8 Simple Secrets to Stay Fit During the Holidays

Holiday talk already?! Yes, we do need to be talking about the dreaded holidays! But first, why do we refer to holidays as “dreaded”? For most people, the holidays are dreaded because people have to shop, or they have to hang out with their in-laws, haha, but most often people dread the holidays because there is a big chance they might gain a few extra pounds! Ponder on this with us for a minute- if you make it through the holidays without picking up those extra pounds, would the holidays still be dreaded? So if the answer is no, because you would love to enjoy the holidays, let’s train our minds to think differently this year and be proactive! That means, let’s PLAN! You deserve to love every aspect of the holidays!

Why are we susceptible to weight gain during this time? Well, from now until New Year’s Day, your schedule will likely be filled with family and work obligations, traveling, and festive outings with all sorts of tempting treats at every stop along the way. No wonder it’s common to see our waistlines expand during the holiday season. Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to stick to their health and fitness routines.

But this year can be different. We’d like to give you 8 Simply Sculpt tips to staying fit throughout the holidays, but first, here are the top 3 tips from our providers!

1. Keep moving.

In addition to staying active, try to avoid sitting for too long. Get up on your feet as much as possible. Stand when watching a game or play with your kids more often. Stand when you’re working. Too much sitting is hazardous to your health. Research tells us that getting up for just five minutes every 30 to 60 minutes and performing light activity reduces the risk of diabetes and other heart disease risk factors.

2. Be the man or woman with a plan. And hydrate.

Stay hydrated and keep moving! This will help you tremendously. Start each day with a game plan, just like you would tackling a project, or if you’re an athlete- you’re going to plan your moves and visualize your strategy. Do this with your food intake! Track your food and exercise routines. Doing so makes you aware of the number of calories you’re taking in. More calories in than normal, with less exercise than normal, is a recipe for disaster if done over an extended number of days. If you decide to eat higher-calorie options, you should choose to eat smaller portions and make other adjustments to stay within your daily caloric goals.

Leeann Wagenbrenner, Owner & Founder of Simply Sculpt Ohio

3. Make lists, exercise early and sleep.

“The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year, but I recognize that it has the potential to be hard on my health. To alleviate the potential negative impacts of the season, I recommend making sure workouts are in the morning so you don’t get distracted later in the day by parties, events or another holiday hoopla. I also recommend getting plenty of rest and maintaining lists to stay organized and stress-free.”

Chris Freytag, American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, health coach and group fitness instructor

4. Drink to fill up the tank!

Always drink as much water as possible as often as you can when you’re at an event to fill up before dinnertime! Also, if you have to snack, snack on an apple or something light but filling before attending. Apples have lots of fiber in them so that you fill up faster. “I never allow myself a second plate at home or out at an event. I also use the small plate if available vs. the larger plate so there’s less room on my plate.”

– Dr. Beth Brant,  APRN, CNP, LSN, NCSN, LNC, TNCC

5. Be creative and get rid of ‘all or nothing’ mindsets.

The holidays are hectic but do your best to avoid the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to healthy eating and physical activity. In reality, there is more than just one way to live healthfully and be active.

During the holidays, get a bit creative with exercise and opt for fun ways that make physical activity a family affair. From exploring new group fitness classes to building physical activity into holiday traditions– like taking a family walk around the neighborhood before opening Christmas presents – think outside the box when it comes to ways to have quality time with family and friends while also prioritizing your health.”

Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College and American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, health coach and group fitness instructor

6. Plan – and remember there is always time and opportunity for a workout.

Plan your workouts for the week and note them in your schedule to assure they are a part of your day. Also, remember that some exercise is better than none. Rather than skipping the gym altogether, make time for a quick workout. If your schedule keeps you from the gym, try to find at least 15 minutes to do body-weight exercises or kettlebell swings in the evening. It may not be your normal workout, but at least you will sweat a little and that’s better than nothing!

7. Indulge for a night, not a season.

“In order to avoid the holiday weight gain, circle the days/events on the calendar. Those are the days you’re allowed to cheat. But…in order to cheat you have to “earn it”. To earn it, you have to “be good” up to that event. You also have to be good the next day- so easy on the leftovers!

It’s easy to overindulge when there are tons of leftovers all around. When the party is over, it is time to dump the junk!”

Jessica Tarnawa,  MSN, FNP-C: Simply Sculpt Provider

8. Remember it’s a single day.

Enjoy the holiday. If you worry about eating too much on any one day, the reality is that one day won’t make or break your health plan. Unfortunately, most people start a pattern of daily ‘treats’ in some form or another or skip exercise due to visiting relatives. That routine then somehow continues from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Enjoy the holidays, but don’t let it go from a day of indulgence to a month of indulgence that leads to unwanted habits that continue beyond the holiday season.