Dear Mountain Mama,

The cooler temperatures, leftovers, football, and online shopping have left me feeling as if I’ve melted into the couch. I’m nervous that the next four weeks will derail my exercise routine. How do I stay committed to fitness during the holiday season?

Thanks,
Couch-Man

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Dear Couch-Man,

Too often the food and cocktails conspire to add inches to our waist-lines. Even worse, the alcohol, sugar, and fat leave us feeling so sluggish that we lose motivation. Count ’em, there are 35 days of temptation this year between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Here are four tips to fortify your commitment to health and stay fit during the holidays:

Get Outside.

Sure, the fire is cozy and the sofa is comfortable. Instead, embrace your inner child and discover the winter wonderland waiting outside your front door. The ski reports look promising for powder turns this winter. Even if you can’t hit the slopes, winter offers plenty of opportunities to play, from sledding and snowball fights to ice skating and snowshoeing.

Start Active Traditions.

Create something for you and your family to look forward to when the thermometer plunges. Check race calendars for jingle bell runs and New Year’s resolutions races. Encourage your family to ride their bikes to Christmas Eve service. Or rally your friends for a caroling jog around the neighborhood. Reinvent how you spend the holidays by adding a hike, run, or ride as part of your seasonal traditions.

Bring Healthy Treats.

The buffet line and dessert tray interferes with even our best of intentions. To ensure there’s a healthy option at the next holiday party, be sure to bring a dish that’s easy on the waistband. Consider healthy swaps while baking, like coconut oil instead of butter or almond flour in place of white flour.

Incorporate Exercise.

It’s easy to miss your bike ride because you had to mail a holiday package or attend the office party. If your calendar is crammed full of obligations, get creative and incorporate exercise into your holiday errands. Be the first one to get on the dance floor at the next party. Load up the jogging stroller with holiday packages and run to the post office. Worse case scenario, lace up your sneakers and power walk around the mall.

Couch-Man, don’t let the turkey and leftovers lead to a downward spiral. Staying committed to your exercise routine will reinforce healthy eating choices. By eating right and working out, you’ll have room on your New Year resolution list for new fitness goals, like registering for a marathon or signing up for a century bike ride.

Cheers!

Mountain Mama