Healthy Holiday Guide Part 5: Breathe

Well, we made it. Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah and also Christmas Eve. Tonight my family will all get together for a big fun dinner with lots of cookies and pastas and other carbs and fats and what have you. Whatever you do tonight make it about who you’re with and not the food. Sure, the food is delicious, it’s food, and holiday food at that, but that’s not why you’ve all gathered. Maybe everyone looks forward to Grandma’s roast every year, or your Uncle Steve’s weirdly delicious mashed potatoes, but what about Grandma and Uncle Steve? Fill your plate but take more time mentally recording what is happening around you than what you’re putting in your mouth. Savor the taste, definitely, but don’t stress about it.

When things get too stressful return to your breath. Take just a minute to sit back and take some deep breaths. Try to come back to your center, breathe, and then come back to the present moment.

Enjoy your food. Enjoy your family and friends. Breathe. And know that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only happen once a year. Try not to stress too much and try to have fun. If you have a bad day, I’m sorry, but try to breathe through it. So much of life comes down to just breathing. Take a step back and breathe when things get too stressful. You’ll be surprised how much it can help.

So that about wraps up the holiday guide. Check the “healthy holiday guide” tag for all of the posts, and prepare for the new year!

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Healthy Holiday Guide Part 4: Holiday Treats

Currently writing this post wrapped in blankets on my couch. It’s the first week of break and I am also sick, so whoopee… I’m just glad I’m sick on break and not right before Christmas so I’ll be better in time for Christmas and New Years parties.

I have, after about five years of trying, finally just about kicked my sugar addiction. I do not crave ice cream or chocolate anymore, (I’m sure I still do at that time of the month, but I haven’t had that time for about 7 months now because of my birth control. tmi, moving on) and I don’t freak out around treats.

Except for Christmas ones.

Chocolate and peppermint is my all time favorite flavor combination. I also can’t resist frosted sugar cookies or gingerbread men. And, hey, it’s the holidays right? It only happens once a year, right? So eating them should be guilt free, right? To an extent. Every year I have that internal struggle back and forth between how much is too much. When have I eaten too many cookies and too much chocolate? This year I’m trying an approach that might work better for my sanity.

This year I am deeming Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve to be off limits days for my “diet.” On those days I am allowed to have as many treats as I want and I will not count them. This is going to be a struggle for me since I count a lot of things I eat, but it’s worth it. I will try to get enough vitamins and minerals and pay extra attention to protein since holiday treats are basically just big colorful shapes of carbs and fat, but if I one, five, ten, or even twenty Christmas cookies that is fine.

There are many ways to approach the holidays besides my version. You can have a little bit of everything, or a lot of everything, or try to have a lot of vegetables and water so you’ll naturally eat less candy and cake. Whatever you pick make sure it works for you and that you’re not depriving yourself. You deserve as many cookies as you want. Just jump right back into your old routine the day after Christmas. Telling yourself in your head that you can’t have those treats are just going to make you crave them more. Know that they are not off limits and you might be surprised at the results.

Less than 12 days to Christmas and Hanukkah starts tomorrow!

Healthy Holiday Guide: Thanksgiving Recipes

If you need some healthier alternatives for Thanksgiving dinner click the links below! Or, take the time to savor every single bite of everything you eat this Thursday. Either way, enjoy your dinner and don’t worry about the calories. It’s just one day. Also, check out this post I wrote a year ago: Why Thanksgiving did not Ruin your Diet

Thanksgiving Menu on Healthy Recipes Blog

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad on Creme De La Crumb

100 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes on Running to the Kitchen

Thanksgiving Recipes Gone Healthy on Lauren Conrad

Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes on Popsugar

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! In the coming weeks we’ll tackle the Christmas and New Year’s season.

Healthy Holiday Guide Part 2: Dinner

holiday guide Part 2: Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to give thanks for everything you have in life. But if you’re trying to lose weight you probably don’t want to give thanks for all that fat you’re trying to shed, and you probably don’t want to add onto it, either. But don’t spend Thanksgiving in a panic because you’re worried about foiling your weight loss plans. Here are some tips to get through the day:

1 – Make the holiday season your maintenance challenge. Don’t stress too much about losing weight during this period, just try to maintain the weight you are at. Then kick it into high gear with everyone else in January.

2 – If you are worried or want to try to keep losing weight and you’re in charge of the dinner try to make it as healthy as possible but without sacrificing flavor or tradition. Don’t trade sweet potatoes for mashed potatoes just because you want to be healthy. Mashed potatoes are good, and there are ways to make them so they’re a little healthier than the traditional recipes. Just type in some key words into Google and you’ll get a heap of ideas.

3 – Use smaller plates. I’m not talking baby plate, just smaller plates. You’ll fill it with food and feel fuller after clearing it but you won’t have eaten as much as you would with a bigger plate.

4 – Have a little bit of everything and fill up on those veggies! That way you get to have everything and you get some nutrients from the veggies.

5 – Don’t worry! Thanksgiving should be a day that you are off your diet. You can jump right back into it on Friday while you’re running around doing Black Friday shopping. It’s completely ok to go a little overboard. Life moves on and so will you. In fact, I make Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner days where I’m not on a diet at all. I just eat and let myself savor every bite and enjoy it all.

Thanksgiving dinner isn’t evil. It’s delicious and it’s completely okay to enjoy every single bit of it. I promise that the world will keep turning if you have seconds and thirds and three slices of pie. I promise that you will not gain any real weight. You might bloat up and retain water, but it’s pretty unlikely that you, the health conscious person that you are, will gain any real weight from one meal. Just enjoy it. You don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner every night. When else do you have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin/pecan pie all at once? Have fun and don’t worry. You won’t lose any progress by having one meal. I completely erase Thanksgiving off my diet calendar. It’s not a cheat day. It’s not an “eat clean” day. It’s just a day.

So have fun this Thanksgiving and breathe. Everything will be okay.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Healthy Holiday Guide Part 1: Family

stock image. edited with Pixlr

Part 1 to this multi-part installment has to deal with family. The holidays are fast approaching! American Thanksgiving is in a week and then it’s time to prepare for the Christmas season, and with that comes lots of reunions with people, food, and maybe pounds. The average American gains 1-2 pounds over the holiday season, consuming around 4,500 calories from Thanksgiving dinner alone, not including breakfast, lunch, or any snacks. Those pounds gained over the holiday season also tend to stick around instead of going away once life returns to normal, so they can add up over time. It’s not too much if you look at it one year at a time, but it can add up, and if you’re trying to lose weight it can be a cause of emotional distress. And the holiday season shouldn’t be a time to be upset! So I’ve written this series to help you get through the holidays as best as you can.

Part 1: Unwanted Family Comments

If you’re like me, and like most families, you probably get a few unsolicited/unwanted comments about your life over the holidays. I’m a college student who is married to her high-school sweetheart and getting a degree in screenwriting. You can just imagine all the questions this seems to warrant. But on top of all that I also get comments about my weight.

I’m too skinny so I need to eat more. Have another roll! Are you sure you don’t want seconds? You get the biggest slice of pie! Have another! Of course you’re cold! It’s because you’re so skinny. If you ate more you wouldn’t get so cold.

And if you’re trying to lose weight you’ll get all kind of compliments about how much you’ve lost and that’s great. Say thank you and try to move on, because chances are that whatever comes after that won’t be so nice. They probably won’t be on purpose or intended to be rude, but I know they sometimes can come off that way. People just don’t know how to comment on weight because of their own insecurities. Maybe you’re successfully losing weight and they can’t even find the motivation to start. That’s their problem and not yours. Don’t let it get to you if they say anything rude. They might not even realize that what they said was inappropriate. If they mean it as a compliment say thank you and strike up a new conversation immediately.

“Thank you! How’s Jane doing with her science project?”

If it does get out of hand and you feel the urge tell them politely that you’d like to talk about something else and/or that the weight subject is off the table.

When it comes to your choice of what you put on your plate that is your plate. Any comments on what you’re eating are no one else’s business. Feel free to handle this politely in any way you’d like, but try not to let it get to you. Know that however you look and however you eat you are taking care of yourself and that is all that matters.

I don’t mean to make it sound like the holidays with your family are going to be a battlefield of comments you have to try to dodge. It’ll probably only last a couple minutes and then the fun and happy holiday memories can begin. The key things are to smile and nod when someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, maybe let them know you’re not okay with those comments, and then enjoy the meal and stories of Thanksgivings and Christmases past while you create new ones.

That’s all for Part 1. Part 2 will be coming out soon and it’s all about healthy eating for Thanksgiving! Subscribe and follow my Facebook and Twitter to be alerted when I post the next part of this series.

What is the worst comment you’ve ever gotten about your healthy lifestyle from a friend or family member?