As we are in the midst of the colder months, it can be a lot harder to find motivation to be as active as in the warmer part of the year.
Whether it's sleeping in to stay warm instead of usual morning workouts or curling up in front of the TV with your favorite candy instead of an evening walk, our lifestyles tend to change a little bit during the winter.
These increased sedentary patterns are not the most figure friendly and, of course, not encouraged.
I am very active and I love to be outside, but it is hard to get excited about it when it's gloomy, cloudy, windy and rainy outdoors. While the weather changing is a fact, it cannot be an excuse to be less active and to just eat because we are bored and comfy.
No matter what the reason for being less active and overeating, I am bringing you 12 things to do to avoid falling into these bad holiday habits that can also be used all winter long:
Don't celebrate the holidays the entire month: Have your big plate of food and extra serving of dessert on the actual celebrated holiday. If you have eight holiday parties and choose to indulge at every single one, you will pay the price -- this is in your control.
Go for a walk after dinner even though it's cold. Once you get your muscles moving you will warm up in no time and you will not regret it. The extra calories burned can be very helpful at this time of year.
Don't bring food out of the kitchen or eating area: Do not sit on the couch or in bed with food. Curling up on the couch or in bed watching TV can be the ultimate trap for an insane amount of added calories. I had what I thought was a "medium" sized bag of trail mix on the couch with me once, only to realize there were 160 calories per serving with eight servings per bag -- I ate the entire bag. Unless it's a protein shake or a piece of fruit, do not bring a big of chips and other high-calorie snacks to a place where you might zone out.
Play charades or twister instead of watching a movie or TV show.
Set meal interval timers in your phone to be sure you are not under eating or over eating (can be done at any time of year).
Sweets in moderation: Have your favorite dessert on the holiday, but just a small portion. Do not go for a bunch of artificially sweet things to curb your craving because they can actually increase cravings.
Drink a glass of water and then decide if you are actually hungry before you eat something. Keep yourself busy on a task if you still have an hour or so to go until your next meal.
Do the 10-, 20-, 30- or 45-minute at-home workouts from my "Beware of workout myths" column (Oct. 20).
Pick an unhealthy recipe that you love to eat and create your own healthy rendition.
Play cards with your friends or family. The loser(s) have to do 20 push-ups.
Find a fitness buddy that you can meet at the gym that will force you to get up even when you are really cold and unmotivated.
Remember that results are near and fitness is much more important than laziness, boredom and excuses.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.