I have struggled with my weight for 10+ years and have been on many diets and programs, none of which were successful in the long term. I decided in January to make big lifestyle changes. I have changed the way I think about food and am much more active. In less than a year, I have lost 38 pounds, lowered my heart rate, lowered my cholesterol, lessened my fatigue, improved my GI issues and improved my overall health greatly!
Why have I seen more success this time? Instead of making an empty plan to lose weight, I made a resolution to the Lord to get healthier and take better care of myself. I could not do this on my own, He has kept me strong through it all. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I am well on my way to making myself the “temple” that I believe God has called me to be! It is not about being skinny or perfect, it is about being all that you can be so that you can do what God is calling you to do!
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I am committed to staying successful with my lifestyle changes during the month of December, my biggest struggle when it comes to weight loss. What can I say, I love Christmas cookies! But I love the Lord more and I want to share some of my ideas for eating healthy during the holidays for anyone else looking to improve or maintain their health. Let me put a disclaimer out there that I am not a weight loss or health expert. I am just a wife and mom who has struggled with weight and I want to share my ideas and strategies with you.
Prayer is the most important thing. When temptations get strong and you think you “need” that extra piece of pie…get on your knees and pray! Prayer has gotten me through many cravings and temptations over the last year. You will be amazed at how quickly God can refocus you and remind you of your priorities.
Do NOT deny yourself an occasional treat! If you have a favorite cookie or food that you can’t imagine Christmas without, then indulge, a little! As long as you don’t splurge and only occasionally indulge, you can enjoy your favorites. If you don’t allow yourself an occasional treat, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Learn to use substitutes while baking/cooking. Some of my favorites are:
- Use egg whites as a whole egg substitute if possible. This works for many of my recipes. You may also consider using an egg substitute in your recipes. I made egg salad this week using only the egg whites and it was delicious!
- Use applesauce instead of oil in your baking. This cuts out much of the fat. The result is a more cake-like brownie. If you like a fudgy brownies, here is a great recipe for brownies that are made with black beans. It may not sound good, but the brownies are delicious and healthy!
- Instead of cream to thicken, use pureed potatoes.
- Use dried fruit instead of chocolate chips.
- Instead of sugary frosting, top it with fresh fruit and a little powdered sugar.
As you are baking or cooking, chew gum. This will help you resist the temptation to snack while you are busy in the kitchen. Many times we don’t even realize we are snacking and can take in hundreds of calories just “tasting” things. If you are chewing gum, you will avoid this.
Roast a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.
When having a meal, be careful of all of the trimmings. Things like gravy, whipped topping, nuts, cheese, butter, etc. can add extra calories without filling you up. You want to be satisfied when you leave the dinner party, not stuffed! My mom makes a delicious sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner, but the topping is loaded with nuts and butter! I just scooped my serving underneath the nuts and I was able to enjoy the sweet potatoes without all of the extra fat! And of course, there is always someone willing to take the topping you left behind!
When you go to a Christmas dinner, wear snug-fitting clothes, not those pants you wore to Thanksgiving dinner because you know they will stretch as you fill your tummy. If you are wearing something a little more fitted, you will be more aware of how much you are eating. Trust me, this works! Also, be picky about what you eat. If it is not something you love, don’t eat it! Save your calories for foods you love.
A good way to stay active and moving during the holidays, park at the back of the mall parking lot. This will have you taking some extra steps and it also reduces the stress of trying to find a perfect parking spot. Do not use the escalators or elevators, take the stairs! You will be amazed at how less crowded the stairs are in the mall this time of year. You will burn a few extra calories and by the time you would have gotten on the elevator, you are already at your next stop!
And if you feel like you just can’t fit your exercise routine in during the holidays, don’t stress, be encouraged…30 minutes of gift wrapping burns approximately 45 calories and 1 hour of light baking burns over 150 calories!
What are some of your favorite strategies to healthy eating and staying active during the holidays?
~ by Heidi, Heidi’s Miscellany
Heidi – I am so very proud of you for the wonderful example you set for us all! Congratulations on your continued weight loss. Yes, it’s these seemingly small choices that build a lifestyle. And I especially like your tip to eat what you really want first. And not deny yourself a small indulgence. Great post!
Thank you, Tricia. Encouragement from friends like you has been a huge part of my success.