Holiday Tip: Move before Your Meal

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This time of year, food is on everyone's minds, whether you're looking forward to your traditional holiday favorites, feeling nervous about all the calories, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, we are so consumed with consuming food during the holidays that we often forget about fitness. We skip the gym to go to the office potluck, and tell ourselves we'll run "tomorrow" while we enjoy our neighbor's holiday party food tonight. Fast forward a few weeks, and we wonder why our pants don't fit when we were "so good" about eating in moderation.

But as you know, it's not just what you do—or don't—eat that affects your weight. The calories you burn through physical activity and exercise also play an important factor. Athletes may eat several thousand calories every day (not just on a holiday), but they won't gain weight because they are extremely active. Now, I am not advocating a Michael Phelps diet and exercise plan for all of you, but I am using it to illustrate the point that you can eat more and indulge here and there without repercussion if you ramp up your physical activity. And the easiest way to do that is to move your feet before you eat. Make this your mantra for the last few weeks of 2010, and you'll keep holiday weight gain at bay. Hey, you may even lose a couple pounds by New Year. Here's how.

Move your feet (exercise) before you eat (the extra holiday food).

Want to sample everything on the Thanksgiving table? Move your feet before you eat.

Planning to uncover your holiday spirit by baking cookies? Move your feet before you eat.

Heading back for a second slice of pie with whipped cream? Move your feet before you eat.

A little extra eating is common during the holidays, and there isn't anything unhealthy about that. But before you bite, think about what you'll do to make sure that food doesn't become a permanent part of your anatomy. That's where exercise comes in. Before you let your exercise excuses get the best of you this season, here are 6 of my best workouts and tips that you can use today, Thanksgiving day (hint, hint), and all December long.
  1. Treat a holiday like any other day. Fit people exercise regularly, whether they're traveling, celebrating a holiday, or experience a curve ball that alters their plans. Exercise should happen no matter what day it is—especially if that day revolves around eating.
  2. Plan ahead. I say "move your feet before you eat" for a reason. Do it first to get it out of the way and to prevent other excuses (such as food coma) from stopping you later. Look at your schedule, find time for fitness, and commit to it. Plan for workouts you can do while traveling, with limited time, or during cold weather.
  3. Wake up early. You do it during the work week, and you can do it during the holidays, too. Most gyms are open limited hours on Thanksgiving Day and other holidays, and if you wake up a little early, you can fit in a workout and still get dinner on the table on time.
  4. Sign up for a race. There are some fun holiday runs and walks that will inspire you to get active before your celebrations begin. Sign up with friends or your whole family for a new holiday tradition that doesn’t revolve around food. Your local Turkey Trot may even allow you to sign up on race day if you haven't already!
  5. Try my 30-Minute Holiday Workout! This oldie but goodie will target all of your major muscle groups and elevate your heart rate for extra calorie burning. Add intensity by mixing in jumping jacks, high knee jogging, squat thrusts and other simple cardio moves between each exercise. Print it off now and tote it with you wherever you go this holiday season!
  6. Plan calorie-burning activities. Moving your feet doesn't just have to mean working out. Plan for additional physical activity each day, such as an outdoor walk or hike after dinner; a game of touch football; raking leaves; or volunteering at a food pantry to help those in need. Anything that gets you on your feet and moving is better than sitting, especially on a day of overindulgence.
How will you "move your feet before you eat" this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


Move your feet before you eat - what a great mantra.
This can be my resolution for 2013 -

For 2013
I will mean
To move my feet
Before I eat. !!!!! Report
Thanks for the great ideas Report
Oh I totally agree with this blog! I made sure that while my Thanksgiving dinner was cooking I went in my workout room and did a 4 mile walk with the Leslie Sansone DVD. Report
I just love the "move your feet before you eat" motto. I'll try to remember this at Christmas! Report
I go to the pool. Report
Since I was the person who prepared the entire meal when it came time to eat, I was to tired to eat. Report
My first year on Sparkpeople I lost weight from Thanksgiving through New years, because I did extra work outs to compensate for the eating. its a good idea, I think because it keeps us focused on what we are eating. Report
We ride our exercise bike every day we are home, holidays are no different around our home, even birthdays are not different as far as daily exercise. I was amused at the line about "wondering why our pants don't fit", as I've never "wondered why", I "knew why" my pants didn't fit after extra curricular eating! Report
A local pool is having a "Turkey Burn" the day after Thanksgiving. Many Volkswalk clubs do a 10K walk the day after Thanksgiving too. I plan on hitting one of those. Great article, but I won't be exercising before we eat; I'm the cook! Report
Went to the Park and did 4.25 miles of walking/jogging Report
I am SO happy....I got my feet a movin' today! Yay!! Looking forward to more moving later too!!! Report
Great advice! Thanks! It indeed makes sense :) This in one of my new mantras...move your feet b4u eat! AWESOME! Report
I'm off to do my Leslie Sansone 2-Mile Brisk Walk before breakfast. Happy Thanksgiving! Report
I'll be heading to the gym soon! Report
Heading to the stationary bike as soon as I'm done logging my food plan here on SP. Then it's off to my parents' for Thanksgiving. This is my 4th TG holiday on SP and I've learned the hard way to exercise and log in FIRST, then celebrate the holiday. Thanks for the reminders Nicole! Report
I like this blog. It talks about the fact that most people do eat more during the holidays but I can also exercise more too. I will take a walk before Thanksgiving dinner tonight. :-D Report
Happy Thanksgiving all.
I took a 2 hour thanksgiving day fusion class
at my local Golds Gym from 8:30 am - 10:30am
so i am ready for today tomorrow and Saturday. Report
i always start my day with a 30 minute walk before breakfast, which is now done,
then i do exercises , today i tried the 30 minute holiday work out., plus i am adding onto that will get in least another 30 -60 min, of walking on tread mill.while waiting for dinner now.
I am headed for my Elliptical now. Happy Thanksgiving! Report
I do my exercise even on holidays. They have a gym downstairs in my apt. building. I get it in if its late or early. Report
I'll walk about 4 miles today - and try Coach Nicole's 30 minute workout - Report
30 minutes on the trampoline at least twice today. Maybe a couple walks around the block. Report
I'm running the local 8K Gallop & Gorge Report
I'm running a 5K at my local Y on Thanksgiving day. Report
Great tips! Thanks :) Report
Thank you for your great tips! Report
Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance before I eat, after I eat, in between meals, while, I am cooking, while I am cleaning, when I get up in the morning, and before I go to bed. Dancing keeps me moving and burning calories. Report
Rode my bike over 10 miles today, tomorrow, Thanksgiving will be going to the YMCA in the morning doing Yoga and spin and a sculpting class with my hostess for the Thanksgiving meal, then to her house for our feast, then we are going on a hike. Friday will be my usual workout at the gym pilates, water aerobics and spin, Saturday am volunteering for a Race after aerobics class and spin. Report
I plan on moving my feet before I eat. Today I made a low sugar peach crumb pie. I plan on having a piece tomorrow. I also plan on hitting my treadmill tomorrow for 55 to 60 minutes before I eat the pie. I am a morning workout person and the pie is for later. And it's my only temptation issue and I am only eating one piece. The article was very timely and right on the money. Report
Thank you very much for the helpful comments. I will use most of them. Report
1st of all, I think this was a well written blog and had lots of good tips. The holidays are a time where moving your feet can help with weight gain and stress.....
However, I do want to point out that just b/c you exercise, does not give you the freedom to eat everything you want. I don't think that was the point, but just wanted to state the obvious... Or maybe not so obvious. I learned this hard fact the 1st time I trained for a marathon and gained 30 lbs. Now I try to eat good and exercise. I feel you have to do both to make the training work.
I will be enjoying the holidays and as fate would have it, Thursdays are a total rest day from workout... But then I have double long runs on Friday and Saturday. So I will not be mo ing my feet tomorrow! Report
My first-ever race is on Thanksgiving, and it's an 8k! Been training for weeks after losing 85 pounds. And then Friday is a 2-hour Boot Camp. Report
Love this blog!!!! I will be at a hotel....plan to do 30 - 40 minutes on the treadmill or eliptical in the hotel fitness center early Thanksgiving morning...then to family for the day. Enjoy thanksgiving lunch...then a nice walk in the afternoon! Great day!!! Move your feet before you eat!!! Report
I will keep my power walk routine up each day Report
I am volunteering to help serve the needy on this day. Report
I signed up for a Thanksgiving Day 10k. I did the same event last year, and it was LOTS of fun!! Report
i am doing my first 5K before going to my parents' place on thanksgiving. i'm excited! Report
In past, I would have done a "turkey trot". However, since I've stopped running, I'll go out for a nice long walk instead. Report
We are running a turkey trot too. I am not so sure running 3 miles is gonna give Thanksgiving any justice tho lol Report
Thanks for the great ideas. Report
What a great idea! I'm definitely going to get up earlier, even on Turkey day so I can get some Tai Chi and cardio boixing in before everyone else is up and in my way. LOL Besides, the Tai Chi will help me focus for the day of cooking and cleaning. Report
I will still be taking my walk on Thanksgiving. Gotta keep in shape for shopping on Friday! Still trying to figure out how I can walk while eating my pc of pie. Report
I've found if I make myself "move my feet before I eat" I don't tend to want said craving anymore...its not worth cancelling out all the effort. :) Report
We are also doing Turkey Trot with family. Fun Fun Fun Report
Thanks for the extra push. I'm going for a sunrise walk... Report
Like the catch phrase....and will add it to the every day..... not just the turkey one! Report
I'll be running! Literally! Report
I'm running a 5k on Thanksgiving morning! Report
Will be doing my first Turkey Trot this year and taking my traditional romantic walk with my husband after the family leaves, Report