Presents, Chop, Party, and More Chop. Where Does Staying Healthy Fit in?

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It’s the holidays! Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, Sallah, or whatever, you know that the holiday season always means eating and forgetting the address to the gym. But wait!

Did you know that on average people gain about 5 pounds/2.3 kilograms during the holidays?


Just from holiday food and lack of exercise over a few days, people gain that much weight. After reading this article, now you have to do something about it.

First off, when it comes to food during the holidays, what is the one thing that kills us? Rice, rice, and more rice. We boil it, fry it, jollof it, and eat it basically at every single meal. I’m going to state the obvious right now, (in the words of Barney Stinson, “Wait for it…”). You do know that there are other options besides rice, right? I know Nigeria equals rice. Come to think of it, so does Asia. But we have so many other food options that we don’t have to stick to rice alone. How about some of that grilled fish we so enjoy? Or some beans to give your plate some color? Maybe even some efo(vegetable) to add diversity to the options you are serving? The key is not to eliminate rice completely, but to provide so many other healthy items that you’d have to diversify.

Okay, let’s give rice some breathing space and talk about the lack of exercise. Because our schedules tend to change during the holidays, our exercise schedule becomes much less predictable making us forget to exercise over and over. If you are a gentleman or a lady with fake hair, here’s one great option for you: Work out in the mornings. Yes, no more sleeping in during the holidays if you want to stay fit. Wake up and work out before you go on with your day. That way, you don’t even have to think about fitting in exercise throughout the rest of the day. Now, if you’re like me, all proud that you’re keeping your own hair, well, sucks for us since we’d have to figure out what to do with our hair when it’s all wet with sweat in the morning.

But there are other options. You can also choose to plan your day ahead. As always, if you know when exactly you are going to be free during the day, it’s much easier to plan what workout can fit into that span of time. Also, realize that since a lot of your schedule during the holidays may depend on what family and friends are doing, you need to be flexible. Basically, this means, always be ready to go. Pack up your exercise gear in your car so you can quickly head to the gym whenever you have a free minute, or pay for a regularly scheduled exercise class for the entire holiday period and make your friend pay too.

Now, if at the end of the day, you go ‘OOPS! I haven’t worked out today’, hit the club and dance your ass off.  Note that I said dance, not alcohol your ass off. There’s no point burning all those calories and just putting them back on at the same time. But since we are on the topic, what alcohol can you drink to minimize calories this holiday? Stick to the straight stuff. Yes, that means you can maybe mix your drinks with some tonic (like vodka and tonic, rum and ginger ale, gin and tonic) or have them straight up. A lot of the mixed drinks come with sugary syrups and additives. There are other kinds of alcohol with lower calorie counts such as wine, mimosas, and champagne, as long as you stick to just a couple of glasses.

Well, there you have it. There is just one last tip I want to share with you guys though. If you’re a host, give your guests leftovers to take home. They’ll think you’re being nice, but you really just want to get rid of the food and go back to your normal life. If you’re a guest, do not accept leftovers or you’ll be eating the food for days to come. Just go back to your regular food once the party is over.

Good luck keeping fit through the holidays!

Suzanne Brume

Suzanne Brume

Suzanne Brume is a fitness enthusiast (or as fondly referred to by family, a gym addict) who has resolved to bringing awareness to living a healthy lifestyle. Her mantra? You can only live life to the fullest if you’re determined to live it well. On check out her column: Bringing Fit Back and to check out where she started from visit

1 comment

  1. okiemut baby na wa o i just read your column and am really impressed its so very well put together weldone more grease to your elbow pls keep it up Antie flo

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