With Thanksgiving behind us and a slew of holiday parties ahead, you may already be cringing at the sight of a scale. It's tempting to ignore your health and fitness for a few weeks and leave it to the New Year's resolutions—but overeating and lack of exercise during the holiday season can leave you with several extra pounds to lose if you aren't at least somewhat conscious. Not to worry. It's totally possible to enjoy yourself without completely throwing caution to the wind with a few simple strategies to keep you on track.
1. Eat before the party.
Eat a healthy meal before going to a holiday party so the party food is your dessert, not your dinner.
2. Steer clear of the food table.
At cocktail parties we tend to congregate around the food. Instead of snacking from the food table, fill a plate with the healthiest choices and take it across the room to eat it.
3. Fill up on healthy foods first.
Be sure to serve yourself the healthy offerings at a cocktail or dinner party first, so you'll fill up and eat less of the higher-calorie goodies.
4. Manage your portion sizes.
You can indulge in holiday treats without affecting your overall diet so much if you keep portions in check. Cut sweets in half to share with a friend or your child.
5. Keep up the exercise.
Even if you don't have time for the five-mile walk you normally do, try at least working in 7-10 minutes of exercise a couple of times a day. For example: Walk the stairs five times in a row and do a set of 10 jumping jacks followed by 10 "girls" push ups, three times in a row, for a quick and effective full-body workout that keeps your metabolism going.
By being conscious, you can share in the holiday cheer with no regrets without depriving yourself!
Micky Marie Morrison is a licensed physical therapist, perinatal fitness educator, author of "Baby Weight: The Complete Guide to Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness," and creator of www.BabyWeight.TV, a website featuring prenatal and postpartum fitness videos.
Updated November 2016