Fit and Fab Through the Holidays


By Susan Authement Dunnam
Here come the holidays which means it’s very likely that all of your healthy habits and routines tend to go right out the window. I have healthy foods that I consistently eat and my weekly exercise is a priority. Then here comes Thanksgiving week when the family gets together and makes all of their favorite calorie ridden dishes, because it’s tradition and it comforts us. But you don’t need to get derailed from that day on. Tell yourself that you’ll get back to your healthier habits for your New Year’s resolution. And, you can actually enjoy all of the above.

Below are a few tips I use to minimize the negative impact holidays can have on your body and your mind:

1) The holidays are a great time to mix up your exercise routine.
Grab a family member or someone you are spending time with and take a long walk. It’s the best time to share some quality time while keeping your cardio up. To take it a step further, try a new exercise class on black Friday. We keep the studio open Friday after Thanksgiving, because it’s the perfect time for travelers or regulars to keep their Pilates routines rolling. Just keep moving and be creative; don’t fall into the trap of the all or nothing mindset.

2) Water, water and more water.
I can’t say enough about the importance of water to keep you hydrated so you aren’t as likely to overeat. And you’ll minimize the bloating from the extra sugar and salt in the holiday foods. I carry a large bottle with me at all times, especially during the holidays. Trust me, you are less likely to splurge if you are hydrated; I truly believe water is the number one best beauty secret of all.

3) Plan ahead.
You are more likely to exercise if you have planned it in advance. Exercise early and make sure you plan on getting into bed early when you can. I also plan ahead by bringing healthy snacks with me at all times. Keeping almonds, fruit, hummas/celery and cheese sticks with you is a great way to help you keep from grabbing those doughnuts or unhealthy snacks when hunger hits.

4) Portion control.
Make sure you go easy on the appetizers and use a smaller plate if necessary. Be mindful of what you are putting on your plate and don’t stand while mindlessly eating and talk. I personally try to minimize or stay away from holiday favorites such as eggnog which can be 220 calories or more for 1/2 cup with 140 coming from fat. And don’t forget all of the empty calories that are in alcohol and the headache and non productivity that usually comes along with it. I personally don’t even take the first bite of foods and drinks that I know I will indulge in. However, be careful not to throw in the towel if you go a bit crazy for the night.

5) Get some “alone” time.
I can’t stress enough the importance of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and “recharging your batteries.” Family, friends, shopping, driving, etc. can really drain your energy level. So disconnecting, even if for only 15 minutes of solitude in the midst of chaos, can help clear your mind, revitalize you and give you a more positive attitude upon your return. I avoid triggers if at all possible and try to remember that we are all in this thing called life together. If someone is trying your patience this holiday, give them a little grace and try not to let them steal your joy.

These practical tips are not only good for the holidays, but for a healthy lifestyle in general. Try to take baby steps in the right direction knowing it sometimes takes at least 30 days to form a new healthy habit. The holidays are meant for us to reconnect with loved ones and disconnect a little from work and our commitments. I hope this holiday season exceeds your expectations and that if you do indulge, make it only for the night and not for the season. Remember new mercies always come in the morning. May God bless you richly.

Susan Authement Dunnam, Owner Destin Pilates and Aerial, is passionate about helping people become strong and flexible. Visit Destin Pilates Center at, email SUSANPILATES@YAHOO.COM or call 850-460-2828.