Healthy Holidays: 10 Tips to Succeed & Traps to Avoid

Shot of a young man walking in a grocery store with a basket full of fresh produce

A sustainable healthy and fit lifestyle is all about two things: consistency and balance. These are two things you should be practicing all the time if you’re really serious about getting in and, most importantly, staying in shape. While it may be easy to stay on track during swimsuit season, most people really slip up during the holidays when the weather is cooler, you’re covered up with a lot more clothing and the temptations to skip your workout and overindulge in sweets seem to be all over the place.

I could say, “Stay away from all sweets and make sure you never skip a workout!” But, that’s not realistic or sustainable at all. I am not even a sweets person but I even love coming home to my mom’s homemade chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies during the holidays. Additionally, holiday travels don’t make it completely possible to maintain your fitness routine…and that’s okay!

The biggest thing we want to avoid during the holiday season is falling so far off track that it takes a giant amount of effort to get back in shape again for spring and summer. And, we know that those seasons come back around SO fast!

Woman holding snacks

5 Tips to Succeed During the Holidays

1. Keep moving as much as possible: This should be something we practice daily, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Don’t sit at your desk for longer than one hour before getting up and grabbing a glass of water or doing some quick stretches. In fact, sitting on your bum for a long time could be the reason why you’re experiencing tight hips, back pain or both.

2. Quick workouts for the win: Even if you only have 10-20 minutes to get in a workout – go for it! You can do this 15-minute total-body HIIT workout with me or even try a speedy Standalone Workout in the Results app. These bodyweight training workouts are ideal for the holidays when traveling to see relatives or staying in hotel rooms.

3. Stay hydrated: Sometimes we feel hungry when really our body is just thirsty. Just when you think you want to reach for that extra snack (or a piece of cake your co-worker brought into the office), have a glass of water and then decide again in 10 minutes if you really want it.

Woman doing lunges in a gym, crop

4. Go for an intense leg training before the big feast: If possible, do a really hard workout (targeting a lot of muscle groups) before the holiday feast. I always go for leg training because it works large muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings. Plus, you get some core action in there, too. Then, at least I can be sure that the extra calories are actually going towards a good cause: muscle repair and recovery.

5. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy treat: There are so many deliciously healthy recipes that can help make the holiday temptation a bit easier. In fact, many healthy recipes I like even more than the original. This vegan sweet potato brownie recipe is to die for and you can just pick them up and eat them with your hands.

Shot of a young man walking in a grocery store with a basket full of fresh produce

5 Traps to Avoid During the Holidays

1. Politely say “no” to samples: As you’re shopping around the grocery store or the mall, you might notice that everyone wants you to try a sample of their holiday treat. They figure if they feed you some you might be more inclined to buy it, right? Politely decline the first time to build a solid habit. You’ll be surprised by how many of those little samples can add up.

2. Don’t let the cold weather make you lazy: Yes, I know, it’s hard to wake up in the morning because it’s so dark and it’s hard to get re-energized in the evening because it’s so dark. But, if you keep telling yourself that you’re never going to get anywhere. I know it’s hard to stay motivated during the winter months, but it’s definitely possible. You just have to believe that you can do it. Once you do it one or two times, it’s not as hard as you might think.

3. You don’t have to try everything: If you say yes to every single baked good and delicious treat that comes into your path during the holiday season, you might find you need to loosen your belt a notch or two. Instead of eating everything in sight, just enjoy your favorites. My favorites are my mom’s chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies and pumpkin pie. So, I have one or two of my mom’s cookies and one slice of pumpkin pie. When it comes to these refined sugars and carbohydrates, they’re 100% addicting. The more you eat, the more you crave and the harder it is to stop eating them afterwards.

Young couple leaving the gym after their workout.

4. Don’t let your training buddies slack off: Do you have a group of friends that trains together on a regular basis during the spring and summer? Don’t let them slack on you when the weather gets rough. Our Runtastic Results Linz training group used to train outside on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. But now that the weather isn’t great, we train at lunchtime on Tuesday and Thursday instead. There’s always another alternative. If you’re looking for a training group in your area, find one here or create your own.

5. One slip up doesn’t warrant more: I cringe when I hear people say “Well, I already had two slices of cake, so I will eat the whole thing,” or, “I skipped my workout the last two days so I might as well skip the whole week.” It’s always better to snap yourself out of that mindset no matter how tough it may seem. Saving a bit of extra calories or burning a bit more will always help in the long run. Remember, it’s not about what you do in that moment, it’s about what you do over time that gives you the best lifelong results!

Do you have your favorite tip to stay fit and healthy during the holidays. Leave it for me in the comments below – I can’t wait to read it. Happy holidays!


Lunden Souza Lunden Souza is an Online Fitness & Lifestyle Transformation Coach. She helps people all over the world create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so they'll never have to "start over" again! Connect with @lifelikelunden for real-life strategies to get on track for long-term health in both body and mind. View all posts by Lunden Souza