1. Make a realistic plan and be consistent. Women’s Running columnist and coach Jenny Hadfield recommends giving yourself a realistic running goal of 15 to 20 miles per week during the holidays and keeping a running schedule on the fridge. Your goal should be to maintain your current fitness level; don’t worry about building up your mileage. Encourage visiting relatives to exercise with you, whether going for a walk around the block or trying out something new like snowshoeing. Signing up for a holiday 5k of Jingle Bell run can add to your motivation.
2. Be smart about holiday meals. Plan ahead and decide what you want to indulge in (skip the green bean casserole if you are really excited about the mashed potatoes and gravy), or take a small taste of everything. If you are hosting an event or bringing a dish, plan something healthy to share or create a menu with healthier updates on classics. Find recipes at eatingwell.com and mayoclinic.com.
3. Control your cookie (or cocktail) monster. With so many goodies around, it’s hard to resist constantly snacking. Some party tricks: Eat a small meal before you go so you aren’t starving when you get there, and choose a small plate and fill it with 3/4 of healthy options (veggies, etc.), saving a small space for desserts. And remember, alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases your urge to munch, so balance that glass of pinot with a glass of sparkling water.