★MomStars: Holiday Health Tips from Samantha Harris

samanthaharris

We love having the opportunity to chat with other busy moms about how they stay healthy and fit throughout the year. But tips are especially welcome around the oh-so-hectic holidays, are they not? Today TV host Samantha Harris chimes in with her tips on avoiding holiday temptations, her daily splurges and her favorite healthy staples.

Interview with Samantha Harris

  • FBM: Why did you decide to get involved with Let’s Fight Holiday Fat?
  • SH: Working on TV and being a busy mom of two little girls, my life is pretty hectic—especially during the holidays. So I understand the stresses and delectable temptations the season can bring. For the millions of Americans who will resolve to lose weight next year, just trying to stick to a healthy regimen and not gain weight in December can be difficult. I really try to live a healthy lifestyle and make exercise a part of my routine year-round, so this time of should be no different. I will admit, it is harder! That’s why I’m excited to partner with alli and encourage those seeking support visit LetsFightHolidayFat.com—a new, online guide for those trying to squeeze in healthy eating and exercise this holiday season. And it’s free to sign up! I also love that it has a mobile app, so you can take it wherever you go.
  • FBM: How are you fitting in workouts this time of year?
  • SH: While it can be difficult at times, I try to meld family time with getting physical activity. That way I can be with the girls and my husband but still burn some calories. I put a lot of my focus on healthful eating habits as well. They really go hand in hand. If I’m too busy to take a cardio or yoga class, then I try to find easy ways to fit in exercise during my daily routine, like stealing 10 minutes to lift weights or 20 minutes to run outdoor stairs at a nearby office building.
  • FBM: Any tips on avoiding all of those holiday temptations?
  • SH: Some of my favorite tips for surviving the holiday season and avoiding all those temptations include:
  • Making healthy, reduced calorie, low-fat food choices. Swap out the high- fat ingredients in your favorite holiday recipe for healthier options with fewer calories.
  • Snacking often. Have healthy snacks at hand to keep you from reaching for holiday goodies. Apples, low-fat string cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt and baby carrots are low-fat and easy to pack. Try a small peppermint candy (fat-free!) to satisfy your sweet tooth temptation.
  • Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Find small ways to fit in exercise that can help maintain your weight and energy throughout the season. Going holiday shopping? Park the car in the farthest spot from the store entrance. Cooking? Work your legs with squats while waiting for the water to boil.  Brushing my teeth, I do calf raises. Looks funny but gets the job done!
  • Planning ahead. Eat a reduced-calorie, low-fat snack at home before heading out to a holiday party to help you stay on track and avoid over-indulging in unhealthy choices.
  • Keeping stress levels low. Eating healthfully and exercising can play a big part in keeping holiday stress at bay. Keeping stress levels low also may help prevent weight gain.
  • FBM: What’s a typical week like for you in terms of workouts and healthy (or not-so healthy) eats?
  • SH: My goal is to exercise four to five days per week. I schedule my workouts like any other appointment in my week, so I know where to slide it in. I also am sure to change up my workouts day-to-day to avoid boredom. Keeping my body guessing is key for me. One day bootcamp, another a cardio barre class, then Bikram. I also love stroller walks with my family. Changing it up also helps me to avoid overworking one body part so I don’t hurt myself and have to sit it out on the bench!
  • For food weekly, nonfat Greek yogurt is my saving grace—breakfast or a snack, whenever. Great source of protein and so healthy. I am a peanut butter fanatic as well. With apples, carrots and celery, whole-wheat toast with PB and banana slices. I eat lots of egg whites, chicken and 99-percent fat free turkey for burgers, meatballs and more! Also, lots of fresh whole fruits.
  • Okay, so now you want to know my naughty habits? I have a huge sweet tooth, but I try to keep it in check. I do have the occasional cake at a party, of course, and frozen yogurt topped with dark chocolate chips and Oreos once a week. Nightly, though, I eat a big handful of dark chocolate covered raisins. I keep them in the freezer. Yum!
  • FBM: What’s the most embarrassing song on your workout playlist right now?
  • SH: A song from my 5-year-old’s favorite show, The Fresh Beat Band. They have some good grooves!
  • FBM: What was your biggest surprise about motherhood?
  • SH: How much my girls teach me…I get to look at things through their perspective and see those things in a new light sometimes.
  • FBM: Did pregnancy/childbirth change your view of your body and what it’s capable of? How so?
  • SH: That experience floored me! First I was worried. Can I get pregnant? Will I have a healthy child? Will I be able to breastfeed? Then seeing how my body accommodated the needs of a growing child. How in tune the body is to what she needed once born. Everything jumped into action! How when each of my girls were latched perfectly, the uterus would have contractions to shrink back down (painfully and slowly, but still cool to experience!). How it all worked in unison with this steady hum.
  • FBM: How do you balance being a mom, having a career, being a wife and still having time for you?
  • SH: Me? Ha ha. That is the hard part. Right? Exercise is what keeps me going. It is the only me time I really get. Workouts focus me. Make me more productive. Energized. If I get one in, I am more patient. I love that! It centers me. And it wasn’t always that way. I used to hate schlepping to the gym. It was an effort, but after keeping at it and not giving in to my whining brain, it became habit. Then it became something I geek out with and get giddy about when I find a new class to take. Or a new type of way to workout.
  • FBM: Anything else you’d like to add?
  • SH: Workouts, making time for yourself…it is about scheduling it into your week like an appointment. That’s my best advice.

A big thanks to Samantha for the tips. Those frozen chocolate-covered raisins might have to be added to our arsenal… —Erin


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