the holiday season. But, you have worked hard this year and you don’t want to blow it during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day. And yet, with shopping, decorating, baking cookies, and wrapping gifts, your fitness regimen can fall by the wayside because of an insane schedule and too many indulgences.
But it is possible to stay fit, trim, and healthy even during the gingerbread-hot cocoa-pumpkin pie time of year. Use these tips to manage the temptations and stay healthy this holiday season.

1. Stay moving.
Yeah, the Christmas movie marathons will soon be playing on all the channels with your very favorite, once-a-year movies going for hours. Stay strong in your commitment to workout, so later in the day you can enjoy those movies and dinners with family. Think of ways to minimize the time that you spend sitting during the holidays, like taking the stairs, parking a long way from the mall, and volunteering to do the dishes after the big family meal.

2. Find healthy indulgences.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a single slice of Aunt Christine’s once-a-year pecan pie, but do your best to indulge in things that won’t affect your workout and expand your waistline. Buy a new exercise outfit, a cute pair of running shoes, or a new workout video to help you stay motivated at a time when it’s all too easy to make excuses. Also, remind yourself that you can have a great time visiting with friends and family at parties without ever putting anything in your mouth. Just focus on the good vibes that you get from those that you love rather than the unhealthy snacks you’re avoiding.

3. Plan for stress.
The holidays are supposed to be fun, but with too many commitments, long lines in stores, and Uncle Edgar’s obnoxious political commentary, stress can sabotage your fitness plan. Rather than downing another glass of wine to deal with it, use stress as a springboard for fitness. There’s nothing like a heart-pounding workout to reduce your stress levels. Have a plan in place for healthy ways of handling the pressure of the holidays.
4. Harness the power of friendship.
When it’s cold and dark, rolling out of bad early to work out is the last thing that you want to do, especially after a late night holiday party. Having an accountability partner who will be waiting for you at the gym can help you stay motivated and keep you from skipping workouts.

5. Drink up!
Did you know that sometimes people will think they’re hungry when they’re really in need of water? The next time you get a craving for something unhealthy, try drinking a glass of water. Staying hydrated can also help strengthen your willpower to eat right and exercise, since dehydration can contribute to brain fog.

6. Sleep for fitness.
Stop already with the “I only need five hours of sleep” mantra. The human body needs rest to operate efficiently, and you’re not going to be in peak form by skipping sleep. A good night’s rest balances hunger hormones and will give you the energy that you need to tackle difficult workouts and keep your stamina up. Don’t skimp on sleep if you want to stay fit.
Enjoy the holidays and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t follow your eating and exercise plan 100 percent of the time. After all, a few indulgences won’t totally derail your commitment to health, especially if you stay true the rest of the year.


Written by: Tony Thomas