Monday, December 5, 2011

My Stay Fit Trick for the Holidays

Unless you plan on wearing Pajama Jeans for the holidays, you need a plan to stay in shape. Christmas is coming and that means parties and dress up clothes. It's time to meet new people and reconnect with friends, and, if you're like me, you want to look good.

Although I'm not super-skinny, I've stayed relatively the same weight for twenty years. (That's not counting baby weight with the kids--wow, I gained a lot!) You might assume I have some elusive secret or a magical metabolism. I don't. Like most people, I work at it.

But really isn't as hard as it sounds.

Through the years, I've learned a few secrets to maintaining a healthy weight. Do I fluctuate by five pounds? Absolutely. Do I deny myself the treats of the season? No way!

 So here is my stay fit trick for the holidays:

Make Monday through Thursday Count.

Most parties and events take place on the weekends, so balance them with good habits during the week.


Plan and cook healthy meals. If you absolutely have no time to cook and don't own a crockpot, purchase healthy frozen dinners and add a large salad.

* Aim for 5-7 fruits and veggies. Maybe baby carrots and a sliced orange don't tease your taste buds, but your body will thank you for the fiber and vitamins. You can always wash the celery down with a cup of hot cocoa. I'm serious. Cocoa has like 100 calories or something--go for it!

* Drink tons of water. Have a glass of water when you wake up. Have one mid-morning. Have one at lunch. Have two in the afternoon. Water prevents water retention. I like to be able to zip up my jeans.

* Watch portion sizes of high calorie snacks. I daily enjoy non-nutritious snacks like chocolate bars and barbecue potato chips. The key is to watch the portion size. If the serving size says 17 chips, go ahead and count out 17 chips. The 34th chip doesn't taste better, trust me.

* Take vitamins. This is entirely up to you, and the experts disagree on their benefits, but I take vitamins. Ladies, if your hormones are off, consider adding a B complex to your routine. I take a B50 (I do notice a difference if I skip a week), fish oil (this made a huge difference in my nails and complexion), vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc. The last three work together to balance hormones plus they are immune system boosters. Who wants to spend the holidays sick? Not me!

* No fast food. We're only talking Monday through Thursday here. If you work outside of the home, pack food that will fill you up and that you enjoy. It doesn't have to be a boring sandwich. Yogurt, string cheese, summer sausage, soup, leftovers, wraps, salad--take your pick. Just make sure you bring enough to sustain you through the day. A 200 calorie lunch won't cut it.


* Do ten minutes of cardio. You can walk on the treadmill, do a couple Just Dance routines on your kids' Wii, march in place, ride your bike, swim, roller blade--whatever will raise your heart rate. If you want to do more than 10 minutes, great! Your body will love you even more. But 10 minutes is your minimum goal.

* Create a quickie strength routine. I do two--just two--sets of exercises for my stomach, arms, and legs. I do these every Monday through Thursday.

     Set 1:   25 crunches, 25 push-ups (full body), and 25 squats.
     Set 2:   25 bicycle crunches, 25 push-ups (girl-style), and 25 plie squats (that's what I call them at least!)

I feel the burn, but they only take a commercial break to get through.We're talking 5-7 minutes. How can I blow off 7 minutes? I can't. And these exercises have done more to tone my body than anything.

So that's it. Make Monday through Thursday count and the weekends won't throw you into another dress size.

What are your stay fit tricks for the holidays?

Have a wonderful Monday!


  1. Ouch. A necessary but painful reminder that my number-one excuse for not doing any exercise (I have no time! I'm chasing two kids around all day!) doesn't really cut it. I'm so good about eating well and taking my vitamins, but so bad about exercise. Thanks for the reminder to work it in - even I have ten minutes in the day to spare!

  2. Yes - thanks too! I better just grit my teeth and get on with it.

  3. This was a great kick in the seat of my pajama-jean pants! ha! Running to take my vitamins now....

  4. Well....I haven't been very good. Considering I ate nothing at all healthy last week. So yesterday I splurged and bought all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies at the store (I hate that they are expensive). I also try to walk the dog most days.

  5. Great tips, Jill. I also like to zip up my jeans :) And would LOVE to pack up the maternity pants sooner rather than later!

  6. For me, exercise is key. Eating healthy doesn't quite cut it.

  7. Phew! For the first time in ages I can read a post on exercise and diet and not feel guilty. Why? Because thanks to my recent osteoporosis diagnosis at the relatively young age of 52, I've incorporated daily exercise into my schedule, and I'm shifting to a bone-healthy diet. I made the conscious decision to improve my health through my efforts rather than relying on hormone replacement therapy or Rx drugs. I also changed my mindset, deciding to take a positive view of exercise. What I'm learning is that the benefits are many. Who knew exercise could actually be fun? =)

  8. You make it sound so easy, asn honestly it is. I do the same.:-)

  9. "Ouch" is right. I should at least aim for at least one of these areas!

  10. I'm a fan of partaking in activities I enjoy (rather than exercise simply for the sake of calorie burn), focusing on eating more of the good (healthy) stuff rather than on restriction and finding delicious ways to create healthy food. I load up on seasonal fruit, for example, and make whole grain pumpkin bread rather than pastries. Eating when you're hungry, eating mindfully and stopping when you're full also help.

    So glad you've found tricks that work for you!

  11. With your tips, maybe I can get in better shape. Thanks!

  12. Thank you for sharing your routine, Jill. I'm trying to lose the five pounds I put on in November, and your ideas will be a big help.

    I get so tired of having to watch everything I eat, but I'm getting better.

  13. Good morning, everyone!

    I'm sensing a theme of guilt running throught the comments--and I get it! We all feel like we should be doing better in the health department. But I hope none of you feels guilty.

    I just know I've had Christmases where I've headed to the holiday parties in clothes near bursting, and it made me really mad at myself. After that, I made up my mind to spend a minimum amount of time on maintenance during December. The holidays are a lot less stressful because of it. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    (And huge congrats, Keli, on taking steps to combat that diagnosis! Woo-hoo! You're an inspiration!)

  14. Great tips, Jill! Awesome routine you have.

    I do a brisk walk or easy jog for 2 miles, every other day (sometimes every day). I also do some strength training on off days.

    I agree with planning healthy meals. Hubby and I have been eating more veggies and fruits. We juice once or twice a week.

    I really liked your thoughts on making Monday to Thursday count.

  15. Super good tips. My January posts are going to be all about keeping healthy and there are so many things I see here that I do that are great ideas. I've been getting sick a lot lately, so I probably need to beef up on the vitamins. Oh, and I LOVE doing Just Dance with with kids. It's how I lost all the rest of the baby weight :) Yay for fun exercise!

  16. Great tips that anyone can fit into their schedule, Jill! Good diet and exercise can work if you plan ahead of time. Thanks for sharing.

    I do enjoy strength training over cardio. It burns calories and fat fast, not to mention speeding up the metabolism. You can eat more (healthy foods!) while still losing weight.

  17. Love that you're sharing! I'm always looking for ways to stay motivated. It's just too easy to sit on the couch with a blanket rather than exercise. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  18. I love this! Now that it's cold outside, I'm less inclined to go for hikes (which I love) so I have to make sure I do some other type of workout. Your tips are great. And portion control is huge. No need to skip the goodies...just have a little bit!

  19. Hi Jill -

    Great tips!

    I'm one of those people who got sick after Thanksgiving. Any weight I gained disappeared because I couldn't eat for a couple of days.

    I hit the gym at least 3 times per week. It's helped keep the weight at bay throughout the year.

    Susan :)

    P.S. My computer woes are 99% solved. Yay!

  20. When I'm going to a party where I'm supposed to bring something, I try to bring a slightly healthier option. That way I know that I can fill up more on what I've brought and just sample the other not-so-good-for-me goodies.

  21. Since I'm a bit reclused up here in my little mountain cove in this little town, I don't get out much for holiday parties so that helps a lot in the eating too much over the holidays category!

    But, all during the year I run/skip/hop/walk on the treadmill, do strength training, and yoga. I eat pretty healthfully and recently when I put on a few, I cut out the desserts and only allow myself maybe once a week to have dessert. I also watch my portions.

    these are good tips you have here - I used to be a personal trainer.

  22. Staying fit and Healthy is important for the health of the heart and organs that keep us functioning every day! Everyone can incorporate into a day!

    Staying Fit


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