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Small Steps & Staying On Track

by Courtney on December 1, 2011

I totally forgot to say it this morning, but Happy December 1st!

Wow, December. Already. I still can’t get over it. Time is a-flyin’!

Inevitably, with December 1st comes a whole lotta talk about how to stay healthy, how to stay on track, and how to make smart decisions during the holiday season. And then it’s repeated over, and over, and over again.

To be totally honest, yes, I think it’s absolutely important to not throw caution to the wind and chow down handfuls of cookies and bags of pretzel m&m’s in 3 days (woops). But at the same time, I think it’s just as important, if not more so, to just enjoy the holidays.

I’m sure that no matter who you are, where you work, or where you spend your time, you will be faced with lots of holiday treats in the next coming weeks. Whether it’s a cookie swaps with friends,

a marathon cookie baking session,

or a holiday party, it’s bound to happen.

So here’s what I say, and I’ll only say it once: Keep balance in mind and just enjoy!

I talk a lot about maintaining a healthy balance here on STSL and I know that many of you feel the same way. Sure, I like to indulge a little more on the weekends and then balance it out by sticking to a healthier diet during the week. Yes, I like to enjoy myself while on vacations, and then get back on track once I’m back home and in a normal routine. Well for me, the same goes for the holiday season.

If you strive to maintain a healthy balance from day to day or week to week, it’s really no different from month to month or a full year. Some of us tend to eat lighter during the summer months; some of us crave more comfort foods in the cooler months. Honestly, it’s all the same…it’s just a matter of keeping balance on a larger scale.

So come December, when the holiday festivities are bound to begin, I’m ready. If I’m at a party, and there’s a tray of homemade peanut butter kisses cookies staring back at me, then you better believe that I’m having some.

And if I want a second glass of wine or an extra cocktail while out at a party, then gosh darn it, I’m going to have it.

I think the important thing to remember is to keep that idea of balance in mind on all levels. If you know you’re headed to a holiday party with lots of treats in the evening, then keep breakfast and lunch on the lighter side. Maybe squeeze in a little extra walk in the afternoon? Don’t use it as an excuse to throw total caution to the wind and go buck-wild on the cookie tray. Ya know what I’m sayin’? ;)

Keeping all of that in mind, I recently came across an article on SparkPeople which not only “sparked” my idea for today’s post, but also shared 25 different ways on how to get back on track. Here are a few of the small steps on the list that I found particularly motivating:

  • Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right! (<—ain’t that the truth!)
  • Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!
  • Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat. That way, you can make an informed choice. (<–I do this all the time)
  • Eat a piece of fruit. Even if 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables sounds impossible to you, one is doable.
  • Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy it.
  • Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!

(**To view the full article with all 25 ways to stay on track, click here.**)

Nowhere on that list was there anything about avoiding treats and indulgences that you want, and I like that. A lot.

The last item on the list about aiming to drink more water is actually one small step that I’ve been working towards all this week. Truth be told, I have a bladder about the size of a pea, so drinking excess water throughout the day has never really been my thing…especially since making trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes isn’t really my thing either. But I made a decision and I’m sticking to it!

So far, I’m on day 4 of drinking at least 60 ounces of water a day (plus my morning coffee). Am I making a lot of extra trips to the bathroom? You betcha. But I’ve also noticed that it is helping fend off false hunger, and has also really help in making me feel less bloated, which is a wonderful thing, my friends.

I’m really going to work on sticking with this extra water consumption as one of my small, healthy steps during the holiday season…along with enjoying some extra cookies here and there, of course.

Now, what small, healthy steps will YOU be implementing this holiday season?

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn December 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

COOKAYYYS! Also happy bunny bunny day! Mwah.
Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn recently posted..Fighting the Floopy Day Blues

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2 Heather B December 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This is why I love reading your blog, it’s all about balance! Peanut butter cookies with kisses are my favorite!!

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3 Melissa December 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

And now I want cookies!

This is going to sound totally nuts, but I’ve started eating with my opposite hand so I’m more aware of the fact that I am eating. When I have to operate a fork or spoon with my left hand, I really have to think about it, and as a result, I eat slower. At parties, I hold my plate with my right hand and eat with my left. It takes more coordination and effort, but I’m more mindful for sure. That way, I can stop after 6 cookies instead of 12. ;)
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4 Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers December 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Oh wow, that sounds crazy!! I wonder how many things I’d spill on myself before getting used to a lefty fork!
Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Jack Frost Nipping at Your Channa Masala

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5 Catherine December 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

thats a really interesting concept! im totally gonna try it!

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6 Brigitt December 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

With my new schedule, it’s been unusually difficult to find time to exercise. I recently committed myself to working out at least 3 times a week. Is it as much as I’d like? Definitely not! But I know it’s a goal I can stick to and build upon. I’ve also tried eating smaller meals during the weekdays to make up for the bigger meals I have at school and on the weekends. I haven’t lost weight, but I also haven’t gained weight. And, most importantly, I already feel better! Even if I did have two apple cider doughnuts from the farmer’s market for breakfast today. Oops!
Brigitt recently posted..A Slippery Slope

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7 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I couldn’t agree more with you on everything you have to say in this post! You’re right on, in my opinion. I absolutely love the goodies that the holidays bring, so there’s no way I’m going to deprive myself. I’m going to enjoy my favorites, but balance it out by eating healthy when I can and moving as much as I can. :)
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..How Did I Do?

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8 JN December 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Congrats on getting your 60 ounces of water in! Your bladder will eventually adjust as you continue, I promise :)

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9 Ruthie Hart December 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

My mom does a cookie swap with her girlfriends and I love that idea!
Ruthie Hart recently posted..Fear

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10 Katie December 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I definitely agree about keeping the balance, and enjoying the holidays! However, I’m definitely the kind of girl who needs to set some real, tangible goals, or enjoying quickly turns into much over-indulging!
Katie recently posted..December by the Numbers Challenge

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11 Anita December 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I definitely need to focus on the water! I’m going to try to incorporate some yoga in to my morning waking-up routine, too.
Anita recently posted..Diane Keaton’s Reading (or) Menswear on Women

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12 Briana December 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

This is another reason why you are one of my favorite bloggers! I overindulged during thanksgiving because I’m a college student and missed my mom’s cooking. So being home for a whole month during the holidays is like a double whammy, but it is so true that as long as I stay balanced I shouldn’t worry. The holidays aren’t for worrying about food anyway; they’re about enjoying it with family. Gotta always keep that in mind! OH and I am SO with you on the water thing. I do not drink enough by any means and I don’t want it to start affecting my health so I’m trying to incorporate more. The only problem is the bladder thing for me too. I swear I have to go every 20 minutes. TMI? :)

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13 Jessi December 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Girl, I am right there with you on the small bladder thing!! Just wait until you get pregnant ;) The good thing is your bladder does eventually get more used to it and your trips to the bathroom will slow down. I am a water fanatic and easily drink about 70oz a day at work. And honestly, I welcome the bathroom breaks now…gives me a reason to get up from my desk!

If you like peanut butter cookies with kisses….you should try them with reeses cups. You just cooke the cookies in the mini muffin tins and as soon as they come out of the oven squish a reeses in the middle. Absolute favorite cookie ever!!
Jessi recently posted..The BIG 3-0!

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14 Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill December 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

During the holidays, I try to only indulge in things that are “special.” I’ll definitely go for homemade treats, but will skip the store-bought cookies that I can have any time of year.
Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill recently posted..How to Eat Healthily with a Busy Schedule

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15 jordan @ thedancingdonut December 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

love this post!! and i totally agree – part of enjoying the holiday season is the treats and not worrying about a few extra pounds. when i’m at holiday parties, i like to try the things people brought along and indulge in a holiday cocktail because it’s part of the social experience. plus, i love food so why shouldn’t i be able to try new things? i just try to make up for it the next day by going a little bit harder on my workout! :)
jordan @ thedancingdonut recently posted..a return to health.

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16 Amanda December 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I am SO with you on trying to drink 60 oz of water a day but having the TINIEST bladder. I’m trying, but it does kill me to have to get up from my desk every 15 minutes! Sticking with it tho, glad you are too!
Amanda recently posted..Food and Weddings!

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17 Hope December 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I really need to try and up my water intake. It takes me forever sitting at work to drink one bottle of water. It’s bad! I think I would feel so much better if I drank more water.
Hope recently posted..The Start Of A Beautiful Month…

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18 Lauren B. December 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I really get into trouble when I come across some sort of dessert and I indulge. It’s not the indulging part, but the mentality of “Oh, I’ve already blown it, I might as well just keep going!” Then I end up feeling totally yucky and guilty. So what I am going to work on is stopping after the initial indulgence and not getting out of control.

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19 Angela @ Health Happiness & Harmony December 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Balance and moderation certainly are key! This is one of the most special times of year, and we should not only focus on the food but with the time spent with those we love. Obsessing over the treats the holiday brings just sets us up for unnecessary guilt. Enjoy the special traditional foods…just control your portions. Memories of our mother’s cookies or special pies are part of what makes the holidays so comforting. :)
Angela @ Health Happiness & Harmony recently posted..The Walker

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20 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! December 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I actually just kicked up my water consumption too! I am trying to do 120oz per day but have been sitting around 90-100 (and yes I pee a lot.. haha) and I have noticed a difference in how I feel, for sure!
Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! recently posted..The Sports Bra I Love

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21 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile December 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I absolutely love this! I completely agree with everything. People shouldn’t get too worked up about staying so healthy, but they shouldn’t go crazy either. I’m going to enjoy myself and stick to my workout and healthy routine as much as possible but I will not fret on the things that aren’t that important (like some extra dessert) ;)

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22 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles December 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I love the whole outlook! ….Drinking the water is what I need to do for sure- it does help you feel less bloated! :) Good reminder!
Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles recently posted..Blessings <3

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23 Molly@hungryhungryrunner.com December 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Awesome tips! I love that most of them are super simple – and probably should be no-brainers – but it’s so good to have reminders this time of year! :)
Molly@hungryhungryrunner.com recently posted..A Full Serving of Vegetables

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24 Pamela December 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I really need to drink more water! I tend to drink mostly coffee throughout the day, especially when I’m studying!! I also believe in “all in moderation”. I most definitely don’t want to restrict myself from having some holiday treats! :)
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25 Katie @ Livehalffull December 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

This is a great post! My #1 tip is to eat what’s worth it to you. I really love certain holiday foods but could go without others. So I eat the ones that are worth it to me and skip the others! Also, remembering that I WILL eat _____ again in my life helps. See that cookie? Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. There will be more cookies in your lifetime. :)

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26 Jodi @ Southern Flavored Life December 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I love this post, Courtney! I have to aim for more water intake….

A balanced life is a wonderful thing to have, and I’m not passing up on Peanut Butter Kisses Cookies, either!
Jodi @ Southern Flavored Life recently posted..Cheesy Portobello Chicken Soup

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27 Alexa @ Simple Eats December 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Such a great post! I’m going with the whole “in moderation” attitude for the holidays…but on Christmas, NYE and when I’m off work for the holidays, I’m going all out. I’m also REALLY trying to drink more water, I’m horrible at it!
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28 Shannon December 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm

My healthy habit will be to cut down on eating junk food,etc. However, I will eat a bunch on Christmas Day and New Year’s. Those two days are my only exception.
Shannon recently posted..Cool, cheap gifts for the people you may know: Occupations

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29 Chelcie of Chelcie's Food Files December 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I definitely agree that its all about balance! i love to enjoy lots of holiday cookies so I make sure I’m making up for it in my meals with lots of veggies and I step up the game a little bit with my work outs! i’ve also noticed that drinking a lot of water helps!
Chelcie of Chelcie’s Food Files recently posted..Thursday Throwback-Why Lentil Soup and Spain go hand in hand

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30 Michelle @ Blogitness December 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm

It is all about balance! But since the holidays only come once a year, a few extra splurges here and there won’t hurt.
Michelle @ Blogitness recently posted..Have You Tried PB2?

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31 Val December 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

All those cookie trays look amazing!!
Val recently posted..Christmas Countdown

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32 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] December 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Those Kiss cookies are making my tummy grumble.
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33 Michelle B. December 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I’m going to make a rule for myself: Since I end up having so many opportunities to eat treats at home and at other holiday events, I’m going to stay away from ALL treats people bring in to work. Luckily, most of my coworkers tend to stay away from the treats at work too.
Also, I’m only going to go for the sweets and desserts I REALLY like. I always regret it when I overdo it on something that wasn’t even that great.

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34 Kristen @ notsodomesticated December 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Great post! I completely agree with you … the holidays are meant to be enjoyed. I don’t think we should restrict ourselves, but I also don’t think it’s an excuse to pig out on a daily basis. Balance is everything! :)

That being said, I’m going to be in a bathing suit 2 days after Christmas b/c my husband and I are going on vacation haha. So while I plan to enjoy the holiday treats, I also plan to keep working out and trying to eat healthy foods in between the holiday treats! ;)
Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Chicken Lasagna

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35 Tina December 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Great post! I’m commiting to at least getting in 3 solids days of exercise a week. No matter if it’s just a walk at least I’m moving!
Tina recently posted..Feeling a little hopeless

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36 Tina December 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Sorry I posted a link to my hotmail page lol. Can you tell someone is sleepy!
Tina recently posted..Feeling a little hopeless

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37 Marty December 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

It may sound silly but a small step I’ve been taking is trying to take on new fruits, vegetables, and grains I have never cooked up before. I find healthy recipes and experiment. I just tried quinoa for the first time the other day and loved it! It’s kinda fun to taste new veggies and grains and just have fun in the kitchen.
Marty recently posted..Cold Front; Hot Soup

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38 Courtney December 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

That doesn’t sound silly at all – I think it’s a great idea!

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39 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection December 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I love this post! It’s really the little things that add up this time of year. I always have water with me so that I stay hydrated and, like you said, avoid eating because I’m thirsty instead of hungry.
Danica @ It’s Progression Not Perfection recently posted..My Tips for Becoming a Healthier You (part 2: exercise)

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40 Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine December 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I’m a big believer in drinking alot of water. While I’m at work, I try to drink at least 8 ounces an hour… It’s not hard to do, I just have to pace myself.
Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine recently posted..Bacon, Balsamic Onion and Vermont White Cheddar Paninis

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41 Khushboo December 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm

This is why your blog is so popular- you are SO real and relateable! I aim to stick to a healthy breakfast- at least one meal a day will be on par! I also hope to exercise regularly even if it’s not as intense/long as normal- everything counts!
Khushboo recently posted..Thursday tangents

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42 Laura @ Backstage Pass December 2, 2011 at 12:16 am

Great post and great tips!
This season, I am going to try to enjoy myself while not making my blood sugar levels go crazy. I had a run-in with two scoops of frozen custard last night that I enjoyed at the time… the sugar hangover this morning, I did not so much care for!
Laura @ Backstage Pass recently posted..BodyPump puns + That song in the VS Holiday 2011 commercial

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43 Clare @ SweetnSimple December 2, 2011 at 2:16 am

Such good little tips – very motivating.. and achievable! Thank you :)

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44 Katie @ Plates and Paste December 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Here, here! Thanks for keeping it real :)

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45 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts December 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

This is a great post! The holidays are the time of year where I do indulge (more than I care to admit), but then get mad at myself about it (which I shouldn’t do). Thanks for these tips – they are good and achieveable. :)
Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts recently posted..One of Those Fridays

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46 Chels R. December 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

YES! This blog post is so on point. It is so important to have balance especially during the holiday season! I definitely just up my workouts a bit and enjoy everything in moderation!
Chels R. recently posted..Friday Faves.

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47 Laura@mypurposefullife December 5, 2011 at 11:24 pm

LOVE this post! Last week I posted about staying healthy during the holiday, too, and I agree with you 100% on all your points. Like you, I am making a career change and have been working on becoming a certified health counselor and holistic nutritionist for the past year, and I am doing my first workshop in two weeks-on “Navigating the Holidays”. The main point I am hoping to get across? It’s all about balance! All year long. :) Thanks for the great tips!
Laura@mypurposefullife recently posted..A Festive Weekend

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