Fitness Journey: Healthy Holidays

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are three holidays that many people love to celebrate. People love the candy, cookies, other assorted treats, and the comfort food associated with these holidays. We realize the holidays are here and all of our good intentioned well laid out eating healthy plans get thrown out. I have heard said so many times, “I am going to start my diet after the holidays…I have got to have (insert whatever unhealthy food here).” I see many people finish their holiday celebrations and realize they have put on some extra pounds, and the shock sets in over how much the scale indicates they have gained. Then people flock to gyms to get a membership and start a new workout plan because in so many words, “they have got to get the pounds back off like yesterday.” As I have said before, there is no quick fix, and sadly, after a few weeks or a couple of months, many of these motivated people lose that new-found inspiration, give up, and quit attending the gym.

This cycle happens every year with many people, so here are some tips to help prevent packing on new holidays pounds:

  1. Throw out the extra candy from Halloween. I know it sounds crazy because everyone has a favorite candy and will get that candy in abundance during Halloween whether it is through people at the office or taking kids out trick-or-treating or buying candy for trick-or-treaters. After Halloween, most people have a candy treasure trove and eat it for multiple days after. I am all for having a cheat day or even two, but multiple consecutive cheat weeks because we are bingeing on Halloween goodness is not good for the waistline. I would recommend throwing the remaining candy out after a couple of days or taking it to work and putting out a candy bowl for coworkers to take some candy home with them.
  2. Plan ahead for your comfort food meals. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, many people have comfort food meals. I even have mine during those holidays. However, I plan what I am going to do leading up to and after those meals. I know that I am going to eat some foods that are great tasting but not the best for me and make a workout and meal plan for before and after those meals. For instance, before the big Thanksgiving meal, I will go for a run, walk, or anything active for 30 minutes to an hour. I make sure that I have a healthy breakfast and lunch on that day because I know I will have a cheat meal for dinner. The next day, I make sure I work out and get back to my normal healthy diet. The same goes for Christmas dinner for me. This is something anyone can apply any time that they know in advance they will have a comfort meal on a certain day.
  3. Figure out ways to stay active. During the holiday season, many people travel and visit family or have family visit them, and weather plays a role in deciding whether or not we are going to be outside during the holiday season. However, it is important to find ways to stay active and get daily exercise. Whether you can do an at-home workout, go to the gym, or be outside, being active is vital to staying fit during the holidays. I am often tempted to lay on the couch, watch television all day, eat my favorite comfort foods, and do nothing at all, but I decide to get up, go out, and do something active. I feel great afterward, and when I get back from my holiday trip, my clothes still fit the same. This is a general rule for being fit year-round, but this rule is even more important during the season when the weather is cooler and lying around seems like a much more comfortable alternative. We cannot outwork a bad diet, but that does not mean that we can avoid putting in the work.

I hope this article gives you some things to think about during the holiday season that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Wishing you a great, safe, and fit holiday season.


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