Tips For Keeping Healthy During The Holidays

Keeping Healthy During The Holidays

Christmas is right around the corner, time for the annual festive feasting and family get together. All great fun and enjoyable until January rolls around and you’re a few pounds heavier than before. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple tips you can do some damage control and avoid any January dieting or gym memberships. (Most people who sign up for a gym in January end up giving up before February rolls around)

Quick Tips

There are several quick tips we can all easily implement that will help you limit the damage while still allowing you to have a good time, and they are based on the following 3 areas:

  1. Food and Drink
  2. Exercise
  3. Fun and Relaxation

In an ideal world, we would be able to eat and drink as much as we like, do no exercise and spend all day sitting around relaxing. Unfortunately that does us no favors, so let’s have a look at some ideas that will make our bodies cope a little better.

Food and Drink

I am not one to limit myself at Christmas and Family get togethers and firmly believe in trying and experiencing all the food and drink on offer. After all someone has gone through the process of preparing and making the food we are lucky enough to be eating.

One basic premise I like to hold is to eat mainly fresh whole foods all the time and make the best choices I can. If this means mainly eating Turkey, Sweet Potato and Smoked Salmon for Christmas Lunch then that’s great. This leaves room for us to taste and enjoy all the cakes and puddings just so long as you don’t over indulge you will be fine. In fact you will probably find that once you have enjoyed all of the main courses based around “Real Food” the desserts will lose their appeal and a few bites or a small portion will do. Base your meals around:

  • Lean Meats
  • Seasonal Veggies (Parsnips, Sweet Potato and all the other goodies)
  • Salads
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Some Dairy (Cheese and Yoghurt)


As for Alcohol it’s probably a good idea to navigate away from any sugary alcoholic based drinks and stick to things like White and Red wine which are packed with anti-oxidants and will help you digest the festive feast. If you ate an especially heavy meal nice digestive liquor can be a treat to help digest the meal. Too much beer is also a common pitfall so steer clear.

Most importantly don’t deprive yourself, go with the flow and stick to whole foods most of the time and you can’t go far wrong. Eat to a level of fullness and try to stop going into the stuffed territory and you will do your digestive system a host of favors.


I actually enjoy exercising throughout the holidays and see it as no reason to become lazy or cut down on your current workouts. Try seeing the days as normal day. If its beautiful weather and you’re planning a run go for it. An especially good tip is to go for a hard weights workout the morning before a big days celebration. I like a quick Workout of either:

This kills two birds with one stone. You will be able to utilize the food and drink better to replenish your glycogen stores. Plus the food will taste that little bit more satisfying after your workout that earn the meal.

  • Workout as you would normally
  • Do some weights the morning of big events
  • Or a combination of BW work (Pushups, Squats and Pull-ups)
  • Wake up each morning and go through a thorough stretching routine
  • Sprints are also a quick and effective morning workout to squeeze in….


So there you go some quick pointers for fitting in exercise in the busiest period of the year. Just don’t make the mistake of slaving away on cardio machines to make up for your indulgences.

Fun and Relaxation

Most importantly though use the holidays to unwind and relax. The way I see it there is no point in stressing about food and exercise too much while with friends and family. Just do the best you can do with informed decisions and the rest will take care of itself. Give yourself plenty of time for:

  • Sleep – Aim for 7-9 hours in a cool dark room
  • Spending time with close friends and family
  • Naps and Unwinding time (Don’t hesitate taking a long nap after a big meal!)
  • Spend time reading, relaxing and quieting the mind….


If you keep stress levels down, eat well and exercise regularly you will come out the holiday season unscathed and maybe even healthier than before…….

From Zen to Fitness

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