It’s that time of year again… The smell of turkey, ham, gingerbread cookies, and other holiday favorites baking in the oven are enough to add five pounds all on their own.

The key to maintaining personal health is learning how to indulge in moderation. We asked some of the expert RAC trainers for some suggestions for staying in control over the holidays.

Brandon Brooks: “Don’t clear your plate if [you’re] full during big holiday meals.”

Jenny Powelka: “Work on your triceps — so you can push away from the table! No, really, always know there are going to be leftovers, so pace yourself don’t overeat. Maybe try a small bit of everything, let it sit, and then see if you are good! This time of the year is crazy. Find one focus: if it’s plank holds, building up time over the month of December 30 seconds here, one min there. I even had a plank challenge with my cousins and sister during the Christmas Holiday, but it was just one focus. So every day or every workout, I made sure I did that! This year I am focusing on running — just get something in before or after my regular workout. It was nine minutes today but it was nine more minutes that I would have done. Find something that you enjoy and make it your focus this month and see what you can do!”

Adam Starr: “Keep a workout log to maintain personal accountability and avoid standing next to the food table/area to prevent excess snacking and food intake.”

Marissa White: “Drink lots of water over the holidays, especially since the weather is colder.  Your body can dehydrate just as fast in cold weather as when it’s hot, so make sure to drink at least 64 ounces a day.  Also, drink a glass of water before you eat.  Water is an appetite suppressant, which will help you feel fuller and not eat as much during meals.  Furthermore, adding lemon to your water is a great way to help flush out toxins, help with digestion, and increase Vitamin C intake.  Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning before breakfast is an excellent way to kick start your metabolism for the day and cleanse the body.”

Tracy Ibarra: “Find ways to add additional moderate exercise to your daily routine: for example, take the stairs, park farther from your destination, etc. Don’t binge. Enjoy holiday food and drink in moderation.”

Sandy Aldern: “Buddy up with someone to work out with! Already got that one? How about pre-planning and preparing meals for the week, always including fresh fruits and veggies. If you’re eating out, skip anything with sauces and anything that’s fried.”

Dive into more tips and ideas with this Money Crashers Article.  The biggest takeaway may be having a support system around you. Friends or family can do wonders for keeping you motivated. They are there to encourage you and help you every step of the way.

Holiday parties are inevitable and preparing for them is just as crucial. Jessica Bennett, a dietician at the University of Vanderbilt offered up the following ideas for the big night out:

  • Don’t skip meals before a party or family dinner. The “saving to splurge” strategy usually doesn’t work in the end.
  • Avoid going to a party hungry. Have a snack, such as an apple or a handful of nuts.
  • At a party or buffet, assess all of the food options and first take small servings of the food that you really want. Don’t just load up on whatever is there.
  • Taste foods before adding salt — most foods already have plenty of salt.
  • Choose a smaller plate if you have a choice.
  • Avoid eating standing up. It is a lot harder to keep track of how much you have eaten while on your feet and moving around.
  • Make it a point to eat slowly, even put your fork down between bites.
  • Watch out for high calorie beverages. A good way to do this is have a water or sparkling water between drinks, and also to dilute juice with water.
  • Don’t think you have to eat all the leftovers yourself; share them with family and friends.
  • The day of the party or family meal, make it a priority to do something active.

The holidays can be a manageable time given some thought and intention. These are just a few helpful ideas. If you need more assistance, you can always ask Amanda Shannon or any one of our personal trainers at the club. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

By: Jon Yunt