December is one of my favorite months of the year. Although the days are short, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s are all within a few days of each other. The celebrations and parties that take place are often fun, but can also derail your healthy eating plans. Below are my tips for staying in shape and enjoying yourself through the holidays.

1. Keep up with your workouts

On the road, I try to be flexible about my workouts, but not flexible about working out. Typically, I workout 5-6 days a week. On my rest days, I remain active by practicing yoga or going for a walk. I recently stayed in a hotel that only had two rickety treadmills and no strength training equipment. I completed my cardio workouts by running outside. I started traveling with resistance bands a few months ago, which I used to perform my strength workouts. I also experimented with a barre class! Vacation is a great time to try something new since may find yourself away from your local gym and routine.

2. Eat dessert

Dessert is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I’m easily tempted by a good pumpkin pie or a rich chocolate cake. I am a proponent of eating dessert-as long as it doesn’t contain anything you’re allergic or intolerant to. One dessert will not cancel out the work you’ve been putting in during the entire year. I love to recreate traditional recipes with healthful ingredients so that I can enjoy my desserts knowing I’m eating real food. This year, I made allergy-friendly chocolate cupcakes and a paleo-inspired pumpkin pie!

3. Stay active

Living an active lifestyle is about more than the one hour per day that you spend in the gym. It’s also about what you do with your other 23 hours. Stay active by walking anywhere that you can. I stayed in a hotel about a mile from where my relatives were located, so I began my mornings with a brief uphill walk. It was calming to have some time to myself each day, take in some sunlight, and stretch my legs. I also stay active by always taking the stairs. Yes, they’re still there, usually looking lonely next to the escalator. I’m often surprised by how many flights I’ve climbed at the end of the day!

4. Have fun

I don’t know about you, but I am much more motivated to workout and eat healthily when I’m in a good mood. So gather your family and friends for a Christmas run or fitness class. Encouraging others to accompany you will inspire you to continue working out through the holidays. Most importantly, remember that this time only comes around once a year, so it’s best to make the most of it!

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