WritersButt Wenesday – 5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Sabotage

Casa Calem Christmas Eve 2011

Casa Calem Christmas Eve 2011 — the whole crew gathered for the annual Tortilla Soup Fiesta! 

One of the most common things is for people to derail themselves from their healthy habits during the holiday season. It’s not just Christmas or Chanukah either. No, this veering off the tracks starts back in October with Halloween. The candy and treats, the colder weather and wearing more clothes. Then comes Thanksgiving, the holiday of eating indulgence. Before we know what’s happened, we’re into December, candy canes and sugar plums. Christmas cookies and eggnog. Avoiding the outdoors to snuggle in front of a warm fire with a hot toddy.

For the record, I’m all for the hot toddy in front of the fire. 

How can you get through all of these temptations and still enjoy the many traditional indulgences that come with the holiday festivities without feeling terribly sluggish and mushy come January? I have some ideas to help with that!

Here are my top 5 TIPS to help you avoid a complete self-sabotage of all the great WritersButt habits you’ve incorporated into your life the past year. (Can you believe WB is almost a year old?)

1. 1:1 ‘Drink’ to Water ratio

There are going to be parties where the libations will be free flowing. It’s easy to forget to drink your water and stay hydrated. Also, having enough water will keep you from having that hangover feeling come morning. Talk about a holiday hum-bug. So, for every drink, follow it with a large glass of water. Also, choose a small glass for your alcoholic beverage and ‘nurse’ it. Let yourself enjoy it without racking up the sugar-calories of the beverage. Finally and this is a biggie – designate a driver! It’s ok to have a few drinks now and again at a party. But, if the party is not at your place where all you have to do is crash into bed, don’t be the driver!

2. Choose Indulgences Wisely

Ok, there are going to be a ton of treats and goodies. You don’t have to go hog-wild and have ALL of them. I’m sure some are your favorites. Indulge in them and with some quantity restraint. Here’s a trick that I do. For our traditional Thanksgiving meal, I really love stuffing and mashed potatoes. I never eat this sort of thing and I know it’s going to taste wonderful the one or two times I have it a year. But, I dish it last! First I fill my plate with salad and veggies and meat. I only leave a little room for a small spoonful of stuffing and little dollop of potatoes. I also eat the salad, veggies and meat first. By the time I get to the ‘treats’, I’m already pretty full and just those few tastes are enough.  Same goes for cookies and cakes. Resist trying them all. Pick your very favorites, break the cookie in half, slice a very thin piece, whatever works so that you get a taste but it won’t amount to so much your pants won’t fit by New Years.  At a party, fill up on veggies and dip before moving on to the breads and sugary choices. Sweep the room and decide what is worth your indulgence, eat the healthy stuff first and then indulge away once you’re already a bit full.

3. Griswold Parking

If you’re like me, you’ll be out and about in the month of December whether it be Christmas shopping or what feels like daily trips to the grocery store. Don’t even try to get a spot up front. Do yourself and your behind a favor and park as far away from the entrance as you can. Not only will there likely be a spot back there, saving you the frustration of trying not to run over a little old lady shuffling down the lane with her cart, not getting out of the way at all, but you’ll likely get into the store faster. Bigger bonus, you can get in a little extra exercise. And don’t be meandering about it. Pick up the pace, get your feet moving. Trust me, the extra 100 feet of walking won’t kill you. I promise!

4. Walk it out / Talk it out

The holidays are about family, traditions and blessings. So often we all get crammed up in our houses, maybe watching TV/sports, or falling asleep on the couch from food overload. How about taking a family walk. We did just that this past Thanksgiving and it was awesome. After dinner, a large group of us went a long walk through the neighborhood. (Note: we are in TX and it was temperate but hey, you northerners do own parkas and boots, right? Bundle up!) Not only was the fresh air wonderful, the exercise helped digest our food and the best thing is that we had some great discussions on our walk because there weren’t any other distractions around like TV, computer, phones.  I know this will become a family tradition.

5. Gold Star List

You know I encourage you all to write down 3-5 daily gratitudes in a journal before bed. Well, another thing you can add to your journal are whatever healthy choices you made that day – your GOLD STAR items! I’m a sucker for a gold star. I want them. They make me feel good. You can even pick up some star stickers next time you’re out and put them in your journal and next to the star list your healthy choices. Example: *Ate fresh veggies with hummus instead of a block of cheese and ritz crackers. *Opted to be the designated driver – took photos of Aunt Edna drinking wine from the bottle with a straw for future blackmail needs. *Parked in next town over and walked to Target.  Think I’m ready for CrossFit.

The point is to enjoy the holiday season without waking up on January 1st 1-2 sizes larger and feeling regretful. To completely abandon your healthy habits and not reign in your indulgences will likely leave you sluggish, moody, with indigestion issues and skin breakout – yes, even adults!

You really can have fun –and have some treats- without completely abandoning healthy living.

Do any of you have any healthy tips to share? I’d love to hear them.


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on December 5, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Griswold parking! I love it. You’re tops, Miss Ginger.

  2. I love the idea of a walk after dinner. I haven’t managed to convince anyone else to go with me yet, but I have done that a couple times myself 🙂

    • We’ll have to see if we can get create and find a way to trick them into walking with you. Maybe tell them you’ve hidden a chocolate cake in the bushes or something. 😉

  3. My kids always grumble about how far away I park. 🙂 I also march while brushing my teeth, talking on the phone, etc. I take my steps where I can get them. I need to work on choosing my indulgences wisely though. Thanks Ginger!

  4. Ginger, I think this is amazing. Nothing worse that just going for it with total abandon, then feeling so lousy about yourself in the New Year. I plan strategic splurges…if I am going to have a slice of my mom’s famous huckleberry pie, I make sure I have my protein smoothee for lunch, and them put more time in exercise to make up for it!

    • Thanks, Cheryl. Yes, it’s that totally abandon and idea that you’ll deal with in the new year. Ugh! A recipe for failure. So much healthier to know you won’t have the healthiest of months but you’re not going to totally sabotage yourself either. I’m like you. I know certain things I’ll indulge in but most of the time, it’s not worth how crappy it’ll make me feel.

  5. Love it! Sharing it!! Will always strive to live it!

  6. Okay, so this parking deal – I’m all for it but . . . lately it’s been pouring down large quantities of flood-type rain. If I’m at lunch and I’m wearing my heels and long winter coat, I can’t hardly sprint across the wet parking lot from the back forty to the front door. Nice try, Ginger, but I’m not gonna do that one every time I need to run an errand.

    I so get it though. I’m only being tongue-in-cheek. I try to do the 1:1 water/drink ratio. It certainly fills me up faster so I’m not inclined to drink as much. And I limit myself to 1 sweet treat. Please don’t take away my potato chips though. I’ll do some extra bathroom squats I promise, but don’t take away my chips.

    Great ideas. I shall try to be good this year.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Patricia, we need to discuss this flood-type rain and you mentioned something about ‘snow’ in January … um, will I survive my trip out there? 🙂 And I still have to book my flight. Assuming I’m still on the docket. Ha!!

      You and your potato chips. Fine, 20 squats for every pee for you.

      • You do know where Sacramento is right? I cannot guarantee no flood-like rain and if you come up to my house there very well could be snow. But, I’m pretty sure you’ll survive. I’ll take good care of you.

        And – yes – of course you’re still on! We can’t wait to have you. So book that flight, pack some sweaters and get on over here.


      • Yay!

        Note to self: Buy Sweaters. Dust off rain boots. Prepare big hug for Patricia!

  7. Great, great tips, Ginger. Proud to say I do #1-3. Been slack on the journey stuff lately. Really need to jump back in. I miss those gold stars and recalling what was great about the day. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    • You are doing great Judythe. The journey stuff is what falls off lists first, it seems to me. I believe it’s because it’s focused on self and we often shine that focus on others. Time to give yourself some more gold stars … you deserve them!

  8. Nancy J Nicholson

    Great list Ginger. For me and our circumstances, we do make holiday treats, but 2 dozen of the sweets are enough and we don’t make the next batch for a day or two after sharing with our harbor mates. Plus a good water aerobic workout daily helps even after the hike up a hill. Happy Holidays!

    • I’m so intrigued with your lifestyle on the water. I love reading about it. Daily water aerobics? Dang, you’re doing great. Keep it up and have a great festive season!! 🙂

  9. i’ve been seriously paleo for 4 months but I’ve all of a sudden been plagued with the worst cravings– I want carbs and lots of them. good thing is I don’t eat sugar and I’m a celiac so that’s ok.

    no coffee, no sweetener, no grains, no root vegetables, lots of fruit (not enough vegetables), and protein.not enough water. but man the cravings are ugly right now.

    • Louise, what I’m not seeing on your list are healthy fats. Perhaps you’re not getting enough. They will help a LOT with cravings. Nuts, avocados, plenty of coconut/olive oils, eggs w/ yolk … I always have a jar of sunbutter or almond butter to put on my apples or just to have a spoonful if I need a little ‘something’. Without the grains and sugar (YAY YOU!!!!) fats are your energy source. (And yes, add is some more veggies, cook/drizzle with oil) 🙂

  10. Great tips, Ginger, but you didn’t highlight a biggie: your family tortilla soup night. You created an event that’s about gathering family close and enjoying wholesome food. If some of our happiest childhood memories are linked to wholesome foods, especially at this time of year, then we won’t crave gingerbread lattes, chocolate lava cake, and bread puddingbreadpuddingbreadpudding. (Damn, writing bread pudding three times, fast, doesn’t kill the craving.)

    Oh, were you doing the subliminal thing with family tortilla soup night? Totally worked with me.

    • You are so great, Pat! I haven’t really thought about it the way you put it, associating those big family events with wholesome food. I like that a lot and realized that I also typically host Halloween — which is another healthy soup (Italian meatball) night. I guess most of my hosting nights do indeed include fresh, healthy food. Go figure! 😉

      Wanna come over? I’ll serve you up a huge bowl of my tortilla soup. The entire pot was empty last year and I made what seemed like a vat of it. haha!

    • P.S. No comment on the breadpuddingbreadpuddingbreadpudding ….

  11. Shannon Esposito

    Gawd, I so failed this list…lol! Just stopping by to say Happy New Year! since I’m finally feeling less overwhelmed. Hope this year rocks for ya!

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