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Four Effective Ways to Manage Your Holiday Cheats

The festive season is in full swing, and let’s face it: delicious indulgences come with the territory.

Between holiday open houses, the annual festive potluck at work, the neighbourhood cookie swap and the fact that all that shopping suddenly has you hankering for a big soft pretzel drenched in melted butter, it can be hard to stick to your usual healthy diet. (Besides, no one wants to look like a Grinch at the annual company party!)

Because we’re all inevitably going to cheat on our diet and exercise plan this holiday season, here are four easy ways you can manage your indulgences AND stay in shape through the festivities.

1. Spend extra time running around the mall (really!)

Plan to arrive at the mall 45 minutes before it opens to fit in a brisk walk. (Many shopping malls offer mall walking during the colder months; check online for details.) By the time the mall opens for the day you’ll have already crossed “exercise” off your to-do list, with the added benefit of having done a bunch of window shopping!

2. Put your calendar into overdrive

Studies have shown that scheduling your physical activity time is an effective way to ensure that you manage to fit in your fitness training – there’s something about writing it down the same way you’d note any other appointment that makes you more likely to keep to your exercise routine. If hitting the gym as usual isn’t an option, spend some time thinking about when and where you’re going to fit in a festive physical activity – for example, an afternoon of tobogganing or a hike through the winter woods.

Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey, or are a seasoned athlete looking to make improvements, having a workout plan is key. Check out this step by step guide to crafting an effective workout plan.

3. Bolster your willpower

When you’re surrounded by tempting treats at every turn, it’s hard to resist – and it’s even harder if you’re tired, hungry or thirsty. Bolster your willpower by making sure you’re getting enough sleep, and have a healthy snack before heading to a party – if you’re not hungry when you get there, you’ll be less likely to head back for seconds. Try drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage – it cuts down on the calories from alcohol, and staying sober means you’re less likely to overindulge food-wise and might also help keep you from eating that drunken post-party donair.

4. Start a new tradition

Why not involve the whole family in your fitness plans? Try incorporating a physical activity into your holiday plans with friends and family – for example, after your holiday feast, you could go for walk around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights, or maybe you’d like to sign up for a festive fun run or New Year’s Day polar bear dip! There are lots of family-friendly ways to involve physical activity in your holiday plans.

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