Words by Lindsey Powell

Fall is around the corner and I can already smell the Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING that will take over every part of our lives! As I ready myself to don my favorite leggings and sift through the endless isles of ever more revealing Halloween costumes I can’t help but think about the upcoming holiday season. Soon we will all be tempted by metric tons of turkey and pies only weeks before countless Christmas parties with tables full of cookies and snacks. I can’t help but remember what a challenge the holiday season is and how hard it can be to come out the other side feeling good about myself. As someone that was not blessed with a naturally slender build, I know all too well that body image is often the first casualty of the holidays. After all, there is a reason that gyms sell the most memberships in January. That’s why in this installment I want to talk to you about some easy, healthy-ish, ideas that help me to get through the holiday season without having to put “losing my holiday weight” at the top of my New Year’s resolutions.

Halloween, probably my favorite holiday, gives me a chance to release my inner child and let my imagination run wild! Honestly, it is something I plan for all year. However, the older I get the more I realize that Halloween costumes apparently only come in sizes ranging from small and skimpy to borderline inappropriate. While I stick with the mantra of “to each their own”, especially if you look like one of the women on the packages, I prefer to go with something a little more modest. I personally love the family coordinated costumes, and there are a ton of DIY ideas out there that are as fun to make as they are to wear. It’s what happens next though that starts to send most of us on our, downhill, holiday slide. After weeks of searching to find something that doesn’t have a fully exposed midriff, or ride up into those uncomfortable places, I finally show up to a party and wouldn’t you know… it’s packed full of junk food and candy!

So how do we overcome these sugar-filled traps? It all comes down to eating a full, healthy, meal before you get to the party. After all, the easiest way to not stuff your face with all that junk food and candy is to not be hungry when you walk in the door. I LOVE FOOD, and especially sweets, so overcoming temptations is not easy for me. But I find that when I eat one of my prep meals, or a healthy protein and veggie filled meal before I head to the party I am able to keep the hunger beast at bay… or at least limit it to small outbursts. Remember you don’t have to cut out all the goodies, but making a small plate of snacks, versus a heaping mound of party food, will save you from adding in too many of those unwanted calories. But wait, the holiday isn’t over yet… For parents, there is another caloric monster waiting to jump out and get you, and when it does it yells “TRICK OR TREAT!” That’s right, tis the season for literal buckets full of candy. When the costumes come off and the decorations come down, leftover candy can be a stumbling block that trips us up for weeks. My only advice. Get it out of the house!

Give it away, throw it away, whatever it takes, for me, if it’s in the house it’s going to get eaten so the easiest way to avoid temptation is simply to remove it. Finally, after running the candy gauntlet, we’re on to Turkey Day. Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate the things in our lives we are grateful for and spend time with family and friends. Seated in front of mountains of food where seconds are seen as mandatory, even when you really just wanted pie, this is where, for many of us, the train comes off the tracks. So, how can we limit the damage and the fight off the turkey coma?

First, try to make your holiday an active one. Get everyone out of the house and burn off some of those calories they are about to pack in; a family football game, a walk through the park, what-ever gets you moving. For my family it’s a Turkey Trot, the numerous runs in DFW provide an option that can be fun for people at any level of fitness. These 5K walk/run events are a ton of fun and something that everyone from my overly competitive husband to 11 and 5-year-old children can do and enjoy. Next, you guessed it… portion control. For me, cooking with family creates a yearly bonding experience but I am left with mixed feelings about the overabundance of food. While it’s tempting to load up your plate and eat until it hurts, just remember, it’s never a good idea to gorge yourself… even if it is a holiday.