Staying in Shape During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is great for spending quality time with family and friends, eating delicious food, and going on fun vacations. However, in terms of physical fitness, the holiday season can present a challenge. Between great food and limited time to exercise, fitness routines are pushed to the sideline in favor of extra helpings of potatoes and all-day movie marathon couch-fests. But you don’t have to say goodbye to fun to stay in great shape this holiday season. Here are 6 ways to keep fit over the holidays while still partaking in the festivities:

  1. Use a smaller plate during holiday meals. This simple psychological trick can help you eat less by requiring you to continue filling up your plate in order to keep eating. The extra effort, and the time it takes to reach for that second (or third) helping will give your brain time to catch up to your stomach and help you feel full sooner.
  2. Eat plenty of fiber. Foods high in fiber can also help you feel fuller sooner, lowering the likelihood that you’ll be reaching for that second portion. Focus on the vegetable platters and salads to start, and you may find you’re full well before the final course is served.
  3. Be careful with leftovers. If you host a party of your own, or if you attend a party from which the host sends you home with leftovers, you’ll have repeated opportunities to overload on holiday meals in your own home. When possible, avoid leftovers so you can get back to your regular eating routine as soon as possible after the holiday party.
  4. Keep alcohol intake under control. Each serving of alcohol contains at least 100 calories, and most sugary cocktails are actually closer to 200 calories each. If you do decide to drink, choose alcoholic beverages on the lower side of the calorie spectrum, such as classic martinis and vodka-soda-limes, wine, and light beers.
  5. Stay fit with a friend. Finding a friend with whom you can work towards a common goal can help you keep focused when holiday temptation strikes, especially if that friend will be attending many of the same holiday parties as you.
  6. Make time for the gym, or workout at home. Hectic holiday schedules will test your dedication to a fitness routine. It will take extra effort to stick to your normal workout schedule, so you may want to find a way to work out from home or while on the go.

Bonus:

  1. Indulge! That’s right, the point of the holidays is to enjoy life with family and friends, and you won’t be able to do that if you’re constantly worried about your weight. The key is to indulge, but not excessively, and to get back to your normal diet and exercise after each holiday party, to work off the extra indulgences.