Staying on Track {Giveaway}

*******This giveaway has already ended. Stay tuned for more!

Hey everyone! How was your day?

I was blown away by all of your awesome comments and sweet compliments on the Zumba videos. Even though it’s a little more challenging than it usually is, I still love teaching much. Dancing makes me happy and is one of the few things that feels good right now, so I’m sticking with it as long as I can. Maybe I can plan some “let’s take a Zumba class” meet-ups when I get back into the traveling thing 🙂

Last night, while nana, madre and I were shopping, I couldn’t believe that all of the Christmas decor was already up. It’s like retail skips right past Halloween into Christmas, which I love, but it just seems so early this year. Just another excuse to get the tree up before Thanksgiving, eh?


[Our 2009 tree]

Holidays are definitely already on the brain for many people, and it was the topic for this morning’s conference call.

After I posted this morning’s post, I hopped on a video conference with the Shape Magazine Senior Associate Lifestyle Editor. The funny thing is that I woke up a little earlier so I could brush my hair and look semi-human, but we could just see and hear her, no one else could see us.

shape chat

The funny thing is that if I would have zombie-d it, it would have been set up where everyone else could see me. Isn’t that how it always works out?


the video chat was fantastic. The speaker was Bahar Takhtehchian, and she discussed her favorite tips for staying on track during the holidays. She was a joy to listen to, but I couldn’t help but think “I’ve heard all of these tips before. I hope she shares a secret awesome trick I can share with my readers.” But the truth is, the methods to staying on track during the holidays are really all things we’ve heard before. Just like healthy living in general: the idea behind it is simple, but the execution is where it can get tricky.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the things she discussed, along with my own tips in brackets:

-You can still enjoy the holidays while maintaining your fitness and health accomplishments- treats are ok! [I am a huge believer in treating yourself! The only time we can run into challenges is when we tend to celebrate holidays over and over and over again. If it’s Thanksgiving, live it up- but after that holiday, get back into the usual swing of things]

-Make important choices during the day. Enjoy a satisfying breakfast with a combo of whole grains and protein- choose foods that will fill you up and keep snacking at bay. As far as lunch goes, choose something like salad, broth-based soups, salad, whole-grain sandwich (hummus or avocado instead of mayo), and keep lunch lighter since those who are at work are unable to nap after lunch and digest a large amount of food. [I also like to enjoy something healthy before going out to a party, such as some soup or a large salad. This way, I know that I’ve had some veggies and nutrients before the party, and don’t arrive ready to stuff the buffet table into my face]

-Go for healthy snacks, as they keep blood sugar stable and rev the metabolism. Some good choices: fruits, nuts and yogurt. [Amazeballs, egg puffs, smoothies, small salads, veggies and hummus, banana or apple + almond butter, deli meat or tempeh rolled up with some goat cream cheese, Larabars]

-Aim to get enough fiber. Women need 25g per day and men need 38g. Not only does it help with satiety, it can help to prevent disease.

-Stay hydrated (avoid caffeine since it has a dehydrating effect, and we can easily mistake thirst for hunger). Take H2O in a bottle with you, or flavor it with some lemon zest [I also like to add fresh berries, cucumber, mint, or orange slices to add some flavor]

-Keep moving! Use the mall for cardio, walk and chat with a friend (extremely beneficial in such a technology-focused environment), find a class you love (an instructor who inspires you, amazing music make all the difference), work out with a buddy who will motivate you to reach your goals, make small changes.

-Choose wisely and don’t overdo it.

When it comes to the holidays, I really think it’s important to remove pressure from yourself as far as working out and eating perfectly. The holidays aren’t a time to go on a crazy diet or set some lofty fitness goals- it’s a time to kick back, relax and enjoy family, friends and the season. I think that it’s much easier to stick to what you want to achieve when you’re willing to cut yourself some slack. Enjoy dessert, just don’t enjoy it every single day at every chance you get –treats are everywhere, from now until New Year’s. I’ll usually go for the ones that are really *worth it* like my nana’s Bundt cake, or my other nana’s Thanksgiving pies. If it came from a factory, it’s not worth it to me.


[Thanksgiving table of dessert justice]

As far as cocktails go, I don’t really have to worry about that this year, but usually I’ll go for something clear with club soda, a beautiful cocktail or fancy pants glass of wine and savor it.

As far as fitness goes, if you’re running short on time, go for a quick and effective workout. HIIT is one of my faves- 20 minutes and you’ll torch a ton of calories and have a higher afterburn effect throughout the rest of the day. For weights, choose compound movements that work more than one muscle group at a time (like lunges with a bicep curl or overhead press).

Definitely look for the forest, not the trees, and in the grand scheme of things, if you’re *mostly* sticking to your usual habits, a few extras here and there are NBD.

sleigh two men

What holiday meal/treat are you most looking forward to? What’s one of your tips for staying on track during the holiday season?

I cannot wait for Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce, stuffing and pie… and I’m drooling.

When you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win an amazing prize pack from Shape magazine:

-a one-year subscription to Shape magazine

-a yoga mat

-a stability ball

-a pedometer

-box of Fiber One Brownies

See ya in the morning with 10 Ways to Make November Gnarly <— help me with this title? haha



**************************This giveaway has ended as of 11/3 12:01 AM EST. Stay tuned for more fun giveaways in the near future!

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  1. Elizabeth on November 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    My tip: Plan ahead and pick your treat for the night. If you make a conscious choice, you’re going to enjoy your treat more and you won’t waste your calories on random snacks.

  2. Christina R on November 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    my holiday fitness tip is to just work out for 15 min extra and to get my workout in the morning so that I have the rest of the day to enjoy the holidays and to feel good!

  3. Emily on November 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I actually began a weight loss journey in the beginning of last December, which quickly turned very disordered, so I wasn’t really able to enjoy the holidays… This is my first holiday season with a LOT of knowledge about health + fitness, so I’m interested to see how it all plays out.

  4. Cassie S on November 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Eat veggies and dip as an appetizer. Also, going for a walk after eating a meal with the family is one of the best things we came up with! We will walk around the block a few times after eating so we don’t become tired and lethargic.

    Looking forward to Thanksgiving turkey, of course!

  5. Traci on November 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    would love to win! i’m most looking forward to my aunt lisa’s sweet potatoes with marshmellows!

  6. Katie on November 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I look forward to the festive starbucks holiday cups. It makes that little treat so much better! And it helps me get in the spirit with all my Christmas shopping.

    One of my tips for staying on track is working out with family members or loved ones. The holidays are a time to spend with loved ones. Holiday shopping, dining, parties, and exercising! 🙂

  7. Allison on November 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I am looking forward to peppermint ice cream topped with chocolate chips! And mashed potatoes! yum!

  8. Melissa on November 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I’m looking forward to Pumpkin Pie! My tip is to load up on the healthy stuff and veggies and be mindful of indulgences.

  9. Jill on November 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I can’t wait to try my hand at making gluten free Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar). I grew up on these, but now that I’m GF I haven’t been able to have them. But, I just came across a recipe in a Swedish allergy magazine, so now I’m all set!

  10. [New Balance] Nicole on November 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I am looking forward to our tradition of pumkin and apple pie with whip cream for breakfast thanksgiving morning!! And off course the craziness of black friday and starting the countdown till Christmas!

  11. Lexie on November 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    The easiest way for me to stay on track in to still fit in a workout everyday. Even if I ate really bad the day before, working out helps me feel better and then I will have more will power!

    I can’t wait to make and eat some gooey gooey butter bars by Paula Deen! Delicious!

    • Fitnessista on November 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      i LOVE those ooey gooey bars…. the chocolate chip version is INSANE

  12. Sarah K on November 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    i’m excited most about the turkey and ham. I’m not much of a sweets person but stuff myself silly on thanksgiving day!

  13. Tracy on November 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Pumpkin pie…but made crustless and with stevia!

  14. Jessie on November 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    During the cold months (I’m a Canadian girl 😉 ) I get alot of extra fun activities in that burn calories and are great social events. Like skating parties or skiing! All the extra workouts mean I can indulge in a few treats.

  15. Gabby on November 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    workout in the morning! getting it done first thing will stop you from getting to busy later on.

  16. Sierra on November 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I cannot wait for stuffing and cranberry sauce! My tip is to ensure I get in a work out first thing in the morning- it sets the rest of my day on a positive note, plus I tend to eat healthier on days I work out.

  17. Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile on November 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Great tips! I definitely indulge but know how to stay on track too 🙂

  18. Sneha on November 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I’m looking forward to turkey and pumpkin pie. Some things I consider during the holidays is to maintain an eat/exercise balance. Whether it’s yoga or running or time at the gym. I know it an get harder to do with the cold weather making anyone feel like staying inside so sometimes it’s nice to mix up the workout routine!

  19. Tanya on November 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I am most looking forward to the pumpkin pie! And peppermint mocha lattes…do those count?
    To burn off all the extra calories I make sure to workout extra hard! (Helps beat the stress, too!) You’d be surprised how full a spin class is on Thanksgiving morning!

    • Kim M. on November 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      Am I too late? Bobby Flay’s chipotle sweet potato gratin is my favorite thing to bring to Thanksgiving dinner!

  20. sara on November 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Love the tips. Simple and doable. It’s great when you’ve got the support of those you’re celebrating with.

  21. Leslie on November 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I’m looking forward to making Christmas cards and cookies for my family and my closest friends. My holiday tip to stay in shape is to have a couple at-home workout dvds on hand because once that cold weather and snow sets in, the feeling of laziness to head to the gym takes over!

  22. Melissa on November 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    During the holidays, I use exercise as a stress relief. It helps when you look forward to exercising as time for yourself during the hectic holidays rather than a chore. Buuuut come Thanksgiving, I cannot wait to enjoy some homemade buckeyes from my momma 🙂

  23. kelly on November 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    My favorite tip for staying on track during the holidays is to remember that everything is okay in moderation!

  24. Lauren H on November 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    My tip: Hot yoga! Keeps you warm when it is cold outside and keeps the blood flowing (which keeps you warm 24/7).

  25. Charissa on November 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Getting a workout in, no matter how small…is my favourite tip! Especially when I don’t feel like it!

    Have to say, I love the stuffing at dinner!!!

  26. Tami on November 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I am SO looking forward to pumpkin chiffon pie! mmm…Thats a great tip in itself because it has fewer calories than a regular slice of pumpkin pie! 🙂

  27. Lizzy on November 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    My favorite tip is to live it up at the holiday meal but get back into the swing of things after that and make sure to keep up with your workouts!

  28. Sara on November 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I am looking forward to homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas!

  29. Meredith on November 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Fav holiday food would be my moms pineapple casserole , so yummy. Holiday meals are just like a cheat meal I allow myself. It’s nice to indulge every once in a while but just not over doing it and maintaining my exercise schedule is always important

  30. Lea on November 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Me and my mom make spritz cookies every year and they are the highlight of my holidays. The recipe is from the 70s and is full of butter, amazing.

  31. nancy on November 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    I’m really looking forward to pumpkin pie and gingerbread baked goods, and fitness-wise, I try to incorporate a mini-workout in everyday (whether it be a short walk, bike, or following along to DVDs).

    Thank you SO much for your inspiring and informational posts…it is such a joy to read your blog everyday. 🙂

  32. Michelle on November 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    What holiday meal/treat are you most looking forward to? Definitely sweet potato souffle!
    What’s one of your tips for staying on track during the holiday season? Drink alcohol in moderation!

  33. Morgan on November 2, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I love winter holiday meals because it means mashed potatoes plus corn- my absolute fave!

  34. Sarah on November 2, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    My tip: which im sure has been said over and over. Focus on what that day is, what the holiday represents. Focus on your family and the people and love around you. Have fun together, cook all day, play silly games. Just be in the moment and that way you wont be obsessing over the food.

  35. Yolande on November 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    My tip is to eat clean all day besides the one meal or treat u want 🙂 if I’m going to have Cake I’ll make sure I eat as healthy as possible all day 🙂 moderation is key:)

  36. Katie on November 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I stay away from treats in the office during the holidays! I have a hard time stopping at just one, so it is better to not start.

  37. Ellen on November 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

    i love to make healthy, gluten free versions of classic desserts like pumpkin pie for the holidays. it’s a lot of effort, so it’s still special, and it doesn’t make me sick. all the gluten eaters enjoy it too!

    my advice is to stick to whole foods as much as possible. love green bean casserole?? make it from scratch instead of mixing together multiple processed foods in a pan. it will be healthier, tastier, and will force you to prioritize and edit your menu.

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