The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy yourself while spending time with family and friends, but the combination of holiday treats and a break from scheduled cheer practices can cause you to backtrack on the goals you've been working toward all year. The good news is you don't have to abstain from those holiday guilty pleasures you've been looking forward to. You absolutely can enjoy the foods you love, you just have to be smart about it. Here are five tips for enjoying the holidays without wrecking your fitness progress:

  1. Indulge slowly.
Eat all the wonderful foods you want, but don't scarf them down. Take the time to actually enjoy them, and you'll feel satisfied long before you eat half the plate of cookies. Plus, you'll get to enjoy the seasonal tastes you've been looking forward to without the uncomfortable too-full feeling that often follows.

  1. Don't eat everything on the table.
A good rule of thumb to follow at holiday gatherings is to only eat things that were made with love. In other words, don't fill up on store-bought goodies. Enjoy the ones your aunt made. She probably put time, thought, and spirit into hers. That's much more enjoyable than something that was mass produced. Plus, homemade items are made with real ingredients, not weird chemicals you can't pronounce that are supposed to prolong the item's shelf life. Eating the homemade treats is better for your body and soul, and your relatives will get joy out of seeing you appreciate their baking efforts.

  1. Eat the healthy stuff, too.
In the midst of all the sugary food you'll be eating, make sure you still eat the healthy ones. Eat holiday treats in addition to the regular food you eat, not instead of. Having a base of fruit and vegetables will help keep you from over indulging on desserts, and your body will still be getting the nutrients that those desserts lack.

  1. Drink lots of water.
Water is about the closest thing we have to a cure-all. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel fuller and make you less likely to over eat, but it will also dilute the extra sugar you've been eating and make it less hard on your body. This doesn't mean water will totally negate the effects of all that sugar, but it will help make it a little more manageable for your body. Water also helps your immune system. Drink plenty of it to stay healthy or to get over winter colds. Set a goal of drinking half your body weight in ounces (so if you weigh 140 pounds, you would drink 70 ounces of water) and just see how good you feel!

  1. Stay active.
The weather outside might be frightful and you may have a break from cheer practice, but this doesn't mean you should sit around and watch TV all day. Get up and move! You can do some exercises around your house or go to the gym to workout if one is available, but just being active helps. Instead of sitting around passively, help your dad put up yard decorations, make holiday crafts, walk around the mall with your friends, go ice skating or sledding, play Twister, dance around to holiday music, etc. There are so many things to do other than sit on the couch all day!

How do you stay fit over the holidays?