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Candy, Cookies and Carbs…oh my! 6 Tips to Surviving the Holiday Months

Candy, Cookies and Carbs...oh my! 6 Healthy Tips on Surviving the Holidays by Clare Smith. #LoveYourLifeFriday at karenehman.com.

Well, well, well. Here we are again. Looking the end of the year right in the face! I can’t believe we are in October. You know as well as I do that the accelerator goes down hard from here until January 1st!

With the pick up in pace of our schedules, we also seem to pick up the pace in the amount of food we have around us! Thanksgiving doesn’t start all of our woes in eating….it’s Halloween! Whether you partake in it or not, candy, cookies and carbs manage to be everywhere! It’s a handful of candy corn here, a couple “fun size” snickers there, a pumpkin spice latte because it was a hard Monday, and again on Friday because it’s Friday after all!

Then we move into November where we start to prepare for the holidays. Parties, celebrations and more slammed into every weekend and December is no better. Are you overwhelmed yet? Trying to figure out how you will lose those last 10 lbs? I understand. It’s no wonder New Year’s weight loss resolutions are so enticing….we’re coming off a 2-month streak of food and more food!

As a health coach, fitness trainer, and real-life person (yes, I have these same struggles and temptations as you!), I want to give you some tips to help you wade through the next couple months!

One thing to keep in mind is that everyone is unique in how they go about this. What works for one person’s personality and life won’t work for someone else.

1.) Enter the season with a strong, positive attitude.

If you enter the holidays with a negative attitude, thinking that all hope is gone…it will be the same as the other “x” years of your life, then guess what? It will be. But if you decide that this year will be different. Maybe not super extreme, but different, then guess what? It will be. How you enter this season, both in health habits and mindset will make a world of difference.

2.) Simplify your life.

I know what you’re thinking…this has NOTHING to do with weight loss! Wrong! Stress is perhaps one of the biggest factors to our weight gain and resistance as we get older. As soon as your calendar gets crazy, so does your eating. You are more apt to give in to the quick and easy foods. So to manage your appetite, you must manage your schedule.

3.) Embrace the foods (and movement!) that make you feel good

There are going to be certain foods that fit into both categories of tasting good and helping you feel good….get to know those! For example, for a sweet fix, instead of choosing a candy bar or pre-packaged cookie from the store, consider making something like a fat bomb, or these pumpkin muffins.  Use those as your “go-to” both at home and when you attend parties and bring enough to share! Every time you think you can’t eat something, I want you to reach for the things you CAN and love to eat. Also, if heading to that workout class that you dread is a little much during this season, then choose a different workout you like. Sure, it may not be as intense or as hard as another option, but I am just wanting you to “stay in the ballgame”. We are more apt to quit when we don’t find enjoyment in going. Work out in a way that fills your tank.

4.) Put your intense workouts on days you know you will be giving yourself a little more leeway at the party.

Let’s be real. There will be parties or gatherings where you have no desire to eat healthy. You want to eat what you want, or at least, not feel terribly restricted. On those days, be sure to put an intense, weight-lifting workout in the mix. Your body will use up the carbs that you consume at the party thanks to what you just put it through at the gym. Think HIIT, fast, and hard. Caution: Many people use this as an excuse to go overboard but remember, your body will store excess calories and you might be surprised how little it needs after a workout like that. So even though this is a good “hack”, it’s not a reason for you to go crazy with the queso and chocolate-covered grahams.

5.) Work through your emotions.

Again, another “non-calorie” method that is essential to you keeping in check with eating. When we are sad, frustrated, or perplexed about life, be it a relationship, marriage, memory, or general discontent, many women eat themselves through that. So if the holiday season brings some things to surface, then you will need to be extra careful when it comes to your health. Journal. Meet with a friend. Schedule a session with a counselor. Work through your emotions, don’t eat them.

6.) Move on.

The final tip is this….move on. When you have a day, or perhaps 3, or maybe it’s 2 weeks, of bad eating, increased stress, and scheduling woes, the tendency is to just roll it up into the next 2 months and continue down that path making no changes. We live in the real world. Things like this happen.  You won’t always work through the area of eating in the ideal way. It’s why we must learn how to recover after we’ve gone off track. The best thing you can do is give yourself a little pep talk, focusing on the WHY behind the importance of your health, praying for wisdom, and then taking the next right step. Entering 2018 five pounds over your goal is better than 10 or 15 pounds over, so keep it all in perspective.

I love socializing, holiday parties and I love good food. I do believe that God has given it to us to enjoy so I have no problem with you indulging in some of those amazing foods you only get around the holidays. The problem is when we let it become an idol in our heart, our “go-to” in times of need or sadness, or something that has swung to an extreme.

The only way we’ll stay grounded is to fix our eyes on Jesus and to allow the Spirit of God to instruct and comfort us during the day! He gives grace for our weakness and strength to do what He’s asked us to do.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24


Clare Smith lives with her husband and 2 children in Northeast Ohio. She is a certified fitness instructor and teaches Pilates and group fitness classes at her church and local university. Clare’s passion (outside of raising and nurturing her children and home) is motivating women of all ages and stages of life to live well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Check out Clare’s book, The Living + Active Challenge: Your 5-Week Training Guide for Body and Soul.

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