Christmas is without a doubt one of my favorite seasons of the year. I am always blessed with an abundance of family, friends, and yes, food.

There is no reason to cut back on family and friends, but we can’t let the holidays be an excuse to lose our minds and over indulge in food. There are things that we can do, even when faced with Mama’s home cooking, that will keep us from using the holidays as an excuse to deviate from our regular exercise routine.

Cocktail parties and dessert parties are great, but mix it up by planning events that require you to exert some energy. In the same way that we make enjoying good food during the holidays a family affair, we can make holiday fitness a family affair. Your family game plan could be as simple as planning to walk for 30 minutes after every major meal. For more adventurous families, it may include planning a family hike, a family football game or even taking part in a community-sponsored 5K run.

Many of you will be traveling to visit family. If you are traveling, it is important to plan ahead. Find out if you will have access to a gym. If not, can you pack small weights or a resistance band? Even if these things are not possible, avoiding exercise for the entire holiday season is still not an option. Scheduling time for sit-ups, push-ups and lunges does not require a gym, equipment or money. It only requires your determination.

If fitness is not part of your regular routine, it may actually be holiday guilt that will lead you to the gym. If that’s the case, my advice is don’t let the guilt turn you into a New Year’s Resolutionist. New Year’s Resolutionists are the people who do so much damage over the holidays that by the time New Year’s Day comes along, they are so laden with extra pounds and guilt that they crowd the gym for two, maybe three weeks. Then, they are not seen in the gym again until the next January.

The best way to keep the momentum and the will to continue exercising is to set realistic fitness goals during the holidays. Saying, “I want to run a marathon next month,” or “I will exercise every single day for an hour” are goals that may set you up for failure. A realistic goal may be starting off two days a week for 30 minutes and gradually increasing. A realistic goal may mean working on portion control and saying, “I will have only one serving. I will not eat until I’m stuffed.”

The bottom line is whether it’s the Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, you’ve got to be CONSISTENT this winter holiday season and adopt a ‘NO EXCUSES’ state of mind.

It’s worth every pound!

Lamman Rucker is an award-winning actor, activist, educator and entrepreneur. He is CEO & co-creator of forplai by LAMMAN RUCKER, an all-natural bath and body care line, and COO and co-founder of “The BLACK GENTS of Hollywood.” Read more of his blogs on the Speak Easy Speakers at

Lamman Rucker

Special to the AFRO