Wellness Coach Joyce Lande of Woodstock prepares a plate of food during a Lunch Happy and Healthy event at her home Tuesday, November 11, 2014. The luncheon, a precursor to her Holly Jolly Healthy Holiday Challenge. The challenge is a 6 week program intended to help participants maintain their weight through the holidays.  The participants will meet weekly, and each class will include a 30 minute nutrition/wellness instruction and a 30 minute work out. (Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com)

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them come parties, family gatherings and plenty of temptation. But most people don’t have an extra 5 or 10 pounds on their wish list.

With the help of Jazzercise in Cary and Young Masters Fitness Studio in Woodstock, certified wellness coach Joyce Lande is giving people a reason to look forward to the holiday feasting season, rather than avoid it.

Both locations are hosting The Holly Jolly Healthy Holiday Challenge through Jan. 4.

Lande became a certified wellness coach this past summer after coming to a realization about her own health.

“I thought my health was good, but I still wanted to shed a few pounds,” Lande said. “Once I began educating myself, I found that my eating and nutrition habits weren’t at a great place. I thought I was making good choices, but I discovered I could be making better ones.”

Lande said her number one priority was the health of her family, and through her education and certification, she formed her own business geared toward that, appropriately named Happy and Healthy Family.

Lande began giving classes locally such as Singing the Lunchbox Blues, which offers tips for packing a better lunch, and Tips for Summer Road Trips, which provides healthy eating alternatives while on vacation.

“I was able to turn myself around and help my husband and daughter who are already healthy, but it’s the little things that make a big difference,” Lande said.

The drive to promote a healthy family lifestyle led Lande to participate in conducting the Healthy Holiday Challenge to build on last year’s challenge, which only included the fitness perspective, not the wellness portion.

This year’s six-week challenge combines 30 to 60 minutes of fitness with 30 minutes of wellness and nutrition classes covering topics such as digestion and detox, dressing for your body style and basic nutrition for adults.

“We wanted to reach out to families in the area to give them something local to attend this season that promotes a healthy lifestyle,” Lande said. “We wanted to give members and nonmembers of both locations the opportunity to try it out and keep on the wellness train throughout the holidays.”

Each location will have three winners, who will be awarded cash prizes for achieving the greatest amount of weight/BMI loss. Both will donate $5 from each registration fee to a local food pantry, and all participants will receive gift bags for signing up.

“This will help people be mindful of their health through the holiday season so they don’t hit January 1st and find they are uncomfortable with themselves,” Lande said. “The holidays can be a never-ending feast, and we can help you decide what options are best for your health.”

For a registration fee and challenge information, visit www.youngmastersfitness.com or call Cary Jazzercise at 815-404-1112 or Joyce Lande at 847-754-1593.

Holiday Health Tips:

Before holiday shopping, grab a healthy snack so you’re not grabbing something at the mall.

Disperse shopping bags evenly between hands so you’re well-balanced.

Before holiday parties, eat something so you don’t overdo it at the food table.

Drink water to stay hydrated and fuller longer.

If asked to bring an appetizer, bring something healthy you like to eat so if there aren’t other healthy options, you have your own to fall back on.

By Lindsay Weber - editorial@nwherald.com