Health & Fitness

6 Simple Steps to Staying Fit and Healthy Through the Holidays

New York Smash Magazine  

Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Staying Fit and Healthy Through the Holidays | Photo Credit: Subbotina /

By Kate McKay

So many of us look forward to the enjoyment and fun that the holidays bring: the social gatherings, travel, shopping, and baking. But the truth is that the holidays are also a time of increased stress, which can wreak havoc on our fitness and wellness goals.

Using the acronym S.I.M.P.L.E, I have listed six steps you can take to minimize your stress while boosting your naturally occurring “feel good” endorphins and thereby avoiding the dreaded 5-10 lbs of holiday weight gain.

It’s possible to avoid putting on pounds while experiencing greater joy throughout the holiday season– see how below!

1. S- Simplify:

If you usually bake five types of cookies, this year bake only your favorite two and try adding a healthier baked good into the mix to increase fiber, whole grains, and healthy fats in your treats. Like to spend an hour plus at the gym, or find yourself saying “never mind, I just don’t have the time,” for a workout? Try HITT training to boost your calorie burning and break a great sweat in as little as 20 minutes. Combine bursts of cardio, such as jumping jacks, with body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges—the increased intensity will help you get just as much out of this shorter workout. You will be thrilled with how efficient these workouts are, and you’ll feel great, too. For some inspiration to get you going, check out my Youtube video at:

2. I- Indulge:

Yup, I said it. Indulge, but do so in moderation. Want to enjoy a little egg nog or a couple cookies? Great. Just make sure to adjust the calorie intake in your other meals to make room for this added yum. Living fit is about following the 80/20 rule, which makes room for you to use your food as fuel for your body while still enjoying the food that brings you pleasure. The ticket to success is, absolutely, moderation. To get a rough idea of the number of calories you need on a daily basis, check out this link or check in with your doctor:

3. M-Maximize Your Time:

Stop wasting your time spinning your wheels at the mall, or wandering through supermarket isles looking for baking ideas in a sugar haze. Your time is so precious! Set actionable goals and move ahead to meet them with small steps daily. You know where you’re wasting time; you are not fooling anyone else and most of all, you are not fooling yourself. Decide now to make a shift and take action today, so that when everyone else is setting New Year’s resolutions, you will already have success in your back pocket!
Make the commitment to get rid of one yucky habit and at the same time, choose a positive one you can adopt to replace it. Maximize your day by filling your moments with positive, action-based steps. Set yourself free from those habits that keep you playing small– they are detrimental to your overall health and the pleasure you take in living. You can do it!

4. P-Plan:

Each night throughout the holiday season, plan out your next day’s schedule, including both your exercise and restorative time. Sure, plans can get waylaid; however, by creating a set schedule, you set yourself free to be more productive. Studies show that by writing your schedule down, you are more likely to stick with it! So put your pen to paper and go! But, don’t forget that restoration time. Even just 5 minutes of sitting still and breathing deeply will boost your immune system and make you feel so much more peaceful and able to cope with the added stress of the holidays. You deserve it!

5. Let Go:

Yes, let go. Let go of unrealistic expectations you have for yourself and others. Do you really have to spend weeks making home-baked goods for every man, woman and child within a three mile radius of your home? Must you hand-make your own bows and wrapping paper? Is the holiday party with 100 guests really that much fun anyway, in comparison to an intimate gathering with friends? We all know where we go overboard during the holidays. Make the commitment in this moment to cut yourself some slack and let go of a tradition that no longer brings you pleasure, but only increases your stress level to the max. It’s okay. Really.

6. Eat:

Eat regularly and often. The ticket to living fit is fueling your amazing machine with healthy foods that keep your furnace burning bright at regular intervals. Studies show that the quickest way to gain weight is infrequent meals and massive calorie dumps late at night, a common occurrence in our culture. Don’t let that be you.
As part of your daily planning, schedule in meal preparation for yourself and your family, so that you have things to grab on your way out the door. Carry a cooler with you in the car, so you will have food on hand and can avoid those last minute fast food drive thru’s that wreak havoc on your fitness goals.

By applying these six SIMPLE steps, you will meet January 1st 2015 with a skip and a smile because you stayed committed to your fitness and wellness goals. And that, my dear friends, is something to toast to!

To your health – the greatest wealth!

Happy and Healthy Holidays, from my home to yours!

Kate McKay

For more healthy lifestyle tips: “Living Sexy Fit at Any Age!” by Kate McKay is available on Amazon.