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5 Fit Holiday Habits to Try This Season

Recently fitness pro Sara Dean shared her tips on getting rid of belly fat after having a baby. Today, Sara is channeling the holiday spirit, telling us how to swap “fat” holiday habits with fit ones! —Erin


I love this time of year, and I know I’m not alone. There is so much going on. Tons of excitement (okay, yes, sometimes also known as stress) is in the air. It is also a time when we get out of our normal routines. I truly enjoy that part of the holidays—less work and more play and spending time with people celebrating. However, it is not all chocolate and wine, I hope.

With endless events, traditions and celebrations, we are around food, candy, alcohol and sugar-bomb “coffees” (masked as peppermint mochas) galore. Being out of our normal routine and in a holly jolly mood makes it really easy to indulge a bit here and a bit more there, which can go on for weeks. In fact, you may notice that this started for you back at Halloween and likely won’t end until January.

Perhaps that is why Americans gain 3 to 10 pounds over the holidays. Yup, we gain, on average, 6.5 pounds between Halloween and New Years. This is why people like me, a fitness professional, see a gazillion new clients every January. Everyone is in serious guilt/recovery/food rehab mode. It’s not pretty. In fact, it is anything but holly jolly.

I’m not going to lie. I totally get it. It’s not like I’m sitting home with my carrot sticks and ice water, happily nibbling away over the holidays. I’m out there too—eating, drinking and getting my own holly jolly on. My holly jolly consists mainly of the world’s two best inventions, wine and chocolate. But I am very strategic. It does not involve any weight gain. I spit on that 6.5 pound average and smash it into the ground. Many of my clients spit on it with me.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I had three clients report to me, “Oh my gosh, I LOST weight last week!!!” They didn’t think it was possible. In fact, they went into Thanksgiving week terrified. They’d recently completed one of my weight-loss programs with amazing results and were scared to death of relapsing over the holidays. The way I see it, fear is a great thing when it comes to weight loss—it will stop you from giving into almost anything.

Sadly, most of us aren’t scared of 6.5 pounds. So, we eat and drink more than we should every single day for 6 to 8 weeks over the holidays. Oh, and then we stop exercising altogether, because life is hectic and it’s easier just to start over next year. What?! Yup, this is what I see over and over, year after year.

Ever wonder how Santa got so fat? I’m betting it’s because he spent six weeks sitting in a chair, 10 hours a day, eating candy canes while small children came to sit with him for photos.

Don’t be Santa.

Your holidays can be fit or fat. How you kick off January and an entire new year will be dictated by how much you honor your body in the next few weeks. Here’s how you can have a fit holiday season, perhaps even lose weight, and still be jolly—like me. Remember, I said I’d be having chocolate and wine with you? But I’m not going to gain an ounce.

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