Eat, drink and be merry during the holidays, and still manage to stay fit

By: Health Local Staff Dec 10, 2012
holiday weight control

Rather than restrict yourself, you can actually have your “cake and eat it, too.”

With the holiday's, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve fast approaching, and the endless supply of goodies on your coworkers’ desks, larger than normal feasts and parties to attend, it is no wonder most Canadians gain between 6 and 8 pounds during the holidays. Given that this time of year only comes around once a year (thankfully!), rather than restrict yourself, believe it or not, you can actually have your literal and proverbial “cake and eat it, too.”

With a combination of forethought, creativity and a willingness to break a few rules, you can eat, drink and be merry and you will still fit into your favourite jeans come January.

Here are just a few tips to consider:
• Sweat while you watch TV
• Some is better than nothing at all
• Make family chores fun
• Strength in numbers

Between the end of quarter/end of year wrap up at work, the holiday parties, shopping for presents and if you have kids, their holiday activities at school, it’s no wonder that working out seems to fall to the bottom of the list. This is the worst time of year to let your workout routine falter.

It is far better to get some workout in rather than blow off the entire session because you have to stick to a schedule. Whether you use the gym to work out with weights, attend classes or have a Stairmaster at home, some workout is better than nothing at all. It is better to make half the spin class or lift weights for 45 minutes instead of blow off the full 90-minute class or workout session. Something is always better than nothing and there’s never a need for all or nothing. It only sets you up for feeling guilty when you eat that truffle.

If you can pull yourself out of bed half an hour early and jump on the Stairmaster, why not sweat as you watch TV? Whether it’s the morning news or catching up on the previous night’s recording of your favourite reality show, as the expression goes, “just do it!”

So go ahead, yell at Simon Cowell for his insensitive critique of your favourite singer, imagine yourself as a California firefighter saving people, one burning building at a time or that you are on the wildest date of your life competing against other newly formed couples. Before you know it, you’ve let an hour go by and you’ve burned nearly 300 calories!

While you are busy thinking about all the calories you burned watching TV and climbing stairs, consider the snow that is piling up outside that needs shoveling. Rather than think of it as a chore that all of us have to endure, make it an opportunity for a family outing. It is much easier than you think to make family chores fun.

Since you have to shovel the snow anyway, bring the music (if you have kids, their favourite might be suggested), a few shovels and a couple of funny hats, a video camera and start shoveling. 30 minutes of shoveling snow can burn up to 280 calories and if you make a fun outing out of it, it’s hardly the drudgery it usually is. This concept works well with vacuuming, mopping, dusting and cleaning the bathrooms.

When you get to work, call a 5-minute meeting with your coworkers and explain the situation. You are not the only one who’s concerned about weight gain during the holidays. They’ll be relieved someone brought it up, as they too need strength in numbers to combat this issue. Suggest that on the days when there aren’t department pot lucks that you all take a 1-mile walk, followed by light lunches. And on the days you do have potlucks, make sure some of you bring healthy dishes.

With just a little thinking outside the box, a lot of creativity and forethought, you don’t have to gain the obligatory 6-8 pounds this holiday season. Maybe you have your own ideas that have worked well. There’s no wrong way to be mindful of your health. Happy Holidays and have a safe new year!

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at