Ester Marsh: Keep moving through the holiday season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2022

Last week, I wrote about how to survive the holidays and focused on eating. This week, I’d like to give some tips on how to keep (or start) moving. A typical American will gain 5-10 pounds over the holidays because of an increased calorie intake and decrease exercise schedule. If you have challenges to do it on your own please check around town with us at the Y, Weight Watchers, parks and rec, the Forum, Rowan Salisbury Runners, and others to see if they have a program that will help you survive the holidays. Something else that works very well is to “hook up” with a friend. Make a commitment to each other and go as far as signing a contract! Have penalties if one of you does not uphold the “contract.” Below is a “Holiday Survival Checklist:”

• It is all about planning. Plan your workouts and schedule your holiday functions so that you don’t overbook yourself. Honestly, that party will still go on even when you are not there!

• Get support. Take advantage of community programs to stay safe and healthy through the holidays, or get a “buddy system” going. Commit to each other and have penalties when the contract is not followed (not so severe that you lose your friend!). Make sure when you start your planning session to set a doable plan. If you “just” put down your wish list, knowing it will be next to impossible to uphold, you set yourself up for failure.

• Keep your eyes open. Weigh once a week. Be aware how your clothes fit (they really don’t lie). Make your goal not to gain weight throughout the holiday season, and if weight loss is needed, focus on that after the holidays. By not gaining weight, you will be ahead of most Americans who will gain the 5-10 pounds.

• When you get together with family and friends, schedule group walks before or after your big meals, which was something we regularly did when I was growing up in the Netherlands. I will be flying out tomorrow to go home to celebrate my older sister’s 60th birthday, so no column from me next week.

• Most importantly, enjoy the holidays. So often I hear the grumbles about having to go to yet another function, how much it costs, gaining weight, etc. Take the reins in your hands, plan functions that will work in your schedule. Have a budget and stick with it. Believe that you can make it through the holidays without gaining weight and continue to move. Remember, you can break up your 30 minutes per day throughout the day!

With proper planning, work, dedication and a friend or loved one helping you exercise, I believe you can do it!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.