Living Well by Liz Jones: Key to staying healthy over the holidays

Liz Jones is the Membership and Wellness Director at the Rockwall County YMCA.

As most people know, staying fit and healthy over the holidays can be a challenge.  First of all, I recommend not attempting to lose weight over the holidays.  Do not try to make drastic changes in diet or exercise plans.  The most obtainable goal to work toward is to try to maintain through the holiday festivities.

There are a few factors that play into the reason people seem to gain weight and move away from healthy choices during the holiday season.  The first is time; schedules begin to get more hectic, trying to figure out how to have holiday dinners with more than one set of relatives can really cut into the time that you commit to your health and fitness.  It also can translate into a lot of pumpkin pie.

To help with this, it’s vital that you make yourself a priority.  Yes, it’s important that you take time to spend with your family and friends doing special holiday events like volunteering, going to see Memaw, and taking time to have some fun with your co-workers, but continue to make your time in the gym, going for a walk, or taking a fitness class.  A lot of my friends call putting effort in their training, “Beer Miles.”  Over the holidays we can call them “Pie miles” (or more accurately, “Pie and Bailey’s Miles”).

Next, let’s talk about that pie!  Many holiday recipes are loaded with sugar, butter, cream and other rich ingredients.  There are a lot of great tasting recipes that offer healthier options.  One of my favorite resources is Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean Diet” cookbooks.  A few recipes that I recommend for holiday meals are a crustless pumpkin pie, Zain’s Raw Pecan Pie, sweet potato pancakes, and brown rice and apple stuffing.  These recipes are available at and

Also, many people deal with low energy and depression during the holiday, sometimes from the stress of too much to do, a lack of money, not having family and friends around (and sometimes from having your family around and managing family dynamics), or many other reasons.  Be sure to keep yourself active.  Find a support system and talk about how you are feeling.

Have a great holiday season and please stop by the Rockwall Family YMCA and say hello.  We will have a lot of special events throughout the season, so keep up on our website and Facebook page: and

***If you are thinking about somewhere to make a contribution for your holiday charitable contribution, please consider giving to the YMCA Partners Campaign which funds scholarships for children who cannot otherwise participate in sports, Angel Camp for the special needs children in our community, and membership for those who are going through a hard time.

Blue Ribbon News special contributor Liz Jones is the Membership & Wellness Director at Rockwall Family YMCA, located at 1210 N Goliad in Rockwall.  She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, and wellness coach.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership.  Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance.  She is trained in Reiki, Guided Imagery, and various healing methods. She has also trained in Shotokan karate and other forms of martial arts and self-defense.  Her background includes non-profit management and working with various at-risk populations, women’s empowerment workshops, and mentoring programs. 

Connect with Liz at  or 972-772-9622.


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