10704128_10152400074981946_4912914976352794417_nThis is the time of year for holiday parties, community events and family get-togethers! It’s all so much fun but it’s going to take more than will-power to make sure your holiday season is healthy and doesn’t completely sabotage your fitness goals. You CAN party and still stay fit!

Let’s face it – when a table full of goodies is staring you right in your face and you know this may be your last chance to indulge in your favorite holiday treat until next Christmas, it’s difficult if not impossible to stick to your program.  Instead you have to establish some guidelines and use a little “give and take.” For example:

  • At tonight’s party I’ll drink 2 glasses of water for every glass of wine.
  • First I’ll fill my plate with fruits and vegetables and then go back for more food.
  • I will make sure that I engage in conversation away from the table of food.
  • I’ll make sure that my pot-luck contribution is a healthy choice so I know I’ll have something to rely on.
  • I will enjoy one treat.
  • I will share a treat with someone.
  • I will encourage everyone to go for a walk after our meal before desert.
  • Since I know I’m going to have that piece of Pecan Pie tonight, I’ll go for a run or hit the gym this morning.

Whatever it’s going to take, make sure you have the systems and a plan set up to help you achieve success this season. 

Here’s the major culprits to holiday weight gain that will be tempting you at all the parties:

Sweats and Treats

  • Cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, chocolates…What’s the holiday season without treating yourself to your favorite holiday goodies?  But unfortunately, a few of these indulgences every day over the holidays (which can often happen at the office) can easily pack on 2-3 pounds each week.  Remember that these foods should be a ‘treat’ and not become a staple to your diet.

Creams, dips, gravies and egg nog

  • Very high in fat and caloric content.

Processed foods

  • Instead always go for wholesome, fresh foods as the staples to your diet.  They will always be higher in nutrients and lower in fat.  Processed foods should only complement a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole wheat grains.

Fried foods

  • These foods are loaded in fat and calories!


  • Although low in fat content, it is very high in empty calories.  In addition, alcohol activates an enzyme that uptakes fat from our bloodstream and stores it in our fat cells.  Therefore any food you consume in combination with alcohol will more likely end up in our fat storage depot areas like our hips, thighs and abs.  And finally, alcohol lowers our inhibitions making us more likely to make poorer food choices.

And last, keep in mind that it’s ok to lighten up on your strict fitness and nutrition plan over the holidays.  It may help give your mind and body a rest and help to motivate you to work even harder in the New Year. Even elite athletes have off seasons so don’t beat yourself up about indulging a little here and there – just don’t completely let everything go and force yourself to have to start from scratch in the New Year!

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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