Keeping Your Health in Check During the Holidays


Maybe it was a small piece of leftover candy from Halloween or the last slice of pumpkin pie, but something told me I needed to make a change in my relationship with food and exercise. It was the day after Thanksgiving that I decided to take control of my life. I signed up for a Black Friday membership deal at a local gym and committed to walk for 30-minutes twice a week. I realized I had to navigate a healthy lifestyle “through the busy” of real life and the holidays.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned on my 100-pound weight loss journey

Healthy Holiday Eating - Brandee with Baby

Focus on the day to day, not just the end goal.

Rather than getting caught up on how much weight I wanted to lose, I focused on making small choices towards a more active, healthy life. By simply focusing on how I could incorporate healthier habits into my schedule, I was able to influence the scale rather than relying on the scale to determine my success. I started with walking a few days a week and eating more mindfully. I didn’t try to overhaul everything overnight.

We can’t control situations but we can choose how we respond.

The holidays can be a difficult time of year. The change in weather, challenging family dynamics, expectations of others and stress about money can all lead to overwhelm. I have learned to accept I can’t control how other people show up in the world but I can determine how I react. I am in charge of my schedule, my emotions and my interactions with others. I prioritize my own well-being and work on keeping healthy habits even with holidays. Taking care of my needs first has given me an opportunity to show up for others in a more loving and compassionate way.  

Brandee - Meal planning and Recipe Book

Always have a plan.

Before every special occasion, I make a plan. A little visualization goes a long way. I ask myself what I want from the event or occasion. The plan includes a general idea of what I will eat and how much, including the amount of alcohol or sweets I will enjoy.  It also includes how I want to feel – connected, loving, present. This helps direct my brain to who I want to be for myself and others.

Sleep and water on repeat.

Never underestimate the value of a good night of sleep and staying hydrated. I find myself wanting unhealthy snacks when I’m tired or thirsty. I am more inclined to be cranky towards others and reach for the candy jar when I do not get enough sleep. It takes intentional focus to make sure I’m drinking water throughout the day because, let’s be honest, drinking water isn’t sexy. But if you want to have a healthy lifestyle, water is a must. The benefits of drinking water include removing toxins, healthy skin, boosting energy, helping the body function, and assisting with weight loss.

Enjoy yourself in moderation.

I always enjoy my favorite holiday treats with no guilt but I also keep portions in check and make sure I am intentional about my choices. I wait all year long for an Eggnog Latte while we drive around looking at Christmas lights and I’m always going to enjoy sausage balls on Christmas morning with my family. Giving these treats up for the sake of achieving a specific number on the scale is a restriction mindset I’m not interested in. The rest of the month, I continue to eat mindfully.

Keeping your health in check during this time of year can be a challenge. Instead of centering your activities on food, make the holidays a special time to celebrate traditions, connect with others and be present in the moment. 

I wish you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season.