Surviving the Holidays

 A few years ago, I provided some tips on avoiding holiday weight gain.  (If you search Christmas or Holidays at the top of the page/in the search bar, you’ll get all kinds of good stuff from me -workouts and recipes.)  With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, this year I thought I’d provide you with some of tips on how to get thru the holidays without ruining your fitness or nutrition plan.

Christmas is often seen as the season of indulgence.  There are an excessive amount of parties and dinners and get-togethers and functions – not to mention Christmas dinner – and with all of that, there comes large quantities of food and drinks.  Whether it’s chips and dips and beer or a buffet with an abundance of rich desserts and cheeses and wines, there is likely something that will can entice even the strongest-willed guest.


So, in order to do your best at not over-indulging (or gorging yourself) this Christmas, here are some of my best tips:

Make a Plan.   Don’t start the season off without knowing exactly how you will approach it.  Look at your calendar and figure out when you can get your workouts in – even if you can only spare 20 minutes.  Utilize that time to make the workout count!  Making a plan also comes into play when you’re preparing to feast.  If you are attending a holiday party where you know there will be lots of decadent foods served, plan your meals and eating routine around that.  Have a lighter lunch or dinner* or have a healthy snack instead of your regular meal if you will be eating later at an event.  If you really have the will power (or discipline) you can always prepare your own snacks to take with you to a holiday party – that way, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and won’t go over your portion.  *You can also prepare a nutritious meal at home prior to going to your event.  This will prevent you from overeating or eating excessive junk at the party.  And again, this way you will know exactly what you’re consuming.

  1. Commit.   If you commit yourself to staying healthy during the holidays, stick to it.  This does not mean committing 100% (although, how fantastic would that be?), but why not commit yourself 80-90%.  If you’re not able to get to the gym 4 times per week during the Christmas rush, why not commit to getting there twice a week?  Or saving your gas and working out at home 3-4 times per week.  There are ways to compromise while (sort of) sticking to your plan.
  2. Challenge Yourself.  If you are going to be working out less during the holidays, make sure your workouts count.  Adding in strength training (you should be doing this anyway), plyometrics, HIIT workouts, or something out of the ordinary can rev up your system and help you in burning more fat than your regular workout.  There are so many other ways to do this easily – increasing the intensity on your treadmill or elliptical, holding your yoga pose longer.  Whatever it is, make sure it’s challenging you and see the difference.
  3. Eat Breakfast.  I cannot stress enough how eating a well-rounded, healthy breakfast can change your life.  Protein and the right carbs can be a game-changer for your entire day.  People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat during the day.
  4. Don’t Drink (All) Your Calories.   Have a glass of wine or punch or a beer – just don’t overdo it on the booze or eggnog or cider.  Holiday party drinks are almost always loaded with sugar or fat.  So be on the lookout for that and sip wisely.  In addition to this, making your own java can help save you calories – and money.  Brewing at home as opposed to purchasing overpriced, over-sugared coffees/mochas/lattes/etc. will help you monitor what’s going in your body and what’s coming out of your wallet.

    Sugar Rush

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  5. Don’t Punish Yourself.  If you’re at a party or a dinner and there is something you really want – eat/drink it.  Just limit yourself.  You don’t necessarily have to eat the entire plate of cookies, but you can have one.  Enjoy it.  Savor it.
  6. Don’t Forget that Christmas/the holidays are not all about food.  Christmas parties and family gatherings are also about being social and spending time with friends and loved ones.  So, step away from the buffet table or the chip bowl or the bar and indulge in the conversation, listen to the music, sit by the fire.  Mingle, tell stories, and Enjoy Yourself!




My Top 5 Wellness Favorites


I was asked recently about favorite personal wellness tips and as I’ve been reflecting on my regular routine, I’ve been able to narrow them down.  Here are my top five favorites:


Exercise and nutrition/clean eating.  Obviously I have a passion for fitness and good basic nutrition.  They have become such a huge part of my life that it is more than apparent that they would be number one on my list.  And, since I believe fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand, I have joined them as top rank.  I am a huge lover of cardio, but for the past 8 months, I have been completely obsessed with my strength training and have been focusing most of my gym time on that.  I would encourage everyone to add a strength training routine to their regular fitness regime.  I’m also a cheerleader for clean eating and following the Whole 30 program.  I am not a clean eater 100% (I literally just ate a handful of salted caramel chocolate chips), but I often try to stay away from processed and junk and fast foods as much as possible.  In fact, I am gearing up for a Whole 30 in a few weeks.  I also love starting my day off with some form of exercise.  It used to be a crazy Insanity workout or other form of cardio, then it was yogo, and this summer it has been early morning walks.  I am so in love with my early morning walks for a few reasons but the biggest one is the solitude in the mornings.  It’s usually just me out there and I love the stillness and the quiet and the fresh air in my face.  I also love the little feeling of accomplishment in the mornings and the walks have been giving me that.


Water.  Lotsa water.  I love water.  It’s my favorite drink.  In fact, aside from a morning coffee or the occasional glass of wine, it’s the only thing I drink.  And I drink a lot of it. Water is essential in every day life – you can read here a past post on why water is important.  I love water and I constantly have a glass of it on the go, whether I’m at work or working out, I try to continuously guzzle.


Sleep.  Sleep is right up there with water – it’s essential.  And it’s a big part of how I’m going to function.  I hate not getting enough sleep.  About 5 years ago I had a bad bought of insomnia for months on end and it was terrible.  I was barely functioning.  I was a walking zombie.  I’ve written two posts previously on sleep and I stand by my word (you can read them here and here) and there’s also plenty of research being done by companies, like Elysium Health , on the science behind sleep—you can learn more about their findings on cellular health and NAD+ and their connection to sleep here .  I love sleep.  I try to get as much as I can but it doesn’t always work for me.  A good night would have been sleeping 7 hours but most nights, according to my FitBit, see me sleeping anywhere from 5 to 6 hours.  Eventually, when I’m exhausted enough, I’ll manage a good 7 or 8 hours, but I will always strive.


Me Time.  It’s really important – no, make that crucial – that every person take some “me time”.  Although my morning walks and other workouts can often be accounted for as me time, I like to find time during the day just for me.  Time far away from chaos and hustle and bustle and social media.  This me time is usually my reading (or writing) time.  I am an avid reader and become completely enthralled in my books.  And I look forward to curling up under the summer sun or before bed to leave where I am and, instead, get lost in the words of my book.  I urge everyone to take 20 minutes (at least) each day to themselves.



Quality Social Time.  I am a social being.  In fact, my nickname has always been social butterfly.  Just as it’s important to take me time, it’s also important to have social time with other people.  I love spending time with my family and my friends and my co-workers and my workout buddies.  Getting out and enjoying the company of others (and allowing them to enjoy your company) is very important to maintaining good mental health.  And mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health.  Having fun or having a good cry (if required) are important to keeping us healthy and balanced.  And this means getting social in person – not hopping onto Facebook to chat.  Your mind, body, and soul need you to interact with other human beings.  So, whether you go to a fitness class or a Bible study or book club or just get together with your friends or family, ensure that you do it.  Often.


So, that’s it.  Those are my personal top 5 (I’m sure there are more) favorite wellness tips to living a healthy life.  What are yours?



How I Live My Healthy Life

Have you heard of Cotopaxi?  I hadn’t until recently.

**Cotopaxi ( is a company founded on the principals of making a difference, moving people to do good, and inspiring new adventures.  They also make really cool backpacks and other great gear such as jackets, water bottles, and tents.  Here is a little video on Cotopaxi:


Click me  to make me bigger

I was inspired by Cotopaxi to write a post about a way I live a healthy lifestyle and, after giving it some thought, I couldn’t decide on just one way so here’s a little about me and how I live healthily:

As you know, I am a fitness queen.  I try not to have too many regrets in life, but one regret I do have it not getting into fitness sooner.  I dealt with so many body image demons when I was younger that I was eager to get the “quick fix”.  It wasn’t until I made the commitment to fitness that my body changed.  And I wish I’d stepped onto that platform a lot sooner.
I am a big believer in clean eating and whole foods (I’m a Whole 30 nutball!).  I love eating fresh vegetables and fruits and meats.  I eat whole foods as often as possible and since last June I have completed 5 Whole 30 months and am currently in my 6th.  Eliminating sugar and processed foods from my diet gets rid of any systemic inflammation in my body and eating clean makes me feel so much healthier.  My gut health is a hundred times better than it normally is when I’m not eating clean.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some chocolate and a Starbucks on occasion, but for me, eating clean and whole (and in moderation) is the way to go.
Following this kind of nutrition lifestyle may not be for everyone so in that regard I say eat clean when you can, reduce portion sizes, eat in moderation, and, for goodness sakes, stop eating junk!
I mentioned in a recent post that I have suffered in the past from depression.  And it wasn’t until I started exercising regularly that I was able to tame that beast.  Well, in addition to fitness, I also like need to do the following:
-Spend time with friends, family, loved ones, coworkers.  I NEED that interaction.  I am a very social person and isolation really just isn’t my bag.
– Take time for myself.  I know, I know – I just said I need interaction.  But I also lead a very hectic life and sometimes I need alone time.  Not necessarily isolation, but I definitely need my “me” time.   That usually means reading (I’m on my 21st John Grisham novel), cleaning, writing, or honestly, sacking out on the couch and watching some T.V.  (But usually it’s reading!)
-Laugh.  I am a comic.  I need laughter in my life.  I learned a long time ago how to laugh at myself and, believe me, I do.  I always believed I was destined for Saturday Night Live.  I am still holding out for that reality.  In the meantime, I laugh.
I am not a religious nut but I do have my faith and it is very important to me.  I make sure to have my prayer time each day. It’s another time of day that is just for me – no matter where I am or what I’ve been doing, I have my prayer time.  It’s my time to talk with God and I find it therapeutic.  This subject is very personal to me, as is my prayer time, and I know not everyone believes the same thing.  But I encourage you – if you do believe (in something) – take this time and see what I’m talking about.  It makes my day complete.
There you have it: the four basics of my healthy living.  It’s pretty simplistic.
Living healthy should not be complicated.  Complication just adds a big ol’ mess to our lives and we need to  Live, love, laugh.  Eat, drink, exercise, and be merry.

**What Cotopaxi does: “We create innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty alleviation, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.Cotopaxi funds solutions that address the most persistent needs of those living in extreme poverty. Giving is core to our model. As a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation, Cotopaxi has made a commitment to creating positive social impact. We focus our efforts on global poverty alleviation & give targeted grants to advance health, education, and livelihoods initiatives around the world.

Our grantmaking represents our belief in the power of holistic development model. We focus on three pillars which we believe are inextricably linked and crucial to creating a sustainable pathway out of poverty. Within each pillar, we have identified specific poverty indicators against which we track our outcomes and success.

~Fit Bitch