Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Closeup chocolate

Now that we are in the midst of the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of keeping our bodies in top form. Since we in publishing have sedentary jobs, we must be vigilant about our health. Even though many of us work at home, we still have parties at church, our outside jobs, our spouse’s work, clubs, and other food-laden events.

I’ve already been challenged by two events: Thanksgiving (as has everyone else), followed by a trip to Connecticut to see my in-laws. For a visit of less than two days, my dear mother-in-law had for my husband and me:

1.) Hershey kisses

2.) nuts

3.) a box of cupcakes

4.) two boxes of cookies

5.) Haagen-Dazs chocolate chip ice cream

6.) Ben and Jerry’s cheesecake brownie ice cream

7.) an apple pie

8.) cranberry bread

9.) banana bread

10.) sodas

11.) Jarlsberg cheese served with crackers

12.) applesauce she made herself (Okay, we were obligated to try this and it was yummy.)

Since she is 88, we don’t ask her to cook and since it’s too difficult time-wise for me to prepare dishes at her house, we ate out for every meal. No matter where you go, restaurants serve way too much food.

My guess is if you are visiting family over the holidays, this scenario sounds all too familiar.

I staved off many unwanted calories by:

1.) not ordering dessert at any restaurant

2.) ordering half sandwiches at Panera Bread

3.) having the waitress box side dishes before the meal to take home so I only ate the entree

4.) refusing snacks

5.) avoiding all sodas

I am also hoping to keep up my regular gym habits as much as I can and eating at home as often as possible over the holidays.

I love a delicious cookie as much as anyone else, but I never regret not overeating. Feeling more energetic and productive in and out of the office during the Christmas season is its own reward.

But it’s OK to indulge just a little. Especially if it’s homemade applesauce.

Wishing you a Merry and Healthy Christmas!

Your turn:

Can you share some tips on how you are staying healthy over the holidays?

What is your biggest holiday food temptation?

18 Responses to Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

  1. Jackie Layton December 19, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    Cookies and pie are my biggest temptations.

    I decided not to bake any cookies until Dec. 24 this year, and I’m looking for healthy options.

    I’ve also got more fruit and fresh veggies in the refrigerator this year. So we’ll see how it goes.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild December 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Dear Tamela: I own a tea room (Her Majesty’s English Tea Room) and constantly bake etc. Also my tea room is attached to my British shoppe Fairchild’s and we sell UK and American chocolates and biscuits etc. Food…it is the best of times and the worst.

      Take what ever your weight is right now and multiply it by 12. This is the amount of calories you can have to stay the same (or possibly gain a tad). So you need to look at this number and go under it. Not tons. After all it is Christmas. But you need to go under it . To sincerely lose you need to chisel down to 1200 calories.

      Most wine is 200-400 calories for a tiny glass. Empty calories. If this is your choice, just know that it slides down easily and mounts up.

      With counting calories, you can indulge. But when you are done you are done.

      So the first part of the day should start as low and healthy as possible. You need some tiny bit of protein to keep you going. The myth about a carb for breakfast to jump start you is just that. If you got enough sleep you should count on your own system to get you going. Go for the protein. One egg etc.

      Eating out is the hardest. Being in the food business and reading all my wholesale restaurant magazines I can say that what ever you figure a calorie count is at home, double it for eating out. For instance: most restaurants marinade their meat. Yes, it is tender and flavorful but it is like injecting more fat. Most high end burgers are fried in fat, basted in more fat. That is why they are so good. The rule of thumb is to double it.

      Remember preservatives and flavor enhancers you would never touch at home are a restaurants mainstay.

      With that said, I love to follow your writing. Thank you for much encouragement. And hopefully my diet encouragement will help you. Look at those calories. There is a free phone app my sister uses (email me if you want me to find it) but you will quickly sum up your calories with a little practice.
      Exercise keeps us firm and fit and clears our heads and tightens our skin and and and. Many good things we all need. But it burns very few calories so NEVER ever count that and then think you can eat that extra whatever. It just doesn’t work that way. Did you notice even some of the Dancing with the Stars contestants did not lose weight, and they practice 8 plus hours a day.

      Ok back to my latest book in between my customers. Merry Christmas and again thank you for coming to my computer.

      Warm regards
      Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild

      • Tamela Hancock Murray December 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

        Jacqueline, I am catching up today and I want you to know I read every word of your comment and really appreciate your excellent and practical advice. Thank you so much!

        I appreciate your kind words about my blog posts, too. 🙂

  2. Martha Rogers December 19, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Well, Janice Thompson’s cookies are impossible to resist. If I over indulge one day, then I make sure I eat healthy and exercise the next day and don’t feel guilty. If I’m busy, I forget to sit down and eat a meal. When I have a big lunch, I eat light at dinner with a bowl of soup or half a sandwich and fruit. I’ve lost a pound since Thanksgiving.

  3. Richard Mabry December 19, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Tamela, good advice. To build on the “staying healthy” theme, I’d add 1) get your flu shot (although I hope everyone has already had theirs), 2) don’t forget hand-washing and coughing into your elbow instead of your hand, and 3) get some rest. Merry Christmas, all.

    • Martha Rogers December 19, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      I recently saw a cashier at Wal-Mart sneeze into her shoulder-elbow then use one of those pocket sanitizers to clean her hands before continuing to check out. I appreciated that.

  4. Ane Mulligan December 19, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I had a boss once who dieted this way: he only ate half of whatever he wanted. To stop himself from eating the other half, he poured sugar over the 2nd half savory items and salted the 2nd half of sweet items, rendering them inedible. Smart guy!

  5. Cheri Gregory December 19, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    As a high school teacher, I know that my classroom will be full of ever-hungry teenage boys once again on January 6.

    So, any holiday food we’re given that we don’t absolutely love, I set aside “for my boys.” This includes all chocolate not beginning with the letter G, huge cans of flavored popcorn, etc.
    Since my boys are gourmands, not gourmets — they crave large quantities of food, not high quality food — they are thrilled.

    And we thoroughly enjoy daily doses of heavenly home-made fudge, Godiva & Ghirardelli chocolate, and the like, without making ourselves sick trying to eat all the food that’s somehow shown up in our house.

    • Jackie Layton December 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      What a great idea Cheri. You’ve inspired me to take my leftovers to work. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Peter DeHaan December 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    This was a bad post for me to read while I’m fasting!

  7. Angie Dicken December 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    I have been seriously considering not going to a cookie exchange Friday…because I have no self-control for cookies! But, we have a party on Saturday where we are suppose to bring a dish…I am going to bring the cookies from the exchange and call it good–for the guests AND my waistline! 😉
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Tamela!

  8. Jackie Layton December 20, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    I just found these healthy cookie recipes, and I wanted to share the link with all of you. (Detoxinista is a healthy blog I follow.) I may end up baking cookies this year.
    The Double Chocolate Cookies look great!

  9. Anna Labno December 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I can’t go to the fitness club because I’m sick. I try to exercise four times in a week. I was trying to lose five pounds bedore Christmas. But now I won’t be able to do anything since I can’t keep any food down. At least I can drink. God reminds me we can all plan, but what comes out from our planning is a different story.
    I was going to clean for the holidays–can’t do that. My counter top is filled with different kinds of medications, dirty plates, and cups. I’m sick; my boys are sick. Everyone in our household feels terrible trying to beat the high temperatures down. I haven’t finish shopping for holidays and probably will meet the worst rush this Sunday.

    What might be surprising to people is I don’t have to have chocolate or coffee in my life. But I do love carmel apples with nuts and love cakes. I love all kinds of potatoes and cheese.


    Anna Labno

    • Tamela Hancock Murray December 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Anna, I hope you are feeling much better now! Blessings to you!

      • Anna Labno December 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

        Thank you, Tamela. I’m fine now. Finally, I’m back to cleaning.
        I’m going to resume my trips to the fitness club tonight.

      • Tamela Hancock Murray December 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

        So glad you are better, Anna!

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