Staying Healthy During the Holidays


It’s October 1st and I’m bracing myself for all the holiday recipes coming at me in full force.  Everywhere I look there are the most indulgent Fall recipes to gape at on Pinterest, flooding my newsfeed, and in magazines at the grocery checkout….heaven help me. 😉  Here’s the thing, a year ago I would have been all over those recipes.  But over the summer I made the decision to get healthy once again.  Upon discovering I was 10 pounds over my “happy weight” after coming back from vacation, I knew the party was over…time to get back to the grindstone.I’d loosely tried everything before that, but nothing seemed to work.  It didn’t matter how much I exercised or cut down on portions, the weight just wanted to cling to me for dear life.  I did everything to avoid “going on a diet” because I’ve heard so many negative things about dieting, but honestly it’s the only thing that’s worked for me in the past so I decided to try South Beach as a plan of action.  There are 3 phases: Phase 1 you eat mainly proteins along with “good fats” and plenty of vegetables.  Phase 2 you incorporate grains and fruits into your diet and Phase 3 is maintaining.  The food was delicious, and if there was something I didn’t like I subbed it for something similar.  For example, it called for vegetable juice at every breakfast so I had a real tomato instead.  Here are some Phase 1 & 2 breakfasts (and a couple lunch meals) I photographed to give you a feel for what I ate.

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For the maintenance phase, instead of incorporating wheat back into my diet, I’ve decided to avoid gluten altogether.  I don’t have celiac disease, but I recently watched a documentary on how wheat has changed in the past 20-30 years and read Wheat Belly and the South Beach Diet Gluten Solution which have further confirmed my feelings about gluten and how it affects me personally.  I’m not overly strict about it, but for the most part I’ve been staying away from foods with processed wheat flour and having fun experimenting with using different kinds of flours in baking.  Years ago I tried making gluten free chocolate chip cookies using chicpea and other flours but the chicpea flour sadly overwhelmed all other flavors.  One of my favorite things about making cookies is tasting the dough so as soon as I got a good mouthful I promptly spit it out in the sink while my kids watched me dumbfounded as I rinsed my mouth out with water.:)  It was nasty.  That was the end of my gluten free baking adventures, or so I thought.  After seeing a friend post mouth watering photos of her gluten free baking, I decided to try again using different flours.  Yum!  Some gluten free goodies I’ve made so far: Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts, Peanut Butter and Nutella Energy Balls, Mini Quiche Lorraines, Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies and Lazy Girl Protein Pancakes

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I’ve been using almond, oat, brown rice, and coconut flour in my baking with delicious results and there are so many other flours out there I can try.  My favorite gluten free flour (tastes and behaves the closest to wheat flour) is Bob Red Mill’s gluten-free flour for baking blend.


If you (like me) want to keep fit and not gain weight over the holidays, I suggest keeping portions in check and using lighter versions of your favorite recipes.  I’ve been enjoying sifting through many recipes on Pinterest that are tasty and healthy and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on baking homemade treats.

To help shed the pounds and get physically stronger, I did everything from cardio/sculpt to eliptical to yoga.  By staying motivated, eating clean, seriously limiting all forms of sugar and exercising almost every day, I was able to lose those pesky 10 pounds while maintaining muscle mass.  I’m not gonna lie it was extremely tough.  As I get older it’s getting more and more difficult to stay fit.  I’ll be the first to admit that adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining your weight is the most challenging part of being healthy, but if I can do it, so can you!  (Always remembering that the most important thing about our health is our attitude and making sure we are healthy on the inside spiritually as well as the outside. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8)

Along with scoping the internet for healthy Fall recipes, here are some tips to keep you fit even during the holiday season 🙂

 1. Design a fall-friendly breakfast menu.
You already know that breakfast plays an important role in keeping your metabolism running in high gear, but it’s easy to get into a breakfast rut when you’re trying to eat healthy. Add a few new foods to your fall breakfast menu. Focus on fall flavors like cinnamon, pumpkin, cranberry and apple when making healthy breakfast dishes.
2. Commit to exercising at least three times per week.
Transitioning from the summer months to the colder season with a new routine can help you stay motivated to keep working out. Having a balance between cardio and strength is an excellent way to get in shape.  There are tons of great ways to get the heart rate pumping; the important thing is to make it fun and keep moving.
3. Eat more in-season fruits and veggies.
Make the most of the fall harvest season by loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers market or your neighborhood grocery store. It’s easy to skimp on fruits and veggies outside of the summer season, but you still need several servings of these natural treats every day. Apples and squash are just two nutrient-dense foods that are plentiful during the fall harvest.
4. Take walks.
Fall is one of the best times of year to walk – the air is crisp and not too hot, plus the scenery can’t be beat! If the cooler weather or rain in the forecast is forcing you to stay indoors, try your hand at indoor walking. Mall walks, indoor tracks and even a couple of laps around the grocery store can help you get your 10,000 steps in.
5. Take time to decompress
Hectic back-to-school routines and fall festivities can leave you feeling stressed. Working out can help boost your endorphins, but make sure you’re taking time for yourself in other ways, too. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night and try to avoid your phone or the TV for an hour before bedtime.
Resolutions aren’t just for the new year! Adopting these five fall resolutions can help you get back on track after a relaxing summer and get prepared for the holidays to come. 🙂
(Resource: Curves website)
Here’s hoping you and I can gain health and not pounds over the holidays.


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