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How to Stay Healthy During Eggnog Season

11/12/2014 12:48 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST
Gary Burchell via Getty Images

If you want to read a blog by a fitness person being blunt, this is your chance.

Enjoying the holidays, eating the food, and being grateful and enjoying the abundance we have is not part of the obesity and inactivity epidemic we have. These few short weeks of peace and joy aren't going to derail most people from a life time of wellness.

For the past decade I've been asked to do countless interviews about "not gaining weight over the holiday season." I've happily obliged because I need to make money, and being in the public eye gets me more clients. More clients means a solid wage. I use that money to buy egg nog and lots of ginger bread men. I do this because I'm a huge hypocrite. Sort of.

I've never said it's bad to indulge during this time of year, I simply say that if you don't want to gain the typical holiday season weight it's best to leave the treats alone. Let's be honest though, we all look forward to everything food-related this time of year. We put way to much emphasis on weight in our society. It's not about your weight, or how you look -- we need to be healthy.

So it's time to be perfectly honest, real and motivational. Here is what really matters:

1) Eat the treats you love, but be reasonable. Keep them as treats. I seriously love egg nog, I say yes to it every single time it's offered. One to two glasses, then I politely decline. It's also something I don't have often in the house. Food, especially high fat and sugar food, creates an addictive response in the brain. It's hard to resist those impulses if your weaknesses are in the house. Between now and New years, I'll probably be at five to six parties where someone will offer egg nog. I'll bring it into the house three or four times, because I'm human. I'm aware of it, it stays a treat. I'm not looking for a way to make it low fat, or pseudo healthy. This is my favorite treat, so i'll drink the full fat, high sugar a few times. It makes me happy, but it stays a treat.

When the holiday season ends tighten back up.

2) Don't get out of routine. I find this is the big problem. The extra demand on time has people leave behind their healthy rituals. Adding an extra 1,000 calories because its the holidays and you are going to eat the good stuff, can't go along with sitting on the couch. In fact, I like to encourage people to get outside more. With the extra days off, and more time with the family, start taking it out doors. Want to be really unique? Book a sleigh ride. Head out to the country and get old school with your family. Google "hay rides and your city" lots of options. FYI -- It's hard to eat while on a hay ride. Also, let your kids throw each other off the sleigh. Country kids do it all the time -- it's why we are tough. Sure you may have to make a trip to the hospital because of a broken bone, but think about it, they don't serve dainties in emergency waiting rooms. The family can sit around and talk, and there is no temptation. Little Johnny can take one for the weight loss team.

3) Ease up on the booze -- tons of extra calories here. This is where I really hold strong. I'm not a big drinker. I prefer to not alter my state of mind in life. However, it does happen from time to time. Fortunately I'm a conversationalist, and I can get along with pretty much anyone. Alcohol is one of the biggest culprits in North American weight gain. It also ruins egg nog, so I have an issue with it there as well (I really like egg nog). Instead of lots of booze, switch to sparkling water, and please, make your own,. Nothing beats taking water from the tap, connecting it to a SodaStream and making your own homemade option. Add some fresh fruit for that infused taste no preservatives, and you have saved calories and chemicals. Drink your drinks, but mix in a pure carbonated water.

4) Donate your time -- this has nothing to do with weight loss, it's just a good thing to do. Get into the holiday spirit by giving your time and money to anything that speaks to your soul. That deep down happy feeling when you realize how good you have it is irreplaceable. Honestly, there is no better moment then when you first realize just how truly happy you really can be.

This holiday season, and everyday of your life, don't make it about weight gain and weight loss. Take a stand against all this nonsense about not eating delicious treats. Our goal shouldn't be anything other than being healthy. It's something that should just be a natural part of our life.

Simply just:

1) Learn proper portion sizes from a registered dietitian and stick to them 80% of the time.

2) Eat local, fresh, healthy food 80 per cent of the time.

3) Move as often as you can because your a human, and we should play, not sit in front of TVs and computers. Seriously, go for a hay ride.

4) Don't let any fitness person make you feel bad for your size, let your doctor make you feel bad if you aren't caring for your health. Your blood pressure, blood sugar, resting heart rate, and other health markers are more important than anything. If your doctor says change, change. No shame, just health. A healthy body, diet, and exercise plan and your happiness will have you at your best weight. If you are happy, I'm happy.

5) Enjoy the holidays. Keep treats as treats, enjoy conversation, participate in activities. Don't worry about trying to make your favorite treat into a healthy option. Be smart, have fun, stay active, and just enjoy the beauty that is the holiday season.

Honestly, this is a great time of year. We've got 10 other months where we don't take time off to be with family and friends. So don't be the stick in the mud who ruins my egg nog with a healthy recipe from some magazine. Don't try to make my cookies with apple sauce instead of sugar. For the love of God, don't make me warm up after being outside with anything other than a full cup of really amazing hot chocolate.

Practice a little self control, and a lot of smiling.

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