9 Tips to Stay on Track During the Holidays


Do you like how I through a run pun into my title?!

It’s always tough to find balance during the holiday season. I want to indulge, relax, and enjoy the time with friends and family. On the flip side, I want to stay in shape and avoid holiday weight gain.

Here are some tips to help with both!

1.  When you have a chance to eat healthy, do it! My husband and I both come from southern families. That means good southern cooking…definitely not the healthiest.  So, I try to make good choices on the days leading up to their meals.


2.  Allow yourself to indulge!  I don’t know about you, but as soon as I tell myself that I can’t have a food, I immediately start to crave that food. The holidays are a special time of year and I want to enjoy them. If I want a treat, I’ll have one. Just don’t overindulge.  Everything in moderation.


3.  Limit your alcohol consumption. I know that doesn’t sound like fun, but just remember…everything in moderation. Not only does alcohol add more calories, but it decreases your judgement and that’s when I make really bad food choices (hello Taco Bell drive-thru!).


4.  Be picky! I’m guilty of going down the buffet and putting a spoonful of everything on my plate, even if I don’t love it. Why eat the extra calories if you don’t love the food? At the risk of offending a family member or friend, only eat the foods that you really enjoy.

5.  When you’re at a dinner or party, don’t sit next to the food.  I find myself reaching for seconds and thirds even if I’m not really hungry, because it’s right in front of me.  Studies show that we eat less when we leave the food in the kitchen and eat in the dining room.

6.  Snack before you go to a party.  This allows me to choose a healthy snack food.  If I arrive starving, I end up making terrible choices.

7.  Start the day off right!  I make morning workouts a priority especially during the holidays. It’s so easy to get too busy and skip a run if you’re waiting until the evening. Just schedule it for first thing and then you can relax and enjoy the day!


8.  Speaking of starting the day off right, I like to drink a Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning. It insures that I get lots of healthy fruits and veggies, fills me up, and gives me energy for the day.


9.  Remain positive!  The holidays can get stressful. Make sure to pause and enjoy your friends and family. If you overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. Just get up the next morning, go for a run or take a workout class, and get back on track!


Do you have any tips to stay on track during the holidays? 

Do you stick to your normal run schedule or do you take a break?

What’s your favorite holiday indulgence?  My favorites are sweet potato casserole and my Gran’s homemade cookies!!

Are you travelling for Thanksgiving?  Where to?  We’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Kentucky with my husband’s family:)


Join the Conversation

  • Sarah @ KS Runner

    I finally just started letting myself enjoy foods. Even if its not healthy, I let myself have it. I’ll end up eating a bunch of other things to avoid something unhealthy, nothing satisfies the craving, so I end up eating it anyway – along with a bunch of other unnecessary calories! I try to avoid stuff that I can have anytime during the year and just have the things that are special to the holidays or that are made by people I only see a few times a year.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I love the idea of enjoying the foods that you can only get during the holidays!

  • chasing26point2

    I am really trying my hardest to stay on track Thanksgiving through Christmas! I’m actually going to give a little 24 day cleanse/challenge a try. It starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends the week of Christmas. It’s not too strict where I will be a Debbie downer at all of the Holiday parties, but enough to keep me on track and motivated. Training starts Jan 5th for me:) Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      24 days is super impressive especially during the holidays…good for you!!!

  • Chelsy

    Great tips! I always start the morning with a smoothie too. Happy Thanksgiving, Jen!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  • narindipity

    I just love your tips, Jen! Especially #2: allowing myself to indulge a little, means I can keep myself accountable the rest of the time.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Much love,

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks so much and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  • Rae

    I have a running question for you. I have run for several years and will run a half marathon in a few weeks. I’ve never been able to dial in my nutrition well. I use Gus but they tend to cause stomach cramping. Do you have another suggestion? I have eaten crackers, etc but they are hard to manage while running. Thanks for all the advice, encouragement and accountability. It’s helpful – especially during the holiday season. And keep the posts coming – great blog.

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Have you tried huma gels? Theyre easier on my stomach than gu. Theyre all natural, vegan, and gliten free. Also, ill carry pretzels on me when im trail running.

      • Rae

        I will try them! and pretzels – of course! Thanks so much!

  • Running ‘N’ Reading

    Love the picture of the cat – hilarious!! :) I’m with you; I definitely make it out for some exercise first thing, then I don’t feel quite as bad if I eat a couple of treats and I tend to make better decisions after my run, as well. Thanks so much for this timely post, Jen! Hope y’all have a great time and a safe trip!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  • FLRunnerBoy

    Great tips Jen!!! I’m loving the meme for tip #2 haha lol 😛 :)

    • jenchoosesjoy

      It cracked me up!

      • FLRunnerBoy

        Yep! That’s so me after a red velvet splurge lol :)

  • lmicklich

    I went back to Chicago for Thanksgiving…should have stayed in Kentucky as we sat through four extra hours of traffic! One tip I use (even not on holidays) is that if I am drinking and reach for a not-so-healthy food, I have my husband ask, “Would you eat that sober?” But I do indulge in a piece of homemade apple pie :)

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I have never heard of the sober question. I love that!!!!