Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

It is that time of the year once again; the six-week stretch between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year! This time of the year is full of family, faith, love, and food. The days and even weeks leading up to the holidays are hectic with tight schedules, endless to-do lists, and travel. It’s easy for us to push our health aside when trying to accomplish all that needs to be done. Although not every family celebrates the holidays in the same way, there is one commonality; there will be plenty of food and drinks involved. So, let’s take a deeper look into a few things you can do during these tempting times to keep yourself on track with your healthy lifestyle.  

Maintain, don’t gain.

The six-week holiday stretch doesn’t seem like a long enough time to begin your undoing, but with the added holiday stress, extra consumed calories, and changes in our daily routines, it can affect us more than we realize. By making physical activity a priority in our daily routine, we can counter the negative effects that the holidays have on our bodies and avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.  With schedules being tight, we will often sacrifice our exercise schedules to make up for the lost time, but don’t make that trade-off this year. Pledge to keep moving.   

Avoid overindulging.

Research shows that the average American will over-consume on both Thanksgiving and Christmas day, along with the days that follow. These commonly cited statistics report that each of us will consume more than 4,500 calories on just the holiday itself, and who knows how many plates of leftovers we will take home? It is unrealistic for anyone to expect that you won’t indulge more than usual over the holidays, but remembering to indulge in moderation is crucial. Being mindful of what you consume, including empty-calorie drinks, is one way you can stay on track with your weight management goals this holiday season. 

Limit empty calories.

Alcohol. It is surprising how many people simply do not realize that alcohol is denser in calories than in any other nutrient, such as carbohydrates or protein, containing 7 calories per gram.  To give you a visual, just one shot of the average 80-proof liquor contains roughly 100 calories. So, what does that say about your favorite holiday cocktail? Well, think about this: you have a few cocktails during appetizers and while waiting for dinner, plus a glass of wine/beer with dinner, and then possible extra drinks into the evening, and you’ve got yourself the (empty) calories of a small meal!  

Do not let this holiday season leave you wishing that you would have made smarter decisions, that you would have made time to continue with your exercise routine, or that you wouldn’t have eaten so much that you feel sick. And about those empty calories: it’s okay to have one or two, but I don’t think it will hurt uncle Fred’s feelings if you decide that you’ve had enough. The holidays are a time for you and your family to gather, celebrate the good in life, and enjoy a nice meal together. It’s a time to indulge in love and family, but it’s also a time to challenge yourself to continue down a path of healthy living, even with all the temptations that the six-week holiday stretch can bring.   


Written by Lindsey Garman – Front Door Fitness Personal Trainer