Holiday Survival Guide

holiday survival

I’m struggling to grasp the fact we are nearly two weeks into October already.  Like where has the year vanished to? October heralds the start of all things “holiday” in the commercial realm here.

I’m not sure what it’s like in the rest of the world, but here in the U.S. it’s become sadly common place the last few years for stores to just throw all holidays together like some huge smorgasbord you just go in and pick from.

Why yes, I want to look at Christmas trees and lights while I’m picking out orange and black Halloween candy.

Back in the day when I was a wee little girl ( a really long time ago ha) there was a general appreciation for each holiday. It was recognized and then you moved to the next one. The official start to Christmas was after Thanksgiving and you didn’t go get your tree till December.

I’m remember my grandparents being shocked when the neighbor put theirs up before December one year.

One just didn’t break Christmas rules by putting the tree up to early.

And Thanksgiving, well that’s just about swept under the rug and barely given a nod to. If you’re lucky you may find some turkey napkins and fall leaves squished into a small area on one single aisle.

By the way….Do you know Canada has Thanksgiving in October??? Like they just had it… weird… although I was a little jealous they were already having turkey… but I digress….

This isn’t a post about me whining on how commercialized the “holiday” season (Oct-Dec)  has become or how I wish things were simpler, although I do.

No, this is a little post about having a survival fitness guide for the “holiday season”.

I saw the first meme the other day… you know.. one that’s designed to make you feel like a guilty loser for enjoying foods or treats for the holiday? Get out there and work off your food!

Yeah, I think those are awesome too… not really.

I think they are designed to steal your joy over something that should be fun and celebratory, isn’t that what holidays are about?

Family? Food? Friends? More food?

That’s what life is about.

However, all of us want to navigate through these upcoming months and not look like the Butterball turkey come January.  You really can go through these months and not gain weight, I promise.

When I started on my health journey, it was mid October. I stayed the course all through the rest of that year and when I checked in with my doctor in January I had lost 20 lbs.

Yes, you read that correctly. No, I didn’t starve myself or do without. I ate normal almost all of those days, I enjoyed the celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I baked, I ate cookies, I nibbled on my favorite chocolate treats, and I enjoyed the season.

I also stayed true to my exercise at the time, every day. I didn’t treat each day like it was a party that I needed to over eat on, I ate in moderation. I didn’t eat till I was miserable on the actual holiday.

I wore form fitting clothes to remind me of my goals. Crazy I know but it works. Trust me, you are much more aware of your body and how you are eating.

So I want you to have your own personal survival guide

This is gonna look different for all of us. It will vary by our goals, our lifestyle and what we are trying to achieve. I’m assuming, you really don’t want to add any extra weight to you.. that’s why you are here.

First of all, if you fall in the camp of already throwing the towel in and proclaiming “I’ll start in January!”

Stop. It.

Seriously, stop thinking like that. There are only a few days in these upcoming months that would be out of the norm for eating purposes. You have days of normal life going on there are no reasons to toss in the towel and view these months as an eating binge.

And… I’ve just told you I lost weight through these months so I know it’s possible. Either that or you maintain your weight.

Next, exercise.

If you aren’t yet at least get out and start walking. Regardless, you want to make time in your day for that. It not only helps with the weight issue more importantly it keeps you sane and focused on days that get busy with all the hustle of the holidays.

One of my fav things I’ve done every Thanksgiving since I started getting myself in shape, is getting up early for a sunrise run.  It centers my mind on what the day is about, let’s me think of all I’m grateful for and blessed with, burns off some calories and energizes me for the long busy day I’ll have as Chief cook and Dessert Master 😛

Food.

Oh there are so many delicious things to sample aren’t there? And pie. Glorious, delicious pie.

I eat the things I love the most. I don’t worry so much about the other stuff. I don’t eat it because “it’s there”. I feel no obligation to eat everything that’s put out, you shouldn’t either. If you can’t really stand Grandma’s sweet potato casserole with gobs of marshmallows, for heavens sake, leave it behind!

I don’t feel deprived or left out. I have what I want in small portions.. with so much food available it doesn’t take much to fill a plate.  I detest that over full feeling so I really try and keep away from doing it.

You need to make your plan now

~ determine what you will and won’t do. This puts you in charge and not just being bounced along day to day,

~ on the actual day be mindful of how you eat. Listen to your body. Trust me, there will be food for days so you don’t need to eat it all at once.

~ don’t over eat or eat “bonus” foods on random days. Eat normally and respect your decisions you’ve made.

~ don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s put out. Be selective in what you want.

~ do try and limit alcohol and keep your water intake up.

~ do commit to daily exercise.

~ do enjoy your family traditions and foods. Don’t get hung up on how many calories are in things.

~ do remember, you can’t “work off” things you’ve already eaten.  It’s done. Move forward and work out sensibly.

~ do listen to your body. If it’s telling you “enough” then learn to stop. Like I said, food will be around for days 😉

~finally, do set a small goal for yourself to achieve at the end of the season. If you have something you’re mindful of, you will be more likely to stay focused on it.

Make sure you check back in the upcoming weeks for a few more tips and motivation to keep strong and fit through this season.

With some planning, awareness of yourself and each day, you can move through these months enjoying yourself, staying positive, and maybe even dropping a few pounds in the process.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to stay on track during the holidays?

 

 

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Favorite Things Of Christmas

Christmas week. Christmas only days ahead….

Yikes!

I’ve been baking, shopping and wrapping like a wild woman.

My stockings have been hung by the chimney with care in hopes that I’ve been a good girl and Santa will leave me some goodies 😉

Decorating and getting out favorite Christmas decorations is definitely something I enjoy each year. As much as I love adding a new thing here and there with the passing Christmas seasons, it’s the old stuff that’s been around for awhile that really brings me the most joy.
You know how you probably have something that is “Christmas” to you? Maybe it’s a special food or cookie. Maybe it’s a particular decoration or something that’s been hanging around for awhile that when you get it out it evokes memories of years gone by.

That’s cool stuff….things that evoke memories of past Christmas seasons.

This first picture is a little village my grandmother put out every year for as long as I can remember. She would put the Barclay skaters out with the village. ( you can see them in the second picture… the people in this one are definitely more current) That was back in the day when lead figures were made of, well, lead 😉 I would get lost as a child sometimes just sitting and looking at it… that tiny little winter wonderland.

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As time went on and my grandmother passed away, my mom got the village. And after several years she moved on to a newer more modern ceramic one ( I never understood). One Christmas I was up in the loft in my moms barn like some large rat rummaging around for some things for her when back in the corner, forgotten, was the tiny village and winter skaters.

I immediately fell into begging mode… “Please, please, please let me have the village!” ( I can beg quite well when I have to 😉
She agreed and then I pressed again… “and the skater people? and the Santa and sled?” she told me to take them all…

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. After all these years, the village and skater people with the Santa were mine!

I brought them home and carefully opened up the box taking out each tiny house. They were dusty and dirty and in need of some repair… to which I carefully set out to do… that Christmas they were out again with the lights carefully shining through the back of them (they have little holes for lights in the back)

That day began my quest ( and addiction) to learn about these cheap little dimestore houses and winter village scenes. Much to my surprise I learned the set I had grown up with were actually houses at the end of the era of the “cardboard” villages (mid 60’s).

The Barclay lead figurines were from the early ’40’s. I also learned my Santa is very rare and quite pursued as he was the only style made like this in 1942.

Often referred to as “putz houses” in older times the village was arranged around and under the tree creating often spectacular and unique displays.

As my digging and research broadened I learned these houses had shown up on the scene sometime in the late 1920’s. The most spectacular, beautiful ones were made during that time through about the mid 40’s. Many of these were huge with exquisite details ( and were on ebay selling for crazy amounts of money which quickly left me out of the pursuit of many) and yes, I got the bug.

Once I started seeing some of the unique, and beautifully detailed pieces it was hard to not jump in and gather my own “collection”.

This is the picture below.

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The “youngest” piece is the big white church in the center…it’s about my age haha… It was in horrible shape when I bought it. Someone had put hot pink and bright blue tissue paper in for windows… it had no fence…it was dirty… and I restored it to what it looks like now. The peach church to the left I bought for 9.00 … the windows had been chewed out by mice..it had no steeple… or windows.. the cotton was not on the roof… it was dirty.. but it was so unique I wanted it.( and my family shamelessly laughed at me for buying it) It had an actual little light in the bottom you could turn on. I bought it and carefully restored it… it is the piece I’m most proud of giving new life to. Even serious collectors I sent pics to were amazed at how it was restored.

I think my favorite pieces to find are the “cotton topped” houses, but especially the churches. These seem to have had a time span of only the early 40’s.

All of the houses in the second picture range in age from youngest of 55 to about 85 years old. The small house in forefront with lots of really tiny windows I believe is circa late 1920’s making it the oldest. Houses with the figurines of Santa and the Priest were made during the early 30’s and are most coveted by collectors today.

Given that these were cheap cardboard little pieces that sold for 5-10 cents during their brief time in history I find it totally amazing they are still around all these years later. I wonder about where they’ve been and what history they’ve been a part of. Todays villages are pretty but totally pale in comparison to me when I see the old antique beauty of these pieces.

In the second picture you can see the winter skaters and Santa and reindeer that were a part of my childhood village.

This is a part of Christmas that delights me in that childlike way.

Tell me… what special thing is it for you that says Christmas ?

Mary… Did You Know ?

Hey boys and girls =)  as I shared with you in a past post even though my blog focuses on health, fitness, and a whole lotta running related stuff, I will take times to delve into other aspects of life and write about whatever is currently on my mind or heart.

It makes for a happier blogger girl to get some of that other stuff outta my head 😉

Christmas is coming. Glorious, beautiful Christmas.

It is my most favorite holiday, hands down. I love the family traditions, special recipes,  shopping for gifts, wrapping ( I love making beautiful presents), the music, decorating my home, baking treats and sharing them with others… ahhhh so many delicious things to enjoy =) Yeah, stick around ’cause I plan to do several fun, happy spirited Christmas posts as we move through the month.

One of my favorite Christmas songs for years now has been a song called “Mary Did You Know”.  The music part aside, the lyrics have always given me great thought to pause as the song inquires  of thoughts from Mary about her son.

Maybe because I’m a mom of three sons it stirs  my soul in a deep way. I know the love a mother has for her sons. I know the tender way they can treat me, how they can make me laugh, make me crazy, terrify me, amuse me, and delight me at their own unique personalities.

Of course, my sons aren’t the Son of God.

The song asks Mary if she knew one day her son would rule nations, or heal the blind and deaf or if she knew kissing her baby, she was kissing God’s face.

mary did you know

 

When I hear those words, I have wondered. Did Mary know those things?

Mary was a normal young woman chosen to deliver the Son of God. I can’t help but think she would’ve had LOTS on her mind, and maybe lots of questions, but I’m still left wondering, did Mary know things about her supernatural son?

I like to think, Jesus growing up, was like a normal little boy. Active, busy, inquiring, into things, maybe making Mary breath a deep sigh of relief when he was (finally) taking a nap.

But could Mary know beyond an earthly sense things about her son ?  His destiny? His calling? His purpose?

She had received the unusual visit from an angel who had announced to her that she was chosen to carry God’s Son.  I’m pretty sure that would’ve set me on my ear. I wonder if she was given a special peace and understanding as she not only delivered this  child but raised and cared for him in daily life…. as he grew up and grew closer to his destiny.

His destiny to die for the sins of mankind. The Lamb of God.

Did Mary fully know ?  Could she ?

Yes, the angel had shared some things with her ( as if that wouldn’t blow your mind)  but like any of us (cause we’re human) did she grasp it all ?  How do you parent the Son of God ?

I wonder… Mary… did you know….

The reasons God chose you ? And ponder why ?

All of the amazing plan God had in store? or could you only see part?

That your son was really different from the other kids in the neighborhood ?

That some day he would miraculously heal the sick, blind and lame ?  Stop storms in their tracks ?

That the boy she watched grow into a man would someday die in front of her on a cruel Roman cross ?

Did Mary know her son was also her Savior ?

Did she know at all the suffering she would go through watching her grown son die in front of her?

I think this is what gets me the deepest. That evokes pain my heart.

Wondering if she knew…. wondering how she stood up under that knowledge.

Several years ago, my middle son had a horrible wreck coming home. He flipped his truck several times before it rested towards the bottom of a hill. His friend was thrown from the truck. When a friend called concerned and he hadn’t shown up home, we went driving looking for him.

I will never forget that night. As a parent it was the most horrible, gut wrenching thing I’ve gone through. We came on the accident site and I had no idea at all if my son was ok or not. It was surreal.

The lights from emergency vehicles. The police telling us to stay in our car.  My heart pounding out of my chest so loud I could hear and feel it.

My son. My beautiful, funny, strong willed, passionate middle son. I didn’t know how I would stand up to not having him.

After being told he and his friend were alert and transported to the hospital, I felt a little better, but still had no idea the condition he was in.

Arriving at the hospital and finally seeing him, bloodied and hurt, but talking and acting in his strong willed way relieved me. I wept with thankfulness for his life that had been spared ( his friend was ok too)

It’s this taste of personal agony that makes me think whenever I hear this song…that makes me wonder….

I wonder if Mary knew she wouldn’t be able to stop what would unfold..  watching in horror as her son was crucified.

Did she KNOW God’s plan for redemption  and somehow rest in that?  Knowing that her son would die, but rise to live again ?

She was human. She was a mom.  That was her child too. Her beautiful son.

Mary, did you know ? 

And what would you share with us about parenting God’s Son ?  What tips of peace would you offer us in parenting our own children ? What encouragement would you give to us when we struggle with understanding the plans for our children’s lives ? Or feel the agony and pain of loss ?  What would you teach us about the faithfulness of God and his perfect plans ? What joy would you share with us when you were reunited with your Son after the glorious resurrection ?

Mary, did you know when that angel first came to you, all the pain and joy you would experience or the incredible adventure you were about to be involved in ?

Yes. This song causes me to reflect deeply each time I hear it.  And well, there’s just a lot we’ll never know.  We can ponder, think, and reflect but we won’t ever know so many details ( I’m a woman… I love details! I want details!)

But this I do know, and it’s enough. Mary knew and trusted God. She trusted his plan. She was obedient and offered her life as an offering to be used…

and because of that I do know this… she brought MY Savior into the world who would someday die for me too… and for that… I’m immeasurably thankful.

mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Buy Health And Wellness

So I did it yesterday.  I hopped on the proverbial “Christmas bus”.

Yes, once on, please be seated, fasten your seat belts and hold on for dear life. The ride will soon be over boys and girls.

No, no, no this isn’t anything anti-Christmas it’s just an awareness that things are going to be picking up for the festive holiday season and by that I mean, I jumped into doing a little Christmas shopping. It seems like once you start it all seems to be, well, if you will, a snowball effect 😉

I was actually a good girl and didn’t even buy anything for myself.

Ok, truth be known, I had two things I was searching out and I had no success… so that doesn’t count, right ?

So while I’m at the mall, I have to walk by these various kiosks that are set up like small little hamster houses along the walk way. Most of the vendors mind their business and let you come shop with them if that’s your desire.

Except one particular one… I know it… I see it each time I’m there…. I look for an escape route like a fox in a chicken coop… but there’s NO WAY around them to get to my favorite stores.

I try the “being busy with my phone and I’m not making eye contact with you” approach. I try the “I’m intently window shopping” angle. I even try the brisk walking and pointedly ignoring them as they call and lure me in with their beauty products they’re hawking.

One caught me and handed me a sample and I thanked him and kept walking… and he kept almost chasing me trying to get me back to his little nook to sell me products. Honestly, I ignored him as he wasn’t taking my “thanks but no thanks” response.

On my way back… there he was… again… and coming after me… till I finally said… “I’m not interested in your product” and kept walking. ( Poor guy, he doesn’t know who he’s come up against) ugh. so. pushy.

The products he sells are skin and face cream and other such stuff.

Dude, I’m a middle aged woman carrying an AARP card.   Your creams and stuff aren’t gonna fix me up or change me 😉 Sorry.

Hang with me here….

it got me to thinking about other products people have tried to sell me on recently.. He was pedaling creams and such that were supposed to help you look younger etc. etc.

Yet because of my interest in health and fitness I am constantly asked to try and use products to “help” me since I’m well, into health and fitness. I mean, I must certainly need their product to help me, right?

No…  I don’t.

I don’t need your pills, potions, videos, portion cups, shakes, patches, enhancements, supplements, special drinks or anything else. I don’t need to spend money to lose weight, sleep better, lower my blood pressure or improve my lab work. I don’t  need “health” products to feel more energetic.

Why ? Because for the last 8 years I’ve worked hard and busted my tail to lose weight, learn to eat more healthy foods than not, exercise, and enjoy side effects of it, getting fit. It’s been a project that has been very satisfying…..satisfying ’cause I’ve done it.

Because I’ve lost the weight, my blood pressure is great, my lab work is (crazy good according to my doctor), my blood sugar level is even and steady, I sleep well, and have tons of energy. I’m stronger, leaner and in better shape than I’ve ever been. It always disturbs me when people brag on a product that supposedly does that when I never used products but had all the same results.

It’s the WEIGHT LOSS boys and girls that triggers all these things in our bodies….weight loss.

It’s really weird how losing weight and moving your body will reap some amazing good health benefits and it didn’t cost me a thing. On top of that, eating healthy foods, less processed foods and sugar has good benefits for your skin too.

Maybe I don’t need the stuff Mr. Kiosk dude is selling after all 😉

You don’t need products either to be strong, fit, healthy and energetic. Be patient, treat yourself kindly, take one day at a time, practice good habits, eat well, and move your body with your favorite activity.  You will be so satisfied with what you achieve on your own.

Then go and use that money to buy some smaller clothes….. or buy Christmas gifts….. 😉