It’s possible to keep the holidays merry and bright without obsessing over every nibble, feeling guilty for every missed workout or late night, or careening in the opposite direction to abandon any semblance of balance.

Welcome to the 2018 holiday season, now pretty much in full swing.

As I write this, Christmas Eve is less than one week out and the whirlwind of shopping, merry-making, parties and revelry, not to mention cooking, baking and feasting is nearing a fever pitch.

You shouldn’t have to feel like all that fun comes at the expense of compromising your health, but when you live with a health issue that begs tending – yes, regardless of whether you’re newly diagnosed or in survivorship, it’s important to “tend” to your breast cancer – it can seem like everything celebratory is one gigantic no-no.

As full-grown adults we know our behaviors come with consequences; we skip lunch and tend to overeat at dinner, we binge-watch Netflix till the wee hours and get little sleep and even less physical activity.

Yet when those of us in the breast cancer community dare to intentionally engage in lax (LAZY?) lifestyle behaviors?

It seems the stakes are extra high.

There are a couple of themes.

Eat too much? Gain weight.

Skip exercise? Gain weight.

Drink booze? Risk recurrence.

Skimp on shut-eye? Risk recurrence.

Eating fewer fruits and veggies? Risk recurrence.

Indulge in sugary treats by sampling ALL the things. . .Christmas cookies, peppermint bark and (extra) gingerbread cake? Gain weight AND risk recurrence. 

Ok, take a deep breath.

Before you spiral into despair and surrender to all holiday foods, habits and behaviors that lack even a smattering of healthy, let’s pause.

It’s possible to keep the holidays merry and bright without obsessing over every nibble, feeling guilty for every missed workout or late night, or careening in the opposite direction to abandon any semblance of balance.

“Ho, ho, ho, that just ain’t so!” you say?

You’ll have to trust me on this, and let me coach you through it.

Often you simply need strategies, a reminder, pep talk or pick-me-up, something to reach for during those “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” situations.  

My Healthy Holiday Season Gift to You; Words of Wisdom for Making Merry Without Making Yourself Crazy

When you’re worried you’ll gain weight and increase recurrence risk by eating foods that aren’t in your usual breast cancer diet:

Weight gain and recurrence risk don’t rise with only one food, meal or indulgence, so you can relax when enjoying those special, once-per-year holiday treats.

  • Your pattern of eating over time speaks more to how healthy (or not) your diet habits are. Give quality, highly nutritious choices more space on your plate, move less nourishing choices to the side, and when you decide to indulge in holiday foods? Choose those that are really, really worth it. Read more here. . .  

When you’re worried you won’t get back on track after the holidays are over:

If you regularly emerge from the holidays a few pounds heavier, feeling more deconditioned, drained and depleted than at the start, try a PROACTIVE versus REACTIVE approach starting NOW.

  • Don’t wait until after the holidays to get moving; you’ll only have a different excuse after the hoopla dies down (yep, sending you a little tough love!).
  • Avoid using food and booze to manage holiday stress; those are called “buffers” or “coping mechanisms” – you don’t need either one.
  • Get a plan in place for indulgences and scheduling snafu’s that leave you hangry, hurried and hopeless about your commitment to health. Read more here. . .

When you’re worried about how incredibly difficult it is to stay focused on your health goals:

Sleep enough, eat green plant foods, limit alcohol. You’ve stayed focused on your health goals all year, but now they feel completely unrealistic and you don’t feel good about that. 

The holidays have a way of taking over (the marketing and advertising starts in OCTOBER for heaven’s sake) to become larger than life, and we tend to feel like we need to keep pace. When we feel as if we’re not in charge of our habits (hint, we’re ALWAYS in charge), rather than scaling back and finding space for a little imperfection, the path of least resistance is often to completely abandon our efforts. What would it look like instead, if you abandoned your all-or-nothing, perfection-at-any-cost approach? Read more here. . . 

If you’ve been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, do you know which foods are best to include in your breast cancer diet? For a customized nutrition plan, practical tips and realistic education from a qualified nutrition professional and breast cancer survivor, CLICK HERE.

 Get your FREE copy of my nutrition and fitness JUMPSTART worksheet!