‘Tis the season to give back to families, friends and charitable organizations. Be reminded that it is also the time of year to especially give to YOURSELF. Do NOT let the holiday season side swipe you. Keep your hands on your steering wheel and drive in the direction that you wish to go.

What does this mean? Holidays parties, deadlines before shorter weeks, family visiting from outta town. It doesn’t matter. Those are external variables that should never take over your being and your decisions to nurture your own needs. Rather than stress, explore and work your edge.

Here are some tips for working your edge this holiday season that can involve your family too. You first. Set the bar at a level you can attain:

1) If you get 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity in each week, great! Just make sure it really works you out. Walking is NOT exercise. We walk as human beings so if you count walking and you do not have any major orthopedic conditions, then you are foolin’ yourself!

2) Do a 30 day challenge with yourself on the nutrition front. Get my app (on iTunes and Android). Log every day. Make it your business to treat yourself to whatever only three times in the next couple of months; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years eve.

3) Each week, schedule a relaxing outlet such as a spa mani and pedi, massage, or a trip to the bookstore to just sit with yourself and not have your dang cell phone in your hands. If you do this already, then make it your deal that you only get it if you do numbers 1 & 2. Do not reward yourself unless you’ve earned it!

Have fun this winter. Get everyone in on the action. Incentivize yourself and even your family, friends and/or co-workers to be fit. Usually, fit people exercise for the intrinsic rewards attached to being fit. Don’t let the season change your patterns. Make it fun. Get everyone involved in the plan. 

Here are some fun suggestions:

1) Create a point system. You can pair up or do it individually. The family member with the most points gets to pick what you do the next day on your trip. Here are some point accumulating ideas for how to gain momentum:
Vegetable consumption = 2 points
Water bottle = 2 points
Exercise (30 minutes minimum) = 3 points
Taking the stairs vs. the elevator = 5 points
The person with the highest points wins what to do on the trip (whether it’s the restaurant to eat at for dinner, or the attraction you all visit). The person with the lowest points is responsible for tallying up the points the next day.

2) Create a donation jar. Each individual of the family must donate at least $1 to the jar if they participate in an unhealthy behavior this holiday season. You can pick one item to chart for each month as a reward system. For example, you can use weight loss or exercise minutes on a graph and the family member with the most marks by their name wins the jar of accumulated money. However, here is the catch, that person is only permitted to use that money on something fitness or nutrition related.

3) Rotate cooking days. For example, if there are 4 in the family, everyone gets to cook every 4 days. That person must present their dish to the family and describe the different macronutrients in the dish. This will teach the members of the family proper nutrition, while keeping the family unit strong as they eat together at home.

It is very easy to keep the family fit for the holidays. Pick a fun twist so that everyone gets involved. It isn’t about losing weight this holiday season. It is about preserving health so that the New Year brings prosperity and good health in the New Year for everyone.

Jenn Zerling (“JZ”) is the wellness ambassador for Stay Fit Housing guests. JZ is a life-long athlete, lover of life and people, and wishes to help America break the chains of obesity. She provides customized nutrition coaching and fitness training services designed to help all guests optimize Stay Fit Living. JZ’s fitness and nutrition writings can be found in multiple media resources (including JZFitness.com), and her JZ Fitness Nutrition app is available on iTunes and Android.