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updated: 11/27/2012 9:53 AM

Avoid excuses and stay healthy this holiday season

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  • Turkey served with vegetables is a healthy way to go at the holidays.

    Turkey served with vegetables is a healthy way to go at the holidays.


The holiday season is upon us. For many, it's a wonderful time of year that's spent with family and friends. The days between Thanksgiving and New Year's seem to be filled with countless gatherings that are often centered around food and drinks.

It's also the time of year when there seems to be a carefree attitude with keeping up on proper nutrition and exercise. Most people end up gaining weight as the year wraps up and many will struggle to take it back off. Rather than finding yourself in a bad situation come January, let's identify some common misconceptions that could stand in the way of you staying on track during the holiday season.

Misconception No. 1: It's normal to gain weight during the holidays so I won't worry too much about it. Well, obviously with that attitude weight gain is inevitable. The good news is, we have plenty of clients who will continue to lose weight this time of year. The main reason for their success is that they have time-sensitive goals that are more important than the two minutes of satisfaction they might get from eating a box of chocolates. Your priorities should always be within view.

Misconception No. 2: I'll just wait until the New Year to get my health on track. Procrastination is never a good thing, but to think that a New Year's resolution is going to change everything might not be the best game plan. Starting over is tough, and many resolutions are not sensible enough to maintain. Your best option is to enjoy yourself over the holidays, but not at the expense of having to start over again come January. Now is the time to make change.

Misconception No. 3: I can eat whatever I want as long as I just do more cardio to burn off those extra calories. If you're still following the calories in/calories out philosophy, your views on nutrition may be falling short. Food is our fuel. Our bodies utilize critical nutrients from food, not just calories. Doing an hour on the treadmill will not offset the sugary dessert you had the night before.

Misconception No. 4: It's impossible to throw a holiday party with healthy food. Sure, healthy recipes can be tricky, but it's amazing how good wholesome foods can be if prepared correctly. Dishes like turkey, roast beef, sweet potatoes and baked vegetables can taste amazing and offer a good nutrient to calorie ratio. Try desserts that have fruit as the main ingredient, such as baked apples with a bit of cinnamon and a sprinkle of granola. Healthy dishes should be the foundation of your party menu.

Misconception No. 5: If I don't try every dish at a party, I might offend the host. This is our favorite, and we hear it all the time! Yes, you may get picked on a little bit if you skip dessert while everyone else is tasting everything on the dessert table, but is that really so bad? Rather than thinking that you might be perceived as the outcast, take the lead and set a good example. No one will think badly of you.

So rather than giving in this time of year to temptations and finding yourself regretting it in January, set yourself up for success right now. You'll be proud of yourself in the long run. For healthy recipe ideas, check out Push Fitness on Pinterest or Facebook.

Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at

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