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Your Strategy for Success During the Holiday Season

Your Strategy for Success During the Holiday Season

Over the next 4 weeks, the Holiday party season will be in full swing. For some of you, you will be attending one or two parties a weekend, and greeted by your hosts with bountiful food and libations. This time of year is the best time to celebrate the season and enjoy time with family and friends.  But if you are not careful, you can overdo the festivities and end up setting yourself back over the holiday season.

Just how many calories can you consume in 1 party? (approximate values):

1 Alcoholic Drink: 120 calories to 300 calories.

1 Cup of Cider: 120 calories.

1 Cup of Eggnog: 350 calories.

½ Cup of Mixed Nuts: 400 calories.

1 Ounce of Chips: 200 calories.

1 Slice of Dessert: 400 calories to 800 calories.


But who stops at 1 drink, ½ cups of nuts, and 1 ounce of chips???

So, triple the amounts for each of these and you are looking at upwards of 2200 calories…but that doesn’t include having a meal! A large holiday dinner, like Thanksgiving, can add up to anywhere between 3000 calories to 4500 calories.

The trouble comes when we have to deal with those extra calories that we have packed into our bodies:

If you consider that if you were to run at a moderate pace for 1 mile you will burn about 100 calories. In order to burn off your Holiday party…let’s say a drink, appetizers, dinner and dessert of about 4500 calories…you will need to run 45 Miles!


Tips for Holiday Parties

Please don’t consider this a blog that is suggesting you should forgo enjoying your favorite holiday foods.  Let’s be realistic. You can indulge but by having a strategy during the party season, you can still enjoy yourself, eat your favorite foods, and not gain any weight as we head in to the new year.

  • Plan your meals. 4500 calories is no joke! So if you know that you are going to be heading to a party or two every weekend, limit your intake at other meals but don’t skip meals. Skipping meals pre-party may give you a false sense of opportunity to indulge, not to mention you will end up binging based on feeling starved by the time you get to the party. Make your meals lighter and include healthier, lower calorie foods. For instance, if you are going to be at a party for lunch, eat a smaller breakfast and dinner.  If most parties are on the weekend, consider eating much lighter during the entire week.

  •  Look at the big picture. Maybe save the indulging for particular parties that may feature unique locations or foods, and keep your intake lower on parties that don’t particularly have “gourmet” foods…why waste the calories on this event and go light.  In other words, no need to indulge at every party.  Be choosy on where the weight of your calorie consumption lies. Two parties a weekend may need a bit more calorie management depending on the party.

  • Drink Water between special/alcoholic drinks. If you are sipping a glass of chardonnay and then find you’ve finished it…fill it back up with water.  It will slow your consumption of alcohol and rehydrate your body. Water is essential to stave off that winter bloat while you are taking in the extra carbs and salt from those appetizers and heavy meals.   And if you find yourself needing to sip on a glass of something to keep those party jitters busy, then sip on water in your wine glass…no one will notice you’ve replaced the wine with water.

  • Keep moving. The last thing you need this time of year is a slowed-down metabolism.  Staying active is a great way to give your body a fighting chance to negotiate the extra calories you will be consuming.  Take a friend up on a quick walk during lunch or a stroll around the block once the kids get on the bus. Even a 15-minute walk is better than nothing!  

Or as I have done with a couple friends...take part in a local 5k! *(see picture above)-Why not walk a 5k with friends? Most races this time of year are Holiday themed, so you not only boost your exercise but you also get a shot of Holiday spirit! And most importantly 5k races are a great way to support fundraisers for your community and medical research.


Here are some additional exercise ideas: No time for a local race? Fear of getting involved in a race? Bare minimum take a walk and do regular strength training exercise.  A walk or a few strengthening exercises will burn calories and boost your metabolism.

Here are some simple strengthening exercises you can do no matter where you are—whether in your office at work, at home with the kids, or out of town visiting friends or family: (Do not attempt if you have an active injury in any part of your body).

  1. Push-ups: If you aren’t used to doing push-ups, start with your hands on a raised surface such as a wall or desk. As you gain strength, you can gradually move to doing them fully on the floor.
  2. March in place: March and move arms in pace with your legs.
  3. Lunges: Step out in front of you far enough that your knee cap does not go past the front of your foot. Hold for a second and then step back to meet back up with your other foot at the starting position. For extra credit, hold dumbbells or other heavy objects in your hands while lunging.
  4. Squats: To do a proper squat, lower yourself just as though you are about to sit into a chair, then raise back up.
  5. Step-ups: Find the nearest step and with alternating legs, step onto the step with one leg then lower yourself back down.  Again, holding heavy objects in each hand will increase the effect. 

There is no need to pack on the pounds this Holiday Season!  Figure out a plan now, and then when the festivities start, just work this strategy!

If for any reason you feel that an injury is holding you back from taking that quick walk, enjoying your usual exercise class or trying these exercises, give me a call or email at BodyFiT Physical Therapy, 860-507-7365; cindy@bodyfitphysicaltherapy.com.

Don’t let an injury stop you from enjoying this Holiday Season!