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3 Tips for a Fit Holiday Season

Getting the right amount of rest, food and exercise will make for a better new year, too

Making it through the holidays is a lot like riding a roller coaster. The joys delightful reunions and other gatherings can be offset by money worries or sadness about departed or estranged family members. But whatever your situation, be gentle with yourself as you take your seat on the holiday ride. And spare yourself regrets, when you step on the scale on New Year’s Day, by following these three FIT tips:

F: Find time to reflect, and make time to rest. None of your regular tasks are likely to disappear, so you need to be mindful before adding commitments. Cooking for company, decorating your home, extra housework, shopping for gifts, going to parties and organizing your own family gatherings are add-ons to the already harried lives most of us lead.

With extra chores eating up all your discretionary time, the meaning of the holidays can easily be lost unless you proactively carve out time to reflect and rest.

I: Innovate by introducing new and healthier dishes to holiday meals, and modifying family favorites to remove extra calories. For example, prepare a light soup as the first course of a holiday meal. Forget the marshmallow topping on sweet potatoes; instead, add orange juice to the sweet potatoes and top with a light mixture of brown sugar and panko crumbs. Replace pumpkin pie with pumpkin custard (nearly the same filling but without the crust). And remember to savor your relationships as much as you savor the food.

Santa Claus standing on scale

Introduce new and healthier dishes into your holiday meals. — Photo by Getty Images

Since the calories in alcohol at parties can quickly add up, make your first drink a glass of water. Then if you decide to imbibe, drink at least one glass of water after each alcoholic beverage.

T: Team up with family and friends to organize turn-off-the-television-and-get-off-the-sofa activities. Many communities schedule 5K and 10K walks and runs on holidays, and proceeds typically go to a worthwhile cause. Volunteer to deliver meals to those who are homebound, or lead a walk in your neighborhood.

Before long, it will almost be time to step off the holiday roller coaster and go back into your regular routine. If you’ve managed yourself well, on Dec. 31, you can celebrate your ongoing commitment to your health and fitness and step light-heartedly into the New Year.

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