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Do we really have the right to slack off on our health and fitness goals during the holidays and put on extra weight?

Let's face it—Christmas is a busy time of year. But, as believers, we realize the importance of maintaining our spiritual fitness—no matter what season we are in. We understand if we don't keep ourselves spiritually fit we can give the enemy entrance into our lives, which is why we keep our focus on Jesus—the real reason for the season. Well, guess what? Maintaining our physical fitness requires that same no-compromise attitude.

Do we really have the right to slack off on our health and fitness goals during the holidays and put on extra weight? Certainly, we are free to do this if we choose—but do we have to? No, we don't. And we shouldn't.

During Thanksgiving and Christmas, let's make a quality decision to stay focused on maintaining a strong, healthy body. I know that can be difficult— especially when Christmas cookies and Grandma's fudge may be calling your name—but the Lord has shown me a few simple strategies to help maintain my weight throughout this season, and I know they will work for you, too!

1. Get God involved!
Ask God to give you wisdom about how you can best fight cravings and resist temptations throughout this season. Ask Him to show you available time in your schedule for increased cardiovascular exercise. Proverbs 4:5 says, "Get wisdom, get understanding…." God wants to be involved in every part of your life, and He wants you to have a strong, healthy body.

Take time, especially throughout this season, to acknowledge Jesus came to earth and paid the price on the cross for our strong, healthy bodies. First Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) says,
Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
So, while I don't think it's a sin to eat Aunt Martha's pecan pie and enjoy it without guilt, let's not see Thanksgiving and Christmas as opportunities to pigout. That's called lasciviousness and it's the opposite of self-control. So what can we do if we desire some holiday treats, but we don't want to blow our health endeavors? That leads me to strategy No. 2.

2. Never, never, never show up famished at a holiday party!
(Did I mention never?) If your blood sugar level is low and you're really hungry, you could be a glutton waiting to happen. Don't rely on willpower to get you through a long night of fudge, Christmas cookies and party mix. Instead, go to the holiday party prepared by eating a healthy snack and drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before arriving. Having your blood sugar level in a stabilized state will enable you to make better food decisions and feel more in control.

You can still eat a serving of sweet potatoes and a piece of pumpkin pie, but you won't be tempted to eat the whole casserole dish of sweet potatoes or the entire pie. Just think—each holiday party presents the perfect opportunity for you to sow to the spirit. In other words, you can restrain yourself entirely, or simply eat half of that piece of pumpkin pie and victoriously say, "Father, I am sowing self-control right now by leaving half of my pumpkin pie on the plate. Thank You that I reap a huge harvest and grow daily in self-control."

3. Focus on relationships.
I think it's important to remember holiday parties andfamily get-togethers are filled with much more than just fattening foods. What about partaking in family traditions such as reading the Christmas story around the fireplace, or catching up with those relatives you only see once or twice a year? Bottom line: You should be enjoying Aunt Martha more than you're enjoying her famous pecan pie. Focus on your family and friends more than you focus on the fabulous food.

4. Move it!
As the fellowship and feasting come to an end and you push away from the dinner table, remember two words: Move it! While your relatives are making their way to the couch to watch football on TV, why not head for the great outdoors instead? Grab a football and toss it around outside with your children. Or, take a walk around the block with your cousins. Just make sure you move your body after eating in order to rev up your metabolism. Then go ahead and have a good rest on the couch. After all, that's part of the holiday fun, right?

5. Exercise more.
During the Christmas season, life gets very busy with family get-togethers, shopping, church commitments, parties and much more; however, we must find time to work out. Exercise could be your best friend during this season because it will definitely help you maintain your weight, even though your diet may not be as healthy as usual. Here's what I do.

Knowing I'll be splurging on high caloric treats on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I intentionally increase my cardio workouts a few days before to compensate for the extra calories I'll be consuming. By increasing your workout time and level of intensity, you'll get extra caloric expenditure during a time you'll need it most.

I believe if you implement these simple strategies this Thanksgiving and Christmas, the scales will be balanced in your favor, and you'll be much happier and healthier as you maintain your health and fitness goals. Merry Christmas!

Kenneth Copeland Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Marty Copeland
Web site: Marty Copeland
Marty Copeland is a wife, mother of 3, a Master Personal Trainer and Nutritional Guidance Counselor. Most importantly, she is here, doing this, because she has experienced first hand that God not only desires to help us reach our health and fitness goals, but He has the perfect plan that will lead us to a lifestyle of freedom and self-control. She has come to know that true health is more than just having a strong and healthy body-though that is something we should all enjoy. True health also includes a strong spirit and soul. It is when our spirits are full and our minds are strong that living a healthy lifestyle becomes easy.

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