(NaturalNews) Everyone is extra busy during the holidays season, yet most people's commitments involve parties and eating, leading to weight gain that people rarely lose. Visit nearly empty gyms and sports fields, and then look at the enormous amount of calories people consume from holiday dinners, treats and alcohol, and it is not hard to figure out why everyone's waistlines are expanding like Jolly Old St. Nick's.
The cold temperatures, short days and natural instincts to stay home bundled up by the heater steal your motivation to exercise. Yet, this is the time of year you need to work out most because the weight people gain during the holidays usually stays with them for life. Thankfully, there are ways you can stay motivated.
Make your New Year's resolution early
Do not wait until January to ramp up your workouts. Many people cheat on their diets and slack off on their workouts during the holidays, then tell themselves it is okay because they will get back on track after New Year's. Don't let this be you.
Proclaim a resolution and act on it as if it were January 1. Join a gym now. Find a workout buddy now. Tell everyone your resolution so they can hold you accountable starting now. Hire a personal trainer, set up a workout schedule and treat yourself to new workout clothes. Come up with a specific goal and a detailed plan so you are more likely to succeed.
Set up a home gym
If you are a diehard gym rat who would not be dissuaded from going to the gym by a blizzard you have nothing to worry about, but if icy roads, lack of sunlight, hail, cars buried in snow, and having to put on extra layers just to go outside without freezing to death does affect you like a normal person, then be smart and start working out at home.
You can get everything fitness-related that the gym offers in your living room. Love cardio machines? Buy a used stationary bike, walk up and down your stairs, or get a jump rope.
Find group exercise classes motivating? Buy some cardio DVDs, get on Skype with a friend or buy an aerobic video game and play against family members.
Want to pump iron? Invest in dumbbells or kettlebells. You will get a better workout without the machines anyway. If space is an issue, buy a pair of adjustable dumbbells so you can have an entire set in one small package. You can also install a pull-up bar and adopt a bodyweight-style program like P90X.
Even if you still want to exercise at the gym, at least you have an alternative for really bad weather days.
"Before" and "after" pictures
Instead of trying to talk yourself into working out, examine a "before" picture. Find a shot of yourself looking your most out of shape and compare it side-by-side with a picture of yourself in top physical condition.
If you do not have a good "after" picture, find one of an in shape person with a similar height, build and coloring as yourself and imagine that is what you could look like. A picture is worth a thousand words so when you feel yourself wavering in your resolve to get healthy, save your breath and look at the pictures.
Work stress, family stress and time commitments happen year-round. Don't let the holidays be an excuse for getting out of shape. You may even find that you enjoy holiday treats more when you are exercising regularly.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.