Holiday Fitness: staying fit and healthy during the holiday season

These healthy holiday tips are about finding creative ways to stay fit during the holiday season, a particularly challenging time of the year.

It might not be the best time to be setting goals, but the holiday time is often the time when we reflect on the previous year and make resolutions to change for the better. While setting some goals for the coming year, you should also be considering goals for the holiday season. It is such a busy time, we suggest setting realistic goals about maintaining your fitness level and weight, rather than trying to improve upon them during this hectic time.

Stress can easily lead to overeating and cause you to skip workouts. Keep your stress level low by declining activities and events that make your blood pressure go up. If you’re hosting an event, take short-cuts like using healthy prepared foods and serving with paper plates and plastic utensils. It is a time to enjoy yourself too. Remember to always make time for yourself. Take a brisk walk alone or retreat to a secluded corner of the house with a good book and cup of tea.

The holiday season is synonymous with overeating, but it does not have to be that way. You can modify dishes to make them healthier. Look for ways to make high-calorie dishes healthier by improvising and modifying the recipe. Replace traditional recipes with lighter versions and fare. If you simply must bake goodies, keep a small quantity for your family, but package the rest up and give them to neighbors or the postman. If you receive food gifts, don't open them. Consider taking them into the office and sharing them with your co-workers.

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If you’re attending a family dinner, bring a healthy, low-calorie dish. At least you’ll know that there will be at least one item there that you can eat without guilt! If you’re hosting a dinner, simply cut down the number of foods and thre quantity that you serve. Another idea is to eat a healthy and balanced low-calorie meal before departing for parties. You'll be less likely to binge on high-fat, sugar-laden foods if you have a full stomach. Stay away from the food table at parties serving hors d'oeuvres! However, remember not to deprive yourself of all the goodies - complete self-deprivation often leads to binging.

Staying with family over the holidays makes it especially challenging to find time (and equipment) for exercise and eating healthy. Plan ahead and be creative. Plan on early morning exercise, before everyone expects to see you at the breakfast table. Plot out a walking or running route nearby. If you have to travel away from home, bring exercise bands for an “in-room” workout program. There are a lot of things you can do with your family too.

It's possible for the holiday season to be full of great food and time with family, and also a time to maintain your health and fitness levels. With a bit of planning, it is possible to achieve both, and have a doubly great time.

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