Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Blog Archives - 2012
Surviving the Holidays

Hey y'all! December sure is flying by, huh? Like most people, I love the holidays. It seems like everyone becomes a little bit nicer, a little bit more generous, and we can actually stand our families without going insane. Okay, maybe that last one is a tad iffy... But let's not forget that that generosity reaches over into the food sector as well. And no, I'm not talking about the millions of people donating to their local food shelf (which is great, by the way, I encourage it!)

 Actually, I'm referring to the ridiculous amounts of food we're eating over the holidays. And not just the amounts of food, but the quality of the food we're relentlessly gobbling day in and day out. Cookies, pies, cakes, chocolate, chips, cheese plates, deli meat, potatoes, gravy, yadda, yadda, yadda. I could go on all day about the evils of the pounds of sugar, fats (the 'bad' kind), carbs, and sodium that end up coursing through our bodies over the holidays. EMPTY CALORIES! But I won't. Even though it all adds up to equal weight gain. No big deal, right? Actually it kinda is a big deal, mainly 'cause it's really really really hard to get rid of holiday weight. Why? Think about it. After the holidays are over, we've still got refrigerators stocked with goodies, leftovers in Tupperware stacked to the ceiling, half empty liquor bottles lining the counter, and of course, mom's cheesecake that no one was able to finish (as a result of pigging out) staring you down with its irresistible Saran-wrapped goodness. Temptation at its finest.

Anyways, we all know how hard it is to resist Grandma's apple pie, Mom's famous mashed potatoes, and your too-friendly neighbor's boxes of Christmas cookies. Next thing you know, you find yourself wondering if the bathroom scale is broken, after all, you can't REALLY be that heavy, can you? I mean, come on, it's not like you ate THAT much....just nibbled here...and there...and had one too many peanut-butter blossoms...but hey, that can't make a difference, can it? Ah yes, here we are thinking we're invincible, that our jeans will always fit and our "naturally fast" metabolism will take care of those extra 500,000 calories..Boy, are we in for a surprise. Let's prevent this war with the bathroom scale and refrain from having to buy roomier pants, shall we? ;)

1. Eat BEFORE the meal. Never approach a holiday meal on an empty stomach. That's a recipe for disaster. You'll ALWAYS end up overeating, even if you try not to. Try to snack on something like almonds or walnuts. They curb appetite so you don't pig out as much. Or drink a glass of water 10 minutes prior to the meal, you'll feel fuller and won't be tempted to gorge.

2. Don't starve yourself. Seriously, don't let yourself get too hungry. Skipping a meal to prepare for another? That results in overcompensation. Keep a healthy snack on hand while you travel, socialize at parties, and spend time with family. Nuts, seeds, cheese sticks, trail mix (minus the m&m's, of course) all make great snacks to keep you from reaching for the cheese plate and cookies. Keeping your blood sugar level also helps suppress appetite & control weight. So you win both ways!

3. H2O. And lots of it. Always, always, always keep a bottle or glass of water around you during the holiday season. All too often we forget to hydrate, and we'll end up guzzling egg nog, calorie-rich alcoholic drinks, and soda. Drinking water helps prevent mindless eating and just gives you something to do instead of chasing down the hors d'oeuvres waiter. 

4. Moderation! I'm in no way anti-Christmas cookies. I love 'em. But let's be honest. They provide absolutely no nutritional content worth your while. All the same, it's okay to have some of the "good stuff" you don't usually get to have during the year. But choose wisely. Pick one or two things you really love and skip the rest. Sometimes just a taste is all one needs to satisfy a craving. Weigh the "do-I-really-want-this" value of the foods. Have a little, no prob, but watch yourself. Seemingly harmless overindulgence is what sews your pants a little bit tighter each night. Sneaky as heck.

5. Get out. Lethargy always seems to take over once the holidays roll around. That needs to stop right now. Drag your guilt-ridden, hungover, bloated self out of bed and go for a jog. Or hit the gym. Or something. Anything! Combating holiday weight isn't gonna happen without some good old fashioned exercise. I promise you, treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes will become your saving grace. Don't forget to throw in some strength training to maintain muscle, too. Have your family join you! It's always more fun with someone else to complain to. 

6. Remember to socialize. All too often we focus too much on food during the holidays and put people second on the list. Bad idea. The holidays aren't about food, it's about baby JC and the miracle of Christmas and kissing the year goodbye, ready for a fresh (or not so fresh) start! It's about friends and family, giving and getting (selfish much?), reflection!  So put that plate of assorted desserts down and go be the social butterfly we all know you are. And don't stand and talk around the dinner table, get away from there and into an environment free of temptations...like the living room! Conversation is calorie-free, after all.

I apologize greatly if this post was too long....but I think it's necessary. Don't forget to catch the occasional (or regular) z's! You need your beauty rest to make balanced food decisions. Most importantly, have a good time! Don't stress too much about food, 'cause that really ruins the fun. Balanced meals will just keep you on track. Need more tips? I'm your gal. I've many tricks up my sleeve...

Happy Trails (and holidays! Or in 'Murica, we like to say "Cheers!" *clink clink*) ;)

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