Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn! Christmas is around the corner already (say whaaaat?), and a well-deserved break is at the order of the day. Sandy beaches, lazy days and quality family time are calling your name.Thoughts of work and life’s stresses are out the door, and most probably your plans to exercise as well.

If you’re a gym rat like moi, the mere thought of missing your workouts probably has you broken out in a cold sweat (and if you’re on the other side of the fence, you probably need a bit of coercion to stick to a program too).

No matter what side of the fence you’re on, you don’t need to pack up your home gym to take on your trip!

Follow these to keep your diet and fitness regime on track.

Plan time for exercise – Exercise will help relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Aim for at least 3-4 workouts a week, for 30 minutes at a time.

Exercise in the morning – When you exercise first thing in the morning, you will feel refreshed and full of energy. Go for a 30 minute jog on the beach or a hike up the nearest hill.

Be realistic – Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays, but try instead to maintain your current weight.

Go outside and get moving – Instead of lounging around the beach house with the TV as company, insist that everyone head down to the beach for a game of volleyball or badminton.

Don’t skip meals – Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.

Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savour every bite of your favourite holiday treats, while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfy and enjoy.

Be careful with beverages – Alcohol can induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.

If you overeat at one meal go light on the next – It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above maintenance consumption to gain one kilogram. Of FAT!

Take the focus off food – Turn baking time into group activities with family and friends.

Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday party.

Practice healthy holiday cooking – Preparing favourite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.

It’s easy to get carried away over the holiday season, which is why it’s important to know what you’re in for and plan ahead for the holiday happy hours,

Steer clear of the temptation to overdo it when the options in front of you are aplenty. While it’s alright to indulge in a slice of fruit cake, don’t allow it to become a regular habit.

Finding a healthy balance is the easiest way to sidestep the lure of holiday food and getting oh so lazy!

Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday!