Staying Fit During the Holidays

It is that time of year when foods are rich and desserts seem to be available in abundance.  Even those who have a steady fitness routine throughout the year can succumb to the temptation of holiday treats.  It really is hard this time of year with less opportunities to workout outdoors and more sugary treats appearing everywhere we turn.  I've put together a list of tips to help us all stay fit during the holidays.

1. Eat Before You Go

Attending a holiday party where you know that there will be lots of baked goods and sugary treats?  Eat before you go.  If you attend a party on a full stomach, you will be that much more prepared to fight off temptation.  When you are hungry, its a lot harder to make smart food decisions.  When you're full, it is much easier to think with your head instead of your stomach.

2. Don't Drink Your Calories

At many of the parties we will be attending, they will be offering fancy seasonal drinks.  Even Starbucks offers fancy (read: sugary) holiday beverages.  If you want to indulge in some of the more rich foods or delicious desserts, steer clear of these designer drinks.  Stick to your typical lower calorie drinks so you can save those calories for things that will really fill you.

3. Mind Over Matter

Our food decisions often involve full on conversations in our head where we talk ourselves into or out of eating something.  Use that voice in your head to support your healthy eating decisions.  For example, for me growing up, I never really ate candy.  My brother is diabetic, so my family didn't keep a lot of candy in the house.  As I grew up, I never had a problem turning down candy.  I would tell myself and others, "Oh, I really am not a candy eater." The more I said it, the easier it was to turn it down.

You may not have grown up in the same situation, but you can develop that response for whatever you need to cut out of your diet.  In college, I was an avid soda drinker which lasted well into my 20's.  Now, I rarely if ever drink soda.  By telling yourself and others that you are not a soda drinker it makes you more accountable.  You don't want to tell someone who offers you soda that you are not a soda drinker and then 5 minutes later they see you with a cup of Pepsi.  The more times you do it, the easier it gets.  Just pick one thing and just tell yourself and others, you don't eat or drink that.  It may be hard at first, but it will get easier over time.  Just don't try to do everything at once. That's can definitely lead to failure.

4. Indulge once in a while

If you completely deprive yourself of the treats of the season, you will become miserable.  No one will want to hang out with you because you are miserable, making you more miserable.  This is no way to live.  It is important to allow yourself to indulge once in a while.  One little indulgence won't ruin your progress or your health, but it will do wonders for your happiness and state of mind.  Just make sure that its not an everyday thing.

5. Continue to Workout

Whether its a holiday dance party in your living room, a formal workout in the gym, a fitness DVD, or a brisk jog, keep working out during the holidays.  The more active you are, the easier it is to stay active.  Taking too long a break can make it difficult to get back into the habit.  Even if it's not your normal workout, do things to stay active throughout the season.  It will keep you fit, plus it is always good to change up your routine every once in a while to challenge your muscles.  It will help build up your metabolism to burn the calories when you do indulge.

How do you stay fit during the holidays?  Leave your tip in the comments.