Secrets to Holiday Success 

The holidays can be a tough time to stick to exercise and healthy eating, but it can be done if you take the right approach.  

One secret to holiday success is to prioritize movement, says Ann Marie Wakula, a certified trainer and an over-40 mother of three.  

Wakula is the host of the Fitness Over 40 series, brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The three-minute videos feature tips and mini-workouts people can incorporate into their daily lives, even at home.  

“Even if you don’t have time for your normal workout, just get in more steps throughout the day,” Wakula said. 

 Make time to move 

That strategy worked for Megan Petras, a mother of three. She credits regular exercise for helping her drop 56 pounds and get back into shape. She found an app with a great trainer and started small. Her workouts grew from 30 minutes a few times a week to an hour-long five days a week. 

“I feel fantastic. I have more energy. I feel like I’m a good role model for my kids,” Petras said. 

Another secret to holiday health success is watching what you eat. Registered dietician at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Shanthi Appelo recommends going into the holidays with a plan.  

 “Bringing your own food can be a great solution, so you know you’re going to be in control of what you put into that food, the sugar, the fat,” Appelo said. “What works for me the best is to not deprive myself of my favorite things but really do enjoy them in moderation. If it’s my grandma’s favorite cookie, I will have one of them and really get the maximum satisfaction out of that.” 

 Stay in control 

Wakula recommends volunteering to host holiday events so you can control the menu, plan activities and stay active with family and friends.  

“What gets people into trouble is going back for multiple helpings, so create your plate and prioritize protein and vegetables, small portions of those heavy carbs,” Wakula said. “Also, you know what your goals are overall. Does your plate match your goals?” 

She also advises to “snack wisely and remember not to drink your calories.” 

Look for future Fitness over 40 videos at AHealthierMichigan.org. 

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