by Marina Andalon

During the festive season temptations rise to skip the gym and break the diet, especially with the holiday season in full effect.

With Thanksgiving behind us, comes the endless shopping. Not to mention the holiday office parties and the tasty treats that your neighbors baked just for you that might just break your diet.

“I think many American’s today overeat in general, that is one of our biggest problems. Especially with the holidays people are eating cookies, ice cream, candies, and cakes there is just so much going on. This is on top of what people are already eating,” said Tom Williams, CEO of Burn Fitness.

According to the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, a study taken in 2015 regarding holiday weight gain said, “The average American gains five pounds or more over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day”.

Today so many holiday events revolve around delicious food and sugary cocktails, making it almost impossible to resist. With so many desserts to choose from, and sugary drinks, it is no surprise many of our waistlines grow and the scale goes up a few numbers. Even the most dedicated athletes find it difficult to stay on track.

Thomas Roe, Fitness Trainer said, “Once Turkey day hits, it is all down hill from there. Most members focus on holiday parties, Hanukah, shopping and their day to day fitness routine fall by the wayside.”

The holiday season calls for a lot of shopping, events to attend, and holiday parties from family, to office gatherings. Many of these activities cause people skip a workout or drive to the nearest fast food restaurant, resulting in weight gain.

“We definitely see a decline from Thanksgiving to New Years, and it is not because people don’t want to go to the gym but they are traveling and going to holiday events”, said Williams. “I think something very important is how you eat. Nutrition is 95% of the process while the other 5% is exercise.”

Before you hit the panic button, follow these tips and maybe this year you can prevent the weight gain and maybe even lose a few pounds.

First thing is first, have a plan. Sit down, research and coordinate what plan works for you. Start simple and make sure it is a comfortable program that can fit your lifestyle. This is where you can set your goals, and maybe even team up with a friend or family member to hold each other accountable.

When it comes to the food and treats this holiday season eat in moderation. “Of course you can have a cookie, of course you can have a slice of pumpkin pie. Yes you have a piece of the dark turkey, but you shouldn’t eat the whole thing. You shouldn’t eat a whole tray of cookies or the whole pumpkin pie, it is all about moderation,” said Williams.

“For people who are just starting to exercise, ask family and friends for tips. Take it slow; don’t head out on a 10k when you have never run before. Also get guidance from your primary care physician, they focus on your personal physical benefits of exercise and can help guide you. Suggesting the best exercise for you,” said

Jennifer Beck MD, Assistant Clinical Professor for Orthopedic Surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Roe believes it is best to schedule a time to workout each day. “Think of fitness like brushing your teeth or bathing, it is something you do everyday (if not twice a day). Also research gyms that fit your lifestyle and goals and participate in a few of the classes.”

Sometimes gym memberships can be a bit pricey, and almost unaffordable during the festive season. Or maybe you can’t get to your gym and back in a reasonable time, there is still an opportunity to get a sweat. “You don’t need a gym to workout. Anyone can step out their front door and walk around the block for thirty minutes,” said Williams. “That is way better than doing nothing, and to be honest the gym is just a bonus.”

This holiday season can be the one where physical activity is involved in your daily routine along with healthy nutrition. Roe said, “The only bad workout is the one you miss.”