Closeup on young woman eating cookies with hot chocolate near Christmas treeIt might just have to do with your friends.

Most of us are still recovering from over-indulging at Thanksgiving, and now it’s almost Christmas/Hanukkah, and then there’s New Year’s to worry about. It’s party, after party, after piles of leftovers in the office kitchen to “Just one more candy cane and I promise I’ll stop.” Oh. And the eggnog. Let’s not forget the eggnog. I don’t even like it — who does, really? — but somehow it tastes like the best thing on earth when it’s in a big giant bowl with a huge ladle surrounded by lightly-iced gingerbread men hovering nearby. Even the most diehard clean eater can fall off his or her quinoa wagon face-first into a big giant tray of chocolate chip cookies. Warm, of course. With maybe a little sea salt sprinkle on top? And, be honest:  how many of the parties you’re being invited to do you expect to offer vegan stevia-sweetened cookies and uncured pigs in gluten-free blankets? Exactly.

The point is, the holidays are tough enough when it comes to eating healthy. Why shoot yourself in the foot by hanging with people who are constantly pushing you to have just one more piece of peppermint bark or one more cocktail and skip that morning workout?

So, if you find yourself being sucked into abandoning your exercise routine over the holidays, maybe chill from those who are acting like the devil on your shoulder and instead tag along with people who are getting out there and hiking on the weekends. Consider joining a running club, biking club or walking club just for the holidays. If you live in an area that is super-cold or has a lot of inclement weather, there are indoor tracks and yes, there is the mall that you can walk early in the morning. Find one friend to be an accountability partner and sign up for some private sessions with a trainer together. It’s amazing what kind of motivation you will find when some money is on the line. Make it your holiday gift to yourself! Practice making healthy recipes for the nights when you will eat at home. And do make sure to eat at home most nights. Don’t get sucked into going to every party that your friends try and get you to go to. Pick the important ones and skip the rest. This is the time when a lot of people start taking that downhill slide and lose sight of their goals and then make the resolution on New Year’s Eve to turn things around. We all know how well that works, so wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t even need to make a resolution about getting back on your fitness routine, because you never fell off it in the first place?

You can bet good money that I’ll be practicing what I preach and packing my workout clothes when I leave with a friend for a holiday trip. We’ve already signed up for a couple of classes, too, so when we return it won’t feel like starting to climb up the ladder from the bottom rung.

Now I’m not saying you need to ditch everyone you know and I’m not telling you to de-friend people or un-follow anyone on social media, but be more mindful of who you spend your time with and make sure they are on the same wavelength about staying fit over the next couple of months. It’s OK to indulge, but balance, as in most things, is key.

Happy Holidays!

Jessica Kuiken is a certified Pilates instructor based in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter.

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