How to Have a Mindful Holiday Season

So what is the secret to maintaining your weight and avoiding those extra pounds that may come with the holiday? I had my first party of the season this past weekend – a fall potluck among friends – featuring a classic holiday spread, and it is not even thanksgiving yet! Between family, friends, and coworkers my holidays are often filled with parties centered around food, and I haven’t even mentioned the cookies, cakes and breads that are often gifted before the end of the year. With all the special attention food receives this time of year, how can you help keep those pounds off – those same pounds you have worked so hard to lose? Read on!

First, I want to redirect your attention to the people you are gathering with, your family, friends, and coworkers. Good conversation and spending time with those who are special to you should be the main intention when arriving at a party. People are precious, food is not. Remember who is important and place value in those relationships. Focus on having meaningful conversations with those people in your life who you may not get to see everyday.

Second, maintain your normal routine. Continue your exercise routine and eat a balanced diet throughout the season. Do not chalk it all up to “it’s the holidays, I can eat whatever I want” or “I will get back to walking in January”. Include exercise into your holidays, like taking a walk after Thanksgiving dinner. Eat a balanced diet and do not skip your regular healthy meals as a tradeoff for eating whatever you want later.

Third, make smart decisions. Save your calories for those items that you really want, and those that you can only get this time of year. Maybe Aunt Lucy only makes her famous apple pie for Christmas dinner, so have a slice of that, but pass on the cookies, candies, and cupcakes that are not so scarce the rest of the year. Pass on the dinner rolls and go for the stuffing only or choose the sweet potato casserole and pass on the mashed potatoes that are always around. Remember you do not have to eat some of everything.

Holiday celebrations have always been very important in my family, and heavily revolve around food. We like to snack, so there are lots of snacks (skyline dip, bagel dip, taco dip….). We also like desserts, so there are lots of desserts (sometimes more desserts than anything else). However, I am proud to say that I have a pretty fit and healthy family.  Every year at our Christmas party there is a “Christmas Challenge” and a silly string fight for the “kids” (the aunts and uncles are the biggest kids). Nothing will get your heart rate up like an exhilarating silly string fight!

My sister and I a few years back covered in silly string :)

My sister and I a few years back covered in silly string :)

We have had pushup and chair-dip contests and there are always a handful comparing 5k and 10k times from those turkey trots and jingle bell runs. So yeah, we eat, but we also know how to play. These events are likely driven by the competitive nature of my mom and her 8 other siblings, but who else can claim to have a silly string fight with 20+ people for Christmas?

The aftermath of a silly string fight!

The aftermath of a silly string fight!

Since I am over one thousand miles away, I will miss the annual silly string fight the third year in a row (maybe this means there needs to be a silly string fight at my wedding?!). Luckily my parents are visiting early in December and I have Wes and his family to celebrate the holidays with. Wes and I will get in a 5k turkey trot and who knows, maybe I’ll have introduce a couple new traditions to his family this year.

Almost forgot about the arm wrestling challenge! Sister vs Sister!

Almost forgot about the arm wrestling challenge! Sister vs Sister!

Happy Holidays, and keep your health in mind!

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