Holiday Fitness Goals

By Joella Hopkins

Yes, it is possible to stay healthy and fit during Christmas

The holiday season is officially here and, inevitably, most of us gain weight during this time of year. ‘Tis the season to attend lavish holiday parties, eat to our heart’s content, and indulge in alcohol and sugary drinks that are not part of our normal diet during the rest of the year.

It’s all fun and games—until it isn’t

 Suddenly, we start to feel sluggish, uncomfortable and downright guilty. Our pants get tighter and the scale starts to go up—quickly. Why do we do this to ourselves every year? We disrupt our normal routine, make excuses so we can eat anything we want, and justify why we don’t have time to exercise.

Break this unhealthy cycle

There are ways to start getting healthier now instead of waiting until January 1—and, yes, you can still have a wonderful holiday season. There’s nothing worse than being miserable and not being able to just enjoy the moment. And sometimes the moment may be a delightful meal with red wine and a decadent dessert! A plan for success is key—a plan that will have you go into the new year ahead of the game.

Helpful tips when you have
parties and holiday meals to enjoy

 Avoid attending a holiday party when hungry—eat a healthy meal before you go. You’ll be less tempted to eat everything in sight when you get there.

Drink a full glass of water between every alcoholic drink. Limit yourself to two drinks.

Stay away from the sugary holiday drinks like spiked eggnog; fruity, sugary concoctions; etc. Choose light beer, a glass of wine, or a non-sugary mixed drink like vodka/soda water with lime if you do decide to drink alcohol.

Meal prep on Sunday your weekday meals and have them readily available so you don’t make unwise, hasty decisions during the week.

If you are eating a wonderful holiday meal be careful of “overgrazing” with a lot of fattening appetizers before the meal. Those calories can be more than the meal itself.

Buy a cute outfit in advance to wear to the party to motivate you to stay on track. Hang it somewhere you will see it every day as a friendly reminder of how you want to look (trust me, this works for women and men).

Set goals early

 Drink eight glasses of water a day. This is an easy one and can have a positive impact on your weight, skin elasticity and energy level.

Go to bed earlier. One of the most important things you can do is to get enough sleep to maintain a healthy body weight.

Schedule your workouts in your calendar like they are an appointment. Commit to show up—no exceptions.

Use technology to motivate —track your steps, MEPs, etc. to hold yourself accountable daily. Invest in a personal fitness tracker or new workout gear—a great way to give yourself an early holiday gift to start using now.

Do more of the things you normally do. For example, commit to take your dog for a longer walk every day.

Park farther away when shopping at the mall. Wear your sneakers and workout clothes and do a couple of extra laps around the mall.

December is a great time to try something new. It’s a slow time in the gym and perfect time to try a new activity.

Shorten your workout time if necessary, but don’t skip it.

Stay away from the holiday coffee drinks. Those calories can really add up. Use alternate milk options.

  Keep in mind, if it were easy everyone would do it and nobody would gain weight over the holidays. But is it really realistic to commit to getting healthier during the holiday season? Absolutely! It just takes some planning and commitment.

-Joella Hopkins is the vice president of group fitness at EōS Fitness, which has nearly 20 gym locations across the Valley. She has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. See for locations and seasonal promotions. 

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