Ah, Christmas time. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” A festive time full of cheery holiday tunes, beautifully decorated Christmas trees (or half decorated if you have a feisty toddler underfoot), and wintery whiffs of scented pinecones. While I wish this holiday wasn’t so commercialized and dwarfing of Thanksgiving, I do appreciate the brisk pace this dark and cold month of December keeps as we celebrate all things Christmas. Complaints abound about how busy and packed this time of year is – but I do think many of us appreciate and anticipate the very merry brief end to each year.

Well, we do until we’re faced with yet another holiday party. Here come the indulgent appetizers and the luscious desserts. Add in a cocktail or two and we’re ready to throw in the towel, completely defeated by lack of will power. “Might as well take another run at the dessert table, I’ve already ‘cheated’ enough.” Ever uttered those words? “I’ll be ‘good’ again after New Years. We only do a Cookie Exchange/Office Party/family get-together/Epic Mom’s Night Out once a year. No harm in ‘enjoying myself’ before I put the smack down in 2018.”

This is a joyful season, filled with many treats and outings that only come around this time of year. It’s good for us to enjoy these celebrations and annual traditions. Avoiding them to “stay on track” makes you a scrooge and overindulging in them makes you bloated and uncomfortable. There’s got to be a happy medium!

There is. It’s called MODERATION. Say it with me, MAHD-ER-AY-SHON. A little, but not too much. It’s part of a balanced lifestyle.

Food is an inanimate object. It has no power. Sure, some food is tempting – hello, freshly baked peanut butter cookies… But it wields no power over you or your actions. To label food as “good” or “bad” based on your subjective scale, only makes eating a very self-involved and difficult task. Food is meant to be enjoyed – especially with company we love in a joyous atmosphere. The Christmas season is the perfect setting to enjoy food! Some of our favorite dishes come out this time of year – whether it’s a particular cookie or cocktail or main dish – delightful bites we eagerly await to enjoy. Not abstain from and look longingly at from across the room because we promised ourselves we would be “good.” And, not hoard and overindulge because we will “start fresh on Monday or New Years Day.” Just enjoy. In moderation.

Just as one healthy meal won’t instantly make you drop ten pounds or cut 15 seconds per mile; one holiday meal won’t make you gain seven pounds and destroy your ability to bust out burpees. It’s the consistent pattern that yields results.

I’m not advocating for either extreme. Rather, I’m here to encourage you to practice moderation this holiday season. Here’s why:

  • You’re SLAMing. Working out most days of the week. You’ve built a good habit because SLAM is fun – and challenging and full of amazing mamas. So, you’ve got the exercise thing down. This is a helpful piece in utilizing the fuel you’ve taken in. And, exercise really does cheer you up when the sun barely rises above the horizon and the shortest day of 2 hours and 40-some minutes is descending upon us! Wait, that may only be in Alaska!
  • Having an all-or-nothing mentality puts unnecessary pressure on you to be either perfect or a complete failure. That, my friends, is an unpleasant place to be. We’ll never be perfect, but we are far from failures. Our worth is way more than our adherence to a particular diet regimen. To base our value on whether we abstained from a cookie or not is to reduce all that we are and all that we accomplish daily to an arbitrary stance against sugar. Unacceptable. Enjoying a cookie, or two, does not strip your status as loving wife, capable mother, supportive friend, hard-working employee, superstar SLAM sister. You are still all that (and a bag of chips) even if you overdo it at the family Christmas dinner.
  • This time of year will come around again…in about a year. No need to eat all the things as if Christmas wasn’t ever coming again. Enjoy a cookie or two and be done with it. It’s not a license to overindulge or a reason to restrict.
  • You can make healthy, nourishing choices throughout the day. Not all is lost when you have a week full of holiday gatherings. If you have a holiday party in the evening where you know there will not be many nutritious choices available, make sure you have a healthy breakfast and lunch so you won’t be starvin’ Marvin by the time your party rolls around.

Maintaining balance during this season is necessary for leading a healthy lifestyle and modeling that to our kiddos. We should be celebrating with family and friends, enjoying all that Christmas time has to offer. We should not be wavering between fun-sucking restriction and gluttonous overindulgence. We should taste and enjoy and then move on. I highly encourage you to practice moderation this season – especially when it comes to all the deliciousness that abounds! With a balanced approach, you’ll be a little less stressed during all the festive busyness!