The holiday season can present a big challenge if you’re trying to stay in shape. The weather is cold, you’re distracted by family and friends and, above all else, the food and drink is plentiful. Stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving has become an American pastime, while Christmas and New Year’s bring another two rounds of chocolate, baked goods and bubbly.
If you do it right, however, you can enjoy the holiday feasting and still stay fit. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Set aside time at the gym in advance
Just because your family is in town doesn’t mean you can’t sneak out to the gym once a day. The key is to plan in advance. That might mean setting your alarm a little earlier than usual so you can get your workout in first thing and devote the rest of the day to family and friends. Why not start Thanksgiving with an early morning run? What else will better-prepare you for a feast?
Take advantage of the outdoors
Depending on the weather, holidays can be a great opportunity for outdoor recreation. A family game of touch football on Thanksgiving, a walk through the woods on Christmas morning or, if you’re really feeling the holiday spirit, maybe you can take part in a New Year’s Day Polar Plunge!
Drink plenty of water
Drinking water can have a big impact on your appetite. If you’re staying hydrated, you’ll have a better sense of how much food you really need. If you drink a couple glasses before sitting down to Christmas dinner, for instance, you might realize as you’re reaching for the turkey that one drumstick will be enough.
There’s nothing wrong with leftovers
You’ve got half a turkey left. That’s okay. You don’t have to finish it all –– at least not today. In fact, you’ve got a week’s worth of turkey sandwiches for lunch, or a great starter for soup. Same goes for the desserts. Nobody actually has to take the last piece of apple pie –– put it in the fridge for later.
You can turn things down
Turning down a piece of cake or a glass of wine doesn’t make you a party pooper. You should indulge in whatever allows you to have a good time but by no means should you feel obligated to go all-in on gluttony.
Go to sleep!
When you’re having a good time with people you love, particularly those you don’t see regularly, sometimes it’s hard to call it a night. But do whatever you can to get enough sleep. You should come back from the holidays feeling fulfilled and rested, not worn out.