No one wants to be a holiday buzzkill, but with a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report finding that by 2030 half of all U.S. adults will suffer from obesity, the holidays are an important time to be smart about indulging. Several studies have found that adult weight gain is significant during the period from the last week of November through early January.

The good news is that you can enjoy yourself and make smarter choices. The key is planning.

Headed to a party? Consider what kinds of food and alcohol will be on the menu and decide ahead of time how much you are going to indulge. Maybe this will be your “free day” and you’ll stay on track the remaining six days this week. If not, it’s time to practice moderation. Choose one or two things that you know you’ll enjoy, and have a small portion of each.

Balance these indulgences with healthier choices such as veggies, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep yourself feeling full. You can give yourself an advantage by snacking on something nutritious before you leave the house. And, by all means, do not hang out by the dessert table.

Are you throwing a party yourself? This is your chance to try out some healthier recipes – think smoked salmon and veggies with flavorful dips.

Providing alcohol? No problem, you are the host. It is your responsibility to make sure all of your guests have a good time and get home safely. Use that as an excuse not to drink or have more than one or two beverages for the night. Switching off between alcohol and water is a great way to keep a drink in your hand and cut out those extra empty calories.

Remember: Liquors, sweet wines and most cocktails will contain anywhere between 150 to 450 calories. Watch out for those high-calorie beverages. Opt for less-calorie-dense drinks such as light beers and drier wines. Use non calorie mixers such as club soda, diet sodas and water.

Baking or making a bunch of non-healthy goodies? Send everyone home with a goody bag. If you have to lend out your favorite containers with your food, that’s just another excuse to see your friends again.

Finally, we know that exercise falls off during the busy holiday season. If you can’t stick to your normal exercise routine, try sneaking in a walk with friends or family, start a holiday hike tradition or try some basic exercises such as push-ups, squats or planks at home to start your day right. Getting something in during the day is better than nothing at all.

John Pecchia


John Pecchia is owner of Get In Shape For Women in Porter Square.