FBW Post: Fighting the Holiday Pudge

4 Dec

First, we’d just like to say “Thank You” to Alli for allowing us to join the fabulous FBW community! We are so excited to share this first post!
Happy Holidays! ~Tess & Jess

Jess (L), Tess (R)

Can anyone else believe that it’s already December? Where has the time gone?  We’re pretty sure summer wasn’t so long ago. But despite the creeping, it’s pretty awesome that it has arrived.  December is the month where all your favorite sweaters come out of storage, and snuggling down with a cup of tea and a good book is all but mandatory on chilly evenings.  Not to mention Christmas cookies, decorating the tree, sending and receiving holiday cards… all those warm and fuzzy feelings that come into play when the Christmas lights go up in store fronts.

Now that we’ve graduated from childhood and adolescence in to (young) adulthood, we realize that you can’t spend the entire month of December doing nothing but lounge in pyjamas, baking and eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate.  Apparently you’re supposed to eat a vegetable or two as well.  Plus, if we stopped exercising, neither of us would be in particularly jolly moods. So to spare our friends, family and dress sizes, here are a few tips and tricks to keep healthy during the holiday season. Consider it our gift to you!

Jess’s Tips:

1)      Set a fitness goal.  I’m a goal-oriented person, plain and simple.  I need to have a direction or goal in mind to keep me on track. Just remember to make it a realistic goal that you’re motivated to do. For goal setting tips, see Tess’s post on SMART Goals.   My goal this year is participate in the December Run Challenge, where I’m to run a mile per day for the 31 days of December.  I really like this goal because it will encourage me to get out and run no matter where I am, and by committing to this via Facebook (and on the blogosphere) it’s going to keep me accountable.  Which brings me to tip #2

2)      Tell people about your goals.  By telling other people about your fitness goals, this gives you extra motivation to see it out. Otherwise you may conveniently “forget” that you committed to go to the gym 4 times a week.

3)      Balance the good with the bad. I would be a HUGE hypocrite if I were to tell you to abstain from eating any junk or sweets over the holidays.  However I am a firm believer that you should treat sweets and goodies for what they are: an indulgence.  Appreciate, savor, and enjoy only what you really love, don’t just graze and snack for the sake of grazing and snacking.

Healthy Recipe
Holidays for vegetarians can seem daunting at times- both for the vegetarian, and their friends and family who fret over what to make them.  I’ve definitely gone through a few holiday dinners and gatherings where I’m stuck eating mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans for dinner (pass the bread, please?!).  So to help you avoid this run-in, whether you’re a vegetarian or cooking for one, here is an awesome main course dish that will make any veggie a happy veggie.   I’ve enjoyed this on many different occasions and it never fails to make even the meat-eaters jealous.


Long Grain and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

2/3 Cup          Wild rice

1/3 Cup          Long grain rice

2 ½ Cups       Vegetable Stock

½ tsp               Italian herb seasoning

½ tsp               Sage

½ Cup             Dried dried cranberries

¼ Cup             Dried apricots, diced

1 Tbsp            butter

2                      Acorn Squash

¼ Cup           Butter

¼ Cup          Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400F

Cut squash in half. In each half put in 1 tbsp butter and 1tbsp brown sugar.  Place on a baking sheet and place on middle rack in oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, bring stock to boil with Italian herb seasoning and sage.  Add wild rice and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add long grain rice and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.   Add butter and whatever berries you are using and diced apricots.

Add stuffing into squash, place back into oven, bake for another 10 minutes until heated through.

Serves 4

Tess’ Tips:

I guess this is the topic “du jour”.  Everybody wants to know what the secret to avoid gaining weight is, especially during the holiday season.

Christmas is supposed to be a time to treat ourselves to foods we don’t usually eat, but considering the majority of our population now eats junk and processed foods on a regular basis, is it really considered a “treat” anymore?  Furthermore, a treat should be something nice that you do for yourself, so why don’t we TREAT ourselves to some healthy food for a change?  While we’re celebrating the holidays, why don’t we also celebrate our health by nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods?

Well that’s all well and good, but the reality is that the great majority of the population is not as healthy as you and I.  So here are some tips to help with those sticky situations that you are sure to encounter over the holidays:

1)   Always ALWAYS bring a dish to a party, even if you haven’t been asked, and   always ALWAYS make sure it’s healthy.  That way, no matter what the hosts serve or other guests have brought, you know that there’ll be at least one healthy choice available.  The worst thing is being caught at a party, starving, with nothing to eat except spinach dip, lasagna, and cookies.  My favourite dishes to bring are interesting salads, as I find that for most people, the extent of their salad experiences includes the Ceasar or the Garden.

2)   Work out the day of a party, even if it’s just 30 minutes of cardio.  I know this is pretty typical advice, but it’s a classic for a reason!  When you exercise, you rev up your metabolism, making it easier for your body to process all the extra stuff you’ll be putting into it later that night.  The only catch here is that some people (myself included sometimes) will justify eating EVEN MORE than they usually would because they worked out earlier in the day.  This is tricky territory.  My advice would be to remind yourself, as you’re reaching for your 3rd brownie, that your body did so much work for you today, and you ought to repay it with kindness.

3)   Don’t let your grandma/friends/co-workers/partner/kids pressure you into making bad decisions.  People will try to justify their bad behaviours by involving others in them, but in the end, YOU are the one who has to live with those extra 5 lbs. – not them!  You are an adult, so act like one and hold your ground!!  Remember that Holidays don’t HAVE to be synonymous with weight gain.  There is a choice, and that choice is yours.

4)   Be a little bit lenient.  Counter-intuitive, I know.  But if you’re anything like me, you’re inclined to think to yourself  “well, I’ve already blown the diet…. may as well go all out!”, which just ends up creating more trouble for yourself.  At the end of the day, these ARE the Holidays, so IF your diet/fitness plan allows for it, then by all means enjoy a more lax lifestyle for a bit… just don’t go overboard!

Jess has posted an awesome healthy recipe to serve up, so now I’ll send you off with an easy at-home workout.  Now you have NO EXCUSES!!

The trick here will be to use as many compound movements (meaning exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time) in order to get your heart rate elevated.  Do this entire circuit 3-4 times, moving quicly between exercises and only resting between sets.  You will need some dumbbells and a staircase or sturdy chair for this routine.  Descriptive videos are linked where necessary.

Aim for exhaustion with each exercise, meaning you do as many as you can until you literally can’t do any more!!


Single Leg Tricep Dips

Stationary Lunge with Dumbbell Bicep Curls, remember you’ll have do both legs

Pushups starting from your feet, then finish off on your knees

Box jumps (You can use a staircase or a sturdy chair for this)

Sumo Squat with Shoulder Press


3 minutes of cardio: skip, shadow box, jumping jacks, run up stairs, or if you have a machine in your basement, use that.


4 Responses to “FBW Post: Fighting the Holiday Pudge”

  1. getfitwithles December 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Awesome tips ladies!!! I agree with you Tess when you say that we should TREAT ourselves with healthy food instead of crappy food. Also think that everyone should try their best to workout over the holidays!!! I always feel much better when I do this!!

    Great post! Getting excited for holiday after reading this!!

  2. A Fine balance December 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Loving the tips as usual! Balance is key …love the recipe, workout circuit and goal setting ideas! wonderful!

  3. A Fine balance December 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    PS whats FBW?

    • Tess and Jess December 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      (Tess) “Fitness Blog World“… it’s a community of fitness blog writers who write posts on the same subject every couple weeks. (We probably should’ve mentioned that in our post, eh? lol)

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