Holiday Health & Fitness Tune-Up: “My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding” Style

Make healthy habits the norm in your home with tips from My Big Fat Greek Wedding actress Nia Vardalos to keep you and your family happy and healthy for life.

Nia and Daughter

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Nia and family at the beach
Nia and family hit the beach for fun and fitness. Land-locked? Scope out local activities. Photo courtesy Gene Reed.

The best way to counter holiday “calorie creep” and kick-start New Year’s resolutions to get fit, stress less, and be organized is to do some advance planning. Start now with tips from busy MBFGW actress, mom, and screenwriter Nia Vardalos:

Get Fit: Don’t go into hibernation just because it’s the holiday season. Carve out three hours every week (in one chunk or shorter bits) for family walks, gym workouts, or video fitness challenges. “Our favorite family outing is taking our dogs to the beach,” says Nia, who lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and young daughter. “We have two dogs—a giant lab and a medium round-bodied mix-mutt. California has a few beaches where dogs are allowed to be off-leash and it’s hilarious to see our normally sleepy dogs chasing each other across the sand and trying to bite waves. Walking, running, and playing in the sand is fun for us, too. Whatever picnic food our daughter and I prepare—from turkey and mashed avocado on whole-wheat toast to cold rigatoni and peas in an olive oil and balsamic dressing—it all always tastes delectably delicious for the simple reason that we’re consuming it outdoors. Sand included!”

Nia with daughter
Nia’s script for healthy living balances work, exercise, and family time. Photo courtesy Jackie Tucker.

Stress Less: Take an inventory of time spent working, playing, and relaxing. Come up with the unique balance that’s best for you and your family and ways to achieve it. Nia says, “My day may consist of getting my daughter to school, then getting to an exercise class, then writing or filming all day. But I’m fine with that as long as I prepare by packing a healthy lunch like sliced chicken on arugula, plus snacks like an apple or celery and peanut butter.”

Be Organized: Nia recently teamed up with the “Life Supplemented” campaign to encourage healthy habits. “Sticking with a health and wellness routine can be a challenge for busy moms like me, so I recently downloaded the WannaBeWell app from Life Supplemented to help keep me organized. It’s free, easy, fun, and makes sense. My favorite feature is the personalized Wellness Coach that delivers daily motivational and education tips—without the yelling from a personal trainer! You can also set up reminders to take vitamins and supplements, just like getting texts from a friend. And for each download of the WannaBeWell app, $1 is provided to Vitamin Angels (up to $13,500) to help get nutrients to children in need.”

More about Nia Vardalos: Academy Award, Golden Globe, Writers Guild nominated actress and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, winner of Independent Spirit Award, Peoples’ Choice Award, Nia Vardalos most recently played in the American Girl movie: McKenna Shoots For The Stars. Her new book Instant Mom (Harper Collins) on adopting her daughter is available in April 2013 wherever books are sold. Vardalos lives in Los Angeles with her husband Ian Gomez of TBS’ Cougar Town, their daughter, and several pets.

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