Small Steps & Staying On Track

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?


  1. Heather B says

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

  2. says

    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. 😉
    Melissa recently posted..I’ll Spare You the Pity Party

  3. says

    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

  4. says

    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?

  5. Briana says

    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? :)

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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.

  8. says

    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!

  9. says

    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.

  10. says

    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

  11. says

    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) 😉

  12. says

    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! :)
    Pamela recently posted..PA School Recap

  13. says

    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. :)

  14. says

    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!
    Alexa @ Simple Eats recently posted..Pinterest

  15. Michelle B. says

    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.

  16. says

    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

  17. says

    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

  18. says

    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

  19. says

    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.

  20. says

    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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