Yes, it's that time of year again. A time of lights and snow, cold and crowds, friends and food. All the extra excitement and activities added to an already busy schedule, make me want to grab a blanket, head to my couch and sip eggnog in a Marty Moose glass.
A side effect of all of this celebrating is the dreaded holiday weight gain, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. There are ways to enjoy this time while still being good to yourself, and staying physically sane through the month of December.
Track your activity by wearing a pedometer, especially while you shop. Turn it on after you park your car, then start counting your steps as soon as your feet hit the parking lot. You'll be surprised at how many miles you can cover trekking from one side of the mall to the other. Check it from time to time, when you're close to ticking off another mile, speed walk away from the food court and get it done. Don't forget, hauling around those heavy shopping bags helps to tone the biceps!
I'm particularly sad this year because my next-door neighbors have moved away. In past years, in exchange for their gift of potato latkes, I would send over a plate of Christmas cookies. Over the next few weeks, the treats and special dishes will be coming out in full force. When faced with a buffet, I take a look at all the offerings, focus on a special dish that I don't have very often, then take a pass on the usual fare. I can have mashed potatoes anytime, but green bean casserole comes around just once in a while. At dessert time, I snag a bite of my husband's pie, or a nibble from my son's cookie. Yes, I'm still eating a treat, but it's a sliver, not a slice.
Lastly, like every other activity on the calendar, schedule time to work out. Write down that you're going for a run, and then check it off the list when it's complete. Take advantage of outdoor activities that you can do with family or friends, such as ice skating, skiing, bundling up for a woodsy hike or a walk around the neighborhood and enjoying all of the festive decor.
Move when you can, relax when you get a chance, and just enjoy this time. That way you can welcome 2015 on the best note possible.