Be Prepared for the Holidays... How Not to Gain & Go with the Flow!

   The first of the holiday season celebrations is almost upon us - Thanksgiving. A favorite holiday for most, I mean parades, football, family time uninterrupted by the opening of gifts and of course ... the best meal of the year! So how do we make it through an almost steady six weeks of celebrations without gaining weight or dare I say continuing to lose weight for those on that path right now? Read on!

   I finished reading Bob Harper's (of Biggest Loser fame) latest book Skinny Habits. I'm telling you great minds think alike. He proposes an If/Then strategy to parties and the like while I was promoting to friends  a flow chart strategy with the same idea - you gotta go into this prepared! It will be the key to your success! Here are examples of how having situations written down in advance can help. You can then call upon them when that party or special dinner or cookie exchange happens.
Example One ~ If I am invited out for Thanksgiving this year, then I will go prepared! (top of the flow chart) Next Block: I will drink loooots of water in the morning with my healthy breakfast and all day long. Next Block: I will bring a dish I know is delicious and a healthy, lower calorie alternative to what I might find there (turkey is great but there are many unknowns). Next Block: I will eat all my favorite foods but small portions of each and will avoid the rolls, mashed potatoes & liquid calories! Next Block: I will have a sliver of a dessert only if it's a once a year favorite and feel thankful that I don't feel like a stuffed turkey by 7pm!!
Example Two ~ Top of the flow chart: The neighborhood is having their annual cookie exchange again on Saturday night. Next block: Cookies are not dinner! I will eat a healthy, full of veggies and fiber dinner and drink lots of water before I go. Next Block: I will sample one or two new cookies that evening, have tea or coffee & bring the rest of the cookies home. Next Block: I will have cookie tins/containers ready to pack the exchanged cookies tight as a drum, tape the sides & put in a cool, dry closet - out of sight. After all the point of this is to have a variety of cookies for guests during the holidays.
   So you see where I am going with this. You can do one for each situation. We will splurge here & there but to consistently overindulge will leave you feeling awful and unhappy with yourself. I highly recommend Bob Harper's book. It covers the 6 secrets of thin people & is very easy to read. So start writing your if/then flow charts up today! Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble (well less gobbling and more savoring every bite!)

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" Celebrates 50 Years!

    "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is celebrating 50 years this week! If you are like me, you have watched every airing (this Friday on ABC). It is one of the most iconic shows of our childhood. Yes, Charles Schultz knows the way to one's heart during every season...

    Linus begins this story writing a letter to The Great Pumpkin letting him know that he will be waiting in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night, waiting for his visit where he will bring lots of presents & toys to all the good girls & boys. Once again he forgoes tricks or tricks to have something less tangible but more real in a sense. He has faith & persistence and in turn Charlie Brown's sister Sally has faith in Linus (and a crush). Everyone thinks he is a fool for believing in the Great Pumpkin but Linus never relents. While the others from the Peanuts gang are going door to door & then to a holiday party, Linus (and Sally) brave the cold. His sister Lucy still asks for treats for her 'stupid' brother at each house. (Secretly, I believe she admires his gumption!) Linus, back at the patch, believes since The Great Pumpkin values sincerity above all else, he will surely visit this most sincere pumpkin patch. When Snoopy shows up instead, Sally blows up, the others give him the business. Lucy rescues him shivering at four in the morning and tucks him into his warm bed. (She values family above all else I believe.) After Charlie Brown criticizes him on their leaning wall the next day, by his reaction we know Linus will once again be out there next year waiting and hoping. Just like at Christmas, Linus isn't into this for the gifts, he knows it's more important to flex those faith muscles. He has no regrets; yes, another quality that could never truly fit into a sack meant for toys alone.
    At this time of year, which face it, has become the beginning of the Christmas season, we can never have enough early reminders about the importance of faith in our daily lives. Believing in something less tangible than presents, but more important to our hearts, is a skill we can start honing now. When Christmas rolls around (in 2 months!) our priorities can be firmly locked in place. Our strong faith can be percolating in our hearts and our perspective on life and love will be most sincere. After all, that is what The Great Pumpkin values above all else!

Happy Halloween!