Healthy Holiday Tips You Haven’t Heard Before

We asked an Equinox trainer for some tips on how to survive the holidays and still keep up with our fitness routines.

Hefez teaching a class. Photo provided by Equinox.

Hefez teaching a class. Photo provided by Equinox.

As if you couldn’t tell from it being pitch black out at 4:30 p.m., it’s almost that time again. The six week spread of Thanksgiving buffets, holiday parties, and Christmas gatherings is just around the corner. But with the parties (and the early sunsets) comes the unwanted holiday pounds. It may seem impossible to not gain a few during the season of holiday treats at work and booze-fueled parties and brunches. So we asked Equinox group fitness trainer, Lauren Hefez, for some advice on how to stave off the holiday pounds but still be able to enjoy the season.

Start green: Hefez starts her day with a green smoothie or juice. “When you start your day healthy you are more likely to continue being healthy for the rest of the day,” she says. Hefez’s go-to juice is made with spinach, kale, green apple, celery, and lemon. “If you don’t have a fancy juice machine, you can use a blender and jelly strainer, which will give you the same delicious results,” she says.

Traveling for the holidays? “Pack a resistance band or jump rope in your suitcase. These are small, lightweight workout accessories that will encourage you to work out and break a sweat anywhere,” Hefez says. “Try to get in at least 15 minutes of jump rope every day.” Have a resistance band? Seated rows are great for your back and posture. “Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you, wrap the band around your feet and pull the band back with both hands,” she says, “as if you are doing a row. Make sure to sit up straight, keep your shoulders away from your ears, and really initiate the movement from your back.”

Watch the toppings: “Gravy, sauces, dressings, and dips can add up quickly. Be mindful and don’t overdo it on the toppings. When it comes to dressings try to stick to the vinaigrettes and avoid anything that looks creamy,” Hefez says.

Use a wearable fitness gadget: “When the cold months come rolling in it is easy to get lazy. Every morning put on your pedometer and don’t go to bed until you hit 10,000 steps. That should be your daily goal,” Hefez says. “Having a pedometer will act as a reminder to keep moving and will encourage you to park a little farther or to take the stairs.”

Wear something form fitting: “Not only will you show off your body, but it will help prevent you from taking seconds,” she says.

Don’t just eat it because it is there: “Your work space will be filled with holiday treats and goodies,” she says. “People love to bring in cookies and holiday leftovers. But, before you grab something ask yourself, ‘Would I go out and buy this right now?’ or ‘Am I just eating it because it is in front of me?'” Most likely, you aren’t hungry and don’t need it, she says.

Order on the rocks: “Adding ice to your cocktail or liquor will encourage you to drink more slowly,” she says. “When the ice melts it will create more liquid and make you feel as though you are drinking more.”

Go for the real dessert: “Homemade dessert are best. Avoid the store bought cookies and cakes or low fat/fat free desserts which can contain a lot of fillers, preservatives, and fake ingredients. Go for the homemade treats which will be more satisfying and leave you more content with a smaller serving,” she says.

Mint to finish: “At the end of your meal chew on mint gum or drink mint tea,” Hefez says. “Mint aids in digestion and will reduce your cravings for more food.”

Multi-task: Hefez does basic barre exercises in her kitchen while cooking such as leg lifts, squats, lateral raises, and tricep extensions. She even uses canned foods as light weights.

Get active with your family: “Take advantage of the crisp air and enjoy fun outdoor activities. Take your family skating or plan a baseball or football game,” she says. “Being active as a family is a great bonding experience as well as a great way to stay on track with your fitness.”