Staying Healthy and Lean During the Holiday Season

As some of you may know from experience, weight gain during the holidays is real. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, too: You linger over the tasty, sugary sweets at holiday parties, and put off exercise so you won’t miss any parties. Some of you may even joke about packing on a few pounds for winter hibernation!

Well, weight gain during the holiday season is not a foregone conclusion. It’s possible to have a fun-filled, festive season without gaining any extra weight.

Here are three tips that have always worked for me during holiday season:

Eat a healthy snack before attending holiday parties

I never go to a holiday event on an empty stomach. Instead, I eat a small healthy snack before I leave my home or office so that when I arrive I am not ravenous and start grabbing at hors d’oeuvres and whatever else that I can get my hands on. This strategy also helps if you plan to chat and mingle with other guests. Focusing too much on food can take you off your networking and party game.

Do more walking (even if it is cold!)

The holiday season is packed with business events, family gatherings, and holiday shopping. All of these activities compete for time you usually spend at the gym or getting other exercise. If you find that you have less time to get your heart rate up, make certain to do as much walking as possible. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs as much as possible, and make certain to stand up and move around during the day. You might want to consider having a set of weights in your office for those times when you can fit in a few bicep curls.

Be mindful of other unhealthy lifestyle choices

Weight gain is not only caused by eating poorly and getting limited exercise. You may find that socializing throughout the holiday season causes you to consume more alcohol and miss precious hours of sleep. Conversely you may succumb to Seasonal Affective Disorder and limit your engagement with others. All of these conditions lead to a destabilized lifestyle in which weight gain is just one harmful consequence. Be aware of how you are “toasting the season” and moderate accordingly.