Six Tips for Savoring Holiday Flavors While Staying Fit This Holiday Season

By Tia Norris, December 2016 Issue.

For the overwhelming majority of the year, I am very strict on clients’ diet plans, with very few exceptions. But let’s be real, the holiday season is upon us, and wining and dining is always at the center of it all.

So, how can you be a fitness superstar while still enjoying every celebration from Thanksgiving to New Years Day brunch? Here are my no-so-secret trainer tips to for successfully savoring the holiday season.

1. Know The Numbers, Release The Fear

Remember that it takes 3,500 extra calories to gain one pound of fat. That’s a lot of calories to gain just one pound. It’s tough to hit that number, multiple times, in one sitting. Most weight gain experienced around Thanksgiving is actually caused by stress, water retention or longstanding metabolic issues – not by a caloric surplus. So just relax.

2. Don’t Skip Meals

If you’re headed to Aunt Gertrude’s house for a dinner that actually looks more like an all-you can-eat buffet, it might be best to skip lunch and save all those calories for later, right? WRONG! Skipping lunch will most likely leave you showing up to Auntie G’s feeling starved – and will likely result in overeating. Instead, eat a small lunch so that you can maintain impulse control over the temptations that you would have over-indulged in had you showed up famished.

3. Work Out On Thanksgiving Day

Before you feast, activate the beast – mode, that is!. Schedule in a workout on Thanksgiving morning and make it count. Set your metabolism up to succeed for the big feast. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy things with less guilt and your body will burn through more of the junk faster. Either hit the gym, do a local 5k race (there are always a number of these going on) or look for a holiday boot camp with your favorite local trainer.

4. Don’t Be A Lush

When it comes to fitness, here’s the only thing you need to know: alcohol generally does nothing good. It has very little, if any, benefit to most fitness goals (there are a few exceptions but these do not apply to the general population). Look, you all get it. Alcohol is bad for the body, bad for fitness, bad for judgment, bad for sleep, bad for lots of things. It’s common sense. If you need a few drinks to have fun and forget about family drama, fine. Moderate yourself. Don’t get completely wasted and derail yourself from your progress or goals. The keys here are to first, realize that alcohol is almost always detrimental to your fitness program and, second, if you must drink it, keep it in moderation and be an adult.

5. Get Outside (If Weather Permits)

Hanging around the house watching football, playing card games, eating and drinking is a great way to spend time with your family and friends throughout the holiday season, but try to encourage those around you to get out and about for a change. We do live in the desert after all, and the weather is perfect this time of year! Get out and have a picnic at a park, walk the dog, play Frisbee or whatever your prefer. Being outside will make you want to get off your butt and move at least a little bit, which is 100 percent better than nothing, especially this time of year. An added bonus: Getting Vitamin D will stimulate the release of serotonin to help keep you feeling good and happy through this festive, but frantic time of year.

6. Enjoy Yourself

I believe that we should all be striving for perfection. I also understand that all things in life require balance, especially our lifestyle choices. Ultimately, we want to live a healthy lifestyle that is enjoyable and sustainable over the long term without letting our select few unhealthy choices tip the scales out of our favor.  Learn to pick your battles, and your concessions … life is about balance!

Generally, the worst thing you can do going this holiday season is to not have a plan. So, plan to work out the morning of, plan to eat the morning of, plan to walk or do an activity after dinner, plan your indulgences … just plan, plan, plan! I always say that I plan everything, including my spontaneity. I’m here to help you plan your holiday season too, just ask!

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