Halloween Parties.  Thanksgiving Dinners.  Christmas Gatherings.  New Year’s Eve Bashes.  What do they all have in common?  FOOD.  And not usually of the healthy persuasion.  I used to think, “Oh well, I’ll just start fresh with diet and exercise in the New Year.”  My #1 New Year’s resolution every year was to lose 20 pounds.  I would do well the whole month of January until Super Bowl Sunday, and it was all down hill from there.  Does this sound familiar?  Let me share a secret with you:  stop looking at diet and exercise as short-term means to an end and make healthy living your lifestyle.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy candy, stuffing, ice cream, and holiday beverages just as much as anyone else, probably more so.  What I don’t enjoy is jeans that don’t fit.  And my poor husband definitely doesn’t enjoy the mood that ensues when my jeans don’t fit.

Here are a few ideas to help you jump-start your 2013 fitness goals, without adding to the weight that you want to lose or maintain.

  1. Moderation.  Want a piece of Halloween candy?  Have a piece or two and then walk away.  Don’t want to miss out on any Thanksgiving staples?  Have one spoonful of each dish you want to try and go back for seconds on your favorites (that is if you’re still hungry).  Going to a Christmas or New Year’s party?  Have a fresh salad and bottle of water an hour or so before the party, and you won’t be as hungry or as tempted to fill your plate with multiple finger foods and you won’t be drinking your holiday beverages on an empty stomach.
  2. Exercise.  If you plan on starting an exercise regimen after the New Year, then why not get a jump start on it, today?  You don’t have to train for a triathlon or marathon, but why not incorporate a mile walk or jog into your daily routine?  Put some use to those weights that are just sitting in your closet or that gym membership that you haven’t been using.  Adding some extra cardio in your daily schedule will help offset the extra calories that we all tend to take in during the holiday season.
  3. 90/10.  Eat healthy 90% of the time and use the other 10% for splurges.  One of my health professors in college said this during class and it has always stuck with me.  On a yearly scale, that averages to about 3 days a month for “going crazy,” if you will.  You don’t have to be as precise as circling 3 days a month on a calendar to eat what you want but it just gives a little perspective on how healthy your lifestyle currently is and how it could be.
  4. Light Recipes.  Try cooking lighter versions of your traditional recipes.  Replace oil with applesauce when making cakes.  Use 1/3 fat cream cheese instead of regular, 2% milk instead of whole milk, and egg whites instead of the whole egg.  Obviously, this doesn’t work in every recipe, but try it when you can, most of the time no one is ever the wiser.  I head to www.skinnytaste.com when I need a good healthy recipe and it hasn’t failed me, yet!
  5. Start a new tradition.  Last year was the first Thanksgiving my husband and I spent as a married couple, and we wanted to start a holiday tradition of our own, so we signed up for a Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning, and we ran it together.  It is a great way for your whole family to spend quality time together, while getting in some much-needed exercise before a huge Thanksgiving feast.

Playlist Songs of the Week:

“Titanium” David Guetta & Sia

“We Found Love” Rihanna

“In My Head” Jason Derulo

“With You” Chris Brown

“Release Me” Agnes



Ashley Shih has lived on the Space Coast for the past 5 years, and she can be seen training for marathons on the beaches of Brevard.  Her goal is to share the ups and downs of her fitness experiences with readers, in order to help them with their lifestyle goals.  Please email her with questions or feedback at ashleyerin.shih@gmail.com