Living LifeWise: How I Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Living Lifewise Sunday, December 1, 2013 Written by

Living LifeWise is a regular column provided by LifeWise Ambassadors – LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Dana Robertson Halter.

‘Tis the season of holiday potlucks, cocktail parties, eggnog lattes and cookie exchanges. And since food and parties are two of my favorite things, I love this time of year. However, one seasonal side effect detracts from my holiday cheer: weight gain. Thanks to Halloween candy and winter beer, my jeans are mighty tight these days. So, I’m making some changes and getting strategic about parties this holiday season.

Making a Change this December

Starting a new healthy habit is hard, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Below are tips from four friends who inspire me to be healthier.

  • Eat Mega Salads: My co-worker Aaron has maintained a healthy weight by eating Megasalads every day, and I’m joining him and others for regular Megasalad lunches. It’s not cool to eat a burger and fries at Megasalad lunch.
  • Take a 30-Day Challenge: My friend Oesa recently completed a 30-day yoga challenge. After the first week, she was mentally and physically exhausted. But she pushed through and yoga simply became a regular part of her day. After 30 days, she was stronger and loved the feeling of accomplishing a huge challenge.
  • Put It on the Calendar: My co-worker Brenda keeps moving by entering an event every month. She did the Pineapple Classic in November and is currently training for the 12Ks of Christmas in December, with more lined up in the New Year.
  • Keep Track: Thanks to his Fitbit, my co-worker Christopher has become a step junkie. He purposely parks away from the office for extra steps, volunteers to take his dog for a walk and goes for a midday walk if his steps are low. Tracking steps has motivated him to think differently and find creative ways to move more.

Develop Your Own Holiday Party Strategy

  • Look at your calendar. If you have three holiday events coming up, make a game plan for each one. A work potluck with a $4 veggie tray and grocery store sugar cookies is not the time to indulge. Think about each event before you go, make a plan and stick to it.
  • Eat healthy at the start. When you arrive at the party, fill up first with vegetable crudités and drink a big glass of water. That way, you’ll have less room for desserts.
  • If you’re going to cheat, make it count. If you select a delicious looking brownie at your next potluck and it doesn’t live up to your expectations, stop there. I’m notorious for plowing my way through stale cookies at work because I give in to 3 p.m. munchies. If the treat isn’t tasty, the universe is giving you a sign that you’re not supposed to eat it.
  • Stay AWAY from the food. At a friend’s baby shower a few weeks ago, I parked it by the food and ate more than I should. (Pigs-in-a-blanket are a serious weakness of mine.) Afterwards, I was stuffed and felt guilty. If I’d done my mingling across the room from the food, I would have eaten less.
  • Try a gimmick. When I’m trying to avoid overeating, I’ll squeeze into my tightest pair of jeans and put a loose top on so no one knows I’m punishing myself for past transgressions. The jeans are a constant reminder to not overeat. You can also draw a frowny face on your hand so you feel guilty when you reach for the cookie tray.
  • Stop the self-loathing. Unless you have amazing willpower or live on the Biggest Loser Ranch, you’re going to slip up. Tell yourself it’s OK. If you overindulge a little, give yourself a break. Smile and remember how much fun you had!

How do you stay healthy during the holidays? Share your tips in the comments below!


Dana_Robertson_HalterDana Robertson Halter is a lifelong athlete and mother of 4-year-old Cassandra and 2-year-old McKenna. Dana started swimming competitively at six, began racing triathlons after college, switched to bike racing in 2004 because triathlons were too lonely, and then went back to racing solo (marathons) after having her first child in 2009. Living LifeWise is how Dana keeps her body and brain strong – and it provides a healthy outlet for her competitive spirit. Dana works as a Communications Manager for LifeWise and lives in Ballard with her family and two Australian Shepherds.