Navigating Holiday Season Indulgences

Egg Nog, not out of a carton.

Egg Nog, not out of a carton.

The holiday season is upon us! Okay, I’m a *little* early to the party, but you know your radio stations will soon be blasting those holiday songs 24/7, and every shopping store will be filled with holiday razzle-dazzle. What does the holiday season have to do with fitness, running, and nutrition? Um, EVERYTHING! Luckily, your coach will help you get through the holiday season without gaining a ton of lb.s, or feeling like a couch-potato.

First off, let’s all get a little real: whether you want to or not, we ALL will be tempted to gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving. Most likely, we will all do the same thing at office parties, holiday parties, family events – between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. That’s a lot of days of pigging out. All the pigging out WILL make you gain weight. So, what can you do other than accept the added lb.s and dig out your fat pants? I have a few tips that will keep you sane, and allow you to enjoy some tasty treats too!

If it hasn’t become clear at this point, I LOVE FOOD. I love to eat, bake and cook. So the holiday season is one of my favorites. In fact, I am usually that person who arrives at parties with home-made baked goodies, chocolate covered pretzels, peppermint and heath bark, pies – I embrace the holiday goodies! Personally, I know I’ll gain a few lb.s, but I also know I am okay with that and am quick to drop them as soon as the holiday season is over. That being said, I pick and choose my indulgences.

For example: for me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are “no rules” days. I eat whatever I want and as much of it as I can stuff in my face. But besides those two days, I pick and choose at holiday events. I *try* to stick to snacks that are high in protein (like shrimp cocktail, cheese, a handful of nuts) or veggies and dip or fresh fruit. I avoid anything cooked, baked, or otherwise calorically dense. This way I can graze at a party, still eat, without leaving every party feeling more and more round.

I also stay active during the holiday season, and love running or hitting the gym when the cool, crisp air hits New York City. Being active means I can indulge without gaining as much weight as if I were just sitting on my butt all day. Get outside a run a Turkey Trot, or Jingle Bell Jog with your family! Or go for brisk walks, or run with friends and families. Trust me, that yummy food will taste even better after some exercise!

Booze cupcakes. YUM.

Booze cupcakes. YUM.

To balance out those parties (let’s face it – sometimes I DO eat tons of the bad stuff at a party!) I load my diet with seasonal, nutritious foods – like baked sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, lentil soup, and other “comfort foods” that are full of good-for-you calories. These things will also help keep your immune system happy when lots of colds go around.

If you are trying to LOSE weight during the holiday season, best of luck! My advice is to stay as active as possible, and to minimize the amount of holiday parties you attend, to reduce temptation. I know, missing social events sucks, but unless you walk in there with self control made of steel, you are not doing yourself any service. Signing up for a race or fitness goal (maybe a bikini body for a January trip to the Caribbean?), can also keep your eye on the prize and your focus on what happens AFTER those yummy, tempting noshes are history.

And remember, a few lb.s aren’t the end of the world – especially if you are already fit. Pick and choose your battles, and you’ll get to 2014 without any extra weight, and some yummy holiday indulgences too.

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