Traveling for the holidays or going to parties can make it hard to stick to your fitness routine and eating goals. University of Richmond’s wellness experts can help you enjoy the holidays while navigating these common stressors.

Assistant director of wellness Heather Sadowski says when it comes to food, you need to remember the three “Ms” – moderation, mindfulness and move.

The best way to enjoy the foods you want to eat the most are to do so in moderation. Sadowski recommends eating a high protein snack shortly before attending a holiday party. “If you eat a cup of yogurt or handful of nuts, you won’t be as hungry when you get to the party and will be less likely to overeat.”

“Be mindful of how many and how much when it comes to food and drinks,” says Sadowski. “Holiday parties are often filled with smaller, bite size treats, but if you eat 15 or 20 of something, you might be taking in a lot more calories than you think.”

Sadowski also cautions against too many holiday beverages. “Many seasonal drinks incorporating the flavors of gingerbread or peppermint may be very high in sugar.”

One of the simplest ways to avoid overeating at a holiday party is to move away from the food. “Scope out the buffet, add the treats you want most to a single plate, then grab your friends and move to a section of the room away from the food to socialize,” Sadowski suggests. “That will help eliminate the temptation to grab more food.”

UR’s fitness manager Sarah Sheppard says it’s also important to make sure you keep moving and that your exercise doesn’t take a holiday break. She offers five tips:

  • Get the whole family involved. Take a walk around the neighborhood or to the park. The more people, the more motivation.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning if you are traveling to ensure you get it done.
  • Check out gyms near where you are visiting for free trials or guest passes.
  • Tell someone about your fitness goals. “If you tell your family members or friends that you plan to jog or walk a mile every day over the holiday break, you are much more likely to do it,” Sheppard says.
  • Finally, get extra steps. “Park further away at the mall or store while holiday shopping or take the stairs instead of the escalator in the airport,” she suggests.

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