By Lydia

Here’s how to stay fit during the holidays without being a Grinch
(Photo: DVIDS)

I feel like I never know exactly what attitude to have when a holiday rolls around. It’s as though I become something akin to a bipolar puppy with amnesia.

Yay! I’m so excited for the holidays! I can have all the food and not feel guilty. Give me the cookies! Bring on the eggnog and schnitzel and, what is that called? It looks tasty! I’ll eat it! Hey, it’s the holidays. Anything goes! Nom nom nom!

Oh man . . .

Where’s the veggie tray? I need the veggie tray. Please don’t show me another cookie. I must keep to my diet! Whole 30 right here . . . no, sorry, deviled eggs don’t count.

If I eat 30 pieces of celery, will they cancel out the last five cookies I just ate?


I gained twelve pounds?! How is that possible! I ate like only one cookie! How did that happen? I feel so gross.

Somebody please tell me the gym has a spin class or something. I need to burn about 10 gazillion calories to get rid of the extra appendage that has attached to my stomach!

Christmas is, perhaps, the most excused holiday when it comes to and setting aside healthy eating habits. It’s also the most traveled holiday for the military. Many military families are far away from their extended loved ones and will do pretty much anything to spend the holidays with them. When they finally arrive to their destination, they start making plans for all the parties, meals, and get-togethers they want to attend. This means that Aunt Patty is guaranteed to show up with her famous snowball cookies that you can’t seem to get enough of; or grandma gifts you a double batch of the best fudge ever, which you can’t possibly refuse because, well . . . fudge!

I’m a mom of four young kids. I’m not a fitness guru. I can’t give you the top ten holiday recipes that are Paleo-approved. If I’m lucky enough and remember to eat after making lunch for my children, I might get the leftover crusts from my kids’ PB&J sandwiches before they’re fed to the dog.

I can’t tell you how to lose weight over the holidays, but I do have some pointers for staying fit and making better choices without turning into a pot-bellied, hairy green monster… a Grinch.

Indulge dark chocolate

Bonnat Hacienda El Rosario 75% Dark Chocolate from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Lee McCoy, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Before going to that party or the family-famous Christmas dinner, pop a piece of dark chocolate in your mouth. Studies have found that dark chocolate is effective in suppressing appetite. You apparently don’t even hate to eat it; simply smelling it works too. It decreases the hunger hormone in your body and ultimately cuts down on cravings.

When I start to get in a snacky mood or feel just a tad bit hungry, I munch on a piece of dark chocolate. Sure enough, the hunger pangs go away and I am able wait until the next meal. On top of being an appetite suppressant, dark chocolate is also known to boost energy and increase endorphins. It’s essentially a win-win!

Be intentional about your portion sizes

Christmas Dinner from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 brownpau, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

You don’t have to hang out at the veggie tray or say no to all of the yummy goodies this holiday season. You can still eat grandma’s fudge. It’s all about portion sizing.

Instead of grabbing the large dinner plate, use a salad plate. The smaller plate forces you to select smaller portions, especially if you want to taste a little bit of everything.

Don’t bypass every single goody on the dessert table. Want to try a couple different desserts? Cut them in half. Take half a brownie, instead of a whole one.

Drink more water

glass-of-water-in-the-sunlight from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 强 石, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Not drinking enough water can play a significant role in negatively affecting your health and weight. According to Women’s Health Magazine, “Water boosts your caloric burn—period. That’s because every time you eat or drink, your body has to wor, to process whatever’s coming in. It’s called “diet-induced thermogenesis” and works for water pretty much the same way it works for anything that contains calories.”

Say no to the soda. Avoid the punch bowl. Don’t even think about the eggnog! (Okay, maybe just a little bit of eggnog.) Instead, grab a glass of water or two. Make sure your body is staying hydrated and keep that calorie-burning thermogenestuff going!

Find a post-dinner (or even pre-dinner) buddy to go on a walk with you

winter walk from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Alice Popkorn, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Don’t immediately plop on the couch after eating your portioned, delicious meal. Find a person willing to take a walk with you. You won’t be the only one wanting to attempt working off that extra food and good company always brings good conversation.

Staying fit and healthy over the holidays doesn’t have to involve upside down jumping jacks or squatting to the floor. It also doesn’t have to mean eating only sunflower seed crackers and cold chicken.It’s all about portion control and adjusting the holidays to fit more healthy standards without turning into an unhappy I’m-going-to-steal-the-joy-of-Christmas-dinner Grinch!

Lydia is a Marine wife, mom of three boys and a girl, and retained a major in English. She is a freelance writer for military websites and an influencer for several social networks. She also blogs at The Few, The Proud, and This Marine Wife, where she shares her life as a military wife and offers encouragement to moms in the trenches. Her blog also touches on managing the chaos and includes many DIY projects, home design, and recipes. She loves meeting new people, and you can always find her with a cup of coffee in hand. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter and bring some coffee, while you’re at it!