How to Have a Healthier Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is the start of six weeks of holiday fun, parties, cocktail hours, and family-sized meals that ends in the New Year. While it’s an exciting time, research has shown it’s also a time when weight (an average of five to 10 pounds) creeps up on many people. Keep the holiday cheer and ditch the holiday weight gain with the simple strategies below.

1. Sign up for a holiday race.

How to Have a Healthier Holiday Season

Start a healthy holiday tradition and sign up for a Turkey Trot or a Santa Chase. Whether you walk or run, you’ll be guaranteed to get active and burn some calories. Plus, it’s a great way to get your friends and family together for an event that isn’t based around a meal.

2. Eat your meals.

Skipping breakfast or lunch in anticipation of a big meal might seem like a good way to cut calories, but it’ll only slow your metabolism. This will leave you feeling sluggish and put you at risk of overeating later. Eat a light, healthy breakfast and/or lunch to rev your metabolism and manage cravings.

3. Remember to sleep.

With a full social calendar, it’s tempting to stay out late every night of your vacation. The problem: Not only are you less productive and moodier when sleep-deprived, but your metabolism slows down. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to keep your energy high and your metabolism cranking all season long.

4. Keep it in perspective.

How to Have a Healthier Holiday Season

There are 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. In that time, you’ll eat 210 meals. If you follow the 80/20 rule of eating well 80 percent of the time and indulging 20 percent of the time, that means you have 42 opportunities for a treat.

5. Enjoy a seasonal sport.

As you plan your holiday get-togethers, put aside some time for snowshoeing, skiing, or ice skating. If heading to your local ski mountain or skating rink isn’t an option, grab a football and start a game in the backyard.