Healthy holiday habits

December 11, 2013 

At this same time each year many of us go mindlessly into the holiday season knowing that we are going to gain 5-10 pounds or more, and we seem to be ok with that knowledge. We use the excuse that it is the holidays and we give ourselves permission to eat and drink whatever we want and as much as we want. We convince ourselves that we will diet after the first of the year and make our New Year’s resolutions that always seem to include losing weight and getting healthy. We make these same promises, year after year knowing they have never worked before, but this year “it will be different.” We make these familiar resolutions with an honest intent to finally make a change in our lives and our less-than-healthy habits.

Shouldn’t we ask ourselves why we do this, year after year, the same resolution with the same result? What would happen if we make our resolutions before the holidays? What if we never gained that extra 5 or 10 lbs? Wouldn’t that make our annual New Year’s resolution about our health easier to accomplish? Small changes to our holiday habits can make a huge difference in how we start the New Year.

Here is a tip about making smart decisions when you eat out, just one small step toward informed decision making. Simply go online and print out the calorie information from your favorite neighborhood restaurants’ website. Make a list of menu choices under 500 calories so you can order wisely. If your favorite eating establishment does not provide this information, go to or one of the many other websites available at no cost, and become educated on the nutritional value and calorie content of the food you want to eat. This is just one small step we can all take to help us create healthier eating habits during the holiday season without feeling deprived.

Another small, but smart, step is to plan snacks in advance and track everything you eat, you may be surprised. Don’t be held captive by what is readily available, especially when you are really busy with holiday shopping and decorating, or just relaxing in front of the TV. Don’t forget to plan and track your drinks in addition to your food.

Habits are learned behaviors from our childhood and are powerful and difficult to change. However, if we want to, these habits can be changed by making intelligent decisions based on our adult-mind, not our child-mind. Consider how powerful our minds can be if we just believe we can change our habits.

Judy Schmoeger, a longtime resident of Lee’s Summit, is owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness.

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