How to stay fit and healthy during the holidays

Indulging in treats like freshly baked Christmas cookies is easy. But staying healthy during this holiday season is not impossible. AP Photo/Larry Crowe

Even for those who are health and fitness-conscious, staying in shape can be especially difficult during this time of year. The cold weather can easily discourage us from working out outside, while the taste of chilled eggnog and the smell of freshly baked goods make it a bit too easy to overindulge in treats.

READ MORE: 5 cold weather exercise tips and guidelines

Global News spoke with personal trainer and diet expert Kathleen Trotter on how to stay fit and healthy during this holiday season.

Stay active

You hit the gym for one hour a day, three days a week. With countless of holiday events to attend or plan, you are unable to fit in your entire workout. And that’s okay, just “don’t use that as an excuse to not exercise at all.”

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“Walk home from work, do half your scheduled workout or do some strength exercises in your living room,” said Trotter.

READ MORE: Easy exercises and stretches you can do at work

It’s important to keep active during the holiday, even if you cannot devote as much time as you usually do to your fitness regime.

“And if you do go to the gym, make the most of your workouts,” said Trotter. “Do interval style cardio workouts and multiple joint strength exercises like squats and lunges.”

Interval training tip:

Trotter said interval workouts are great for those with busy schedules. “Warm-up for five minutes on any cardio machine,” she said. “Then for 10 minutes do the following: 30 seconds at your regular speed, 20 seconds at a slightly quicker speed and for 10 seconds, go fast on the machine. Then cool down for five minutes.”

Stay hydrated

If you like to indulge in a glass (or two) of wine or scotch, carry a glass of water.

“Staying hydrated helps ensure you are not mistaking dehydration for hunger,” said Trotter.  Drinking water, said Trotter, will also give you something to do with your hands so you don’t inadvertently nibble on food.

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This brings us to our next tip…

Eat slowly and don’t go to parties hungry

If you are attending a holiday party, eat a small healthy snack before you go. “Then try to be mindful of what you decide to eat when you arrive at the party or dinner event,”  said Trotter. “Don’t stand near the nut bowl and don’t mindlessly pick at food.”

Trotter said eating slowly is important and advises people to set down their cutlery in between bites so that the brain has time to register that you are full.

READ MORE: New wearable device tracks what you eat, tells you to chew slower

If a friend or family member is hosting the event, offer to bring a dish so that you are guaranteed to have at least one healthy option.

“Eat the foods you love, not just what is available. Keep a running tab in your head of the snacks you have nibbled on. Calories add up quickly.”

It’s okay to treat yourself

Trotter said if you do treat yourself, don’t feel guilty. “Savour the treat and just be mindful of your decision,” she said.

If you are not happy that you indulged, “instead of feeling guilty, you should learn from the situation and decide to make better choices at your next meal.”