Dining_multigen_wide.jpgMaking the lifestyle change to incorporate more exercise and healthy eating into your routine can improve your health, reduce stress, and save money on future healthcare costs. However, many Americans get sidelined during the holiday season as a result of wearisome travel, family gatherings, office parties, and the dessert menu.

To stay out of this rut, there are several diet and exercise tips aspiring fitness gurus can employ to help them enjoy their holiday season without gaining weight and indulging in unhealthy habits.

First, it's important to set rules. Many people go wrong during the holidays because they try to avoid all temptation only to overindulge at gatherings and events. Rather than denying yourself completely, exercise portion control and only allow yourself to have small slivers of desserts. It can also be helpful to eat a salad or small meal prior to attending a party to fill yourself up and avoid overeating at the event. Further, drinking plenty of water is also important. It's easy to fill up on eggnog, punches and other beverages at gatherings that can add just as many calories as unhealthy desserts. Just one glass of eggnog can be roughly 200 calories. By staying hydrated with water, you may fill up more quickly and stave off thirst and hunger.

Another useful tip is to host gatherings at your own home where you can control the food that is served. This allows you to incorporate more healthy options into your menu and serve desserts that are low in fat or use healthier ingredients.

Balancing diet and exercise is important around the holidays, and individuals can avoid the common seasonal habit of skipping their fitness routines by staying active throughout the day. For example, if you must skip your usual spin or yoga class due to a holiday obligation, make an extra effort to wake up early for a run or use your lunch break to go for a long walk. The same is true for holiday travelers. While you may not have access to a gym when you visit relatives, you can still get the workout you need by going for long strolls or even bringing a fitness DVD to work out to in the mornings. Staying active during the holidays may also continue to encourage healthy eating habits.

People should enjoy themselves during the holidays and take part in family, friend and office gatherings. Keep in mind that you don't have to avoid temptations altogether to enjoy your time with loved ones. Practicing moderation and keeping your fitness routine balanced can help you avoid holiday weight gain, fatigue and health issues, while still allowing you to have fun.