darren-nolander-food-featuredIt’s the time of year where we wish each other happy holidays and toast to good health and a prosperous new year. The only problem is we usually make said statements as we’re overindulging in heavy foods and alcohol while failing to obtain enough sleep, water and exercise. Oh, the irony. Thankfully, we rarely do any long-term harm to ourselves as long as these little indulgences are few and far between and do not kick off a slew of other poor choices.

Nevertheless, starting the New Year off feeling tired, bloated, dehydrated and heavy is no way to live. So don’t save it for Jan. 1. Take a few small steps now to keep yourself on track through 2018. After all, it seems kind of silly to create a resolution inspired by your unhealthy holiday habits, doesn’t it?

You don’t have to run a marathon on the weekends or devote your entire lunch hour to Crossfit to punish yourself for those extra treats, however. A little extra activity here and there should do the trick. Plus, activity has many other benefits as well.


You’ve heard of being “high on life” – and that’s just what exercise does! It releases those feel-good endorphins that can keep you in the spirit all holiday season long. Cardio also helps you feel good on the inside and look good on the outside, which makes you feel even better on the inside. This added confidence can be just what you need to not just get through all the obligatory networking, family and other holiday parties, but to thrive at them. This feeling is also contagious, so your Christmas cheer may very well spread.

Running, skiing, even a game of hoops with co-workers or a jumping session on the trampoline with your kids can get your heart pumping, shedding that extra weight and putting a smile on your face!


Cardio can be wonderful, but the opportunity to run four miles isn’t omnipresent, which is why walking is a great substitution. Walking is particularly useful right after a binge session, whether that be at Christmas dinner, the holiday party or a work lunch gone overboard. If you have time, set out after the noshfest to get your system and those extra rum balls moving. If this isn’t possible, try a longer walk once you’re home that evening. Adding a morning walk the following day is also a great way to fend off lingering affects like bloat and stomach pain.

Like cardio, a little jaunt through nature can also be a great way to get those endorphins flowing. Natural sunlight is always a great addition to any day, but if weather doesn’t allow this, an indoor track or treadmill will do the job just fine.


There may be a lot of activities on our radar this time of year, but that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily a lot of “activity” scheduled. In fact, the holiday season can involve very little movement. Waiting in line at the mall, watching holiday movies, standing around at parties holding appetizer plates, sitting on airplanes and generally going into hibernation mode due to cold weather can leave us more sedentary than ever. This lack of movement can also leave you feeling disconnected from your body. So do it a favor and spend some time with it. This is easily achieved with a little stretching.

A few elongating moves in a quiet, peaceful place provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect with oneself and get the juices flowing. If you have time for a yoga class, that’s great. If time isn’t permitting, you can still knock this activity out just about anywhere. A few minutes on the train platform, after washing your hands in the bathroom, while sitting at your desk, before going to bed or the first thing after you wake up in the morning all provide the small windows necessary to get the blood pumping.


A larger quantity of food and drink means a larger quantity of energy we need to burn off in the form of calories. Therefore, if you’ve overindulged you have additional glycogen built up that, if unused, will eventually be stored as fat. We don’t have to take a food scale with us to know that we’ve eaten too much. You know your body best, and can probably estimate with relative accuracy whether you’ve overdone it and how to combat this onslaught of yumminess.

This is where an hour-long workout before or after work can really make an impact. Even a lifting session can quickly burn through some of those calories. Many cities also offer a variety of fun runs like Turkey Trots and Santa Runs this time of year that build up a little sweat equity before the big eating event. Another great way to combat overeating is to moderate our intake throughout the rest of the day or the next morning. Listen to your body and see if it really is hungry for that big breakfast after last night’s feast, or if it could use a break.

A little self-love can bring you tithings of great joy this holiday season.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.