By Shawneda Crout | Student Member
Fall brings boots, warm and snugly sweaters, pumpkin everything, conference season, and the excitement of looking forward to the holidays. For authors like me, October is the time to decide if you’re going to participate in NaNoWrimo (national novel writing month) or find another way to feed your appetite for words over the holidays. Another decision I make is how I’m going to approach the endless parade of food and drinks from the end of October until New Years Day.
Planning where and who I’ll be celebrating with has become an end of August habit that’s helped me avoid returning to my heaviest weight at 299 lbs in 2011. By the end of September, a conversation with family and friends has helped me begin to decide where to spend Thanksgiving, who is hosting Christmas, and will we be together for New Years’ Eve. Having a limit on the number of gatherings I attend, as well as who I’m spending time with, helps me know how to prepare.
When I’m with my health-conscious friends or family, I know I can contribute a healthy dish to the party that will be well received. If an invitation to enjoy time with a less health-focused friend is part of the itinerary, I make sure to have a salad before I go and bring my own calorie-free drinks to their event. No matter who I decide to spend time celebrating with over the holiday season, having a plan and knowing the host is key to being able to avoid the anxiety and guilt of overeating.
Putting together a feasible workout plan is also important for the holiday season. Whether strolling in the neighborhood or using one of my indoor walking DVDs, adjusting my workouts for being out late or not home helps alleviate the “how did I miss two weeks working out” confusion that used to happen every holiday season. Considering new workout plans and reading more articles about health and fitness plans for the New Year also helps me remember to stay committed to my healthy lifestyle.
Another part—and possibly the most important part—of having a healthy writing holiday plan is to remember that it is the holiday season. Will the world end if I gain a pound or two? No. In most, if not all, cultures, bonding over fellowship centered around food is the norm. When I plan to visit the friend famous for her peach cobbler, I give myself permission to enjoy a reasonable small portion. I don’t take any containers for leftovers, and any of my own desserts shared are provided in disposable cookware to be left for someone else to take home.
Having a very introverted personality and isolated profession makes the holiday’s a special time to socialize each year. Being able to enjoy the time with others while honoring my commitment to living a healthy, writing life used to be very frustrating. Since implementing this plan a few years ago, battling the holiday bulge at the beginning of the year has become a distant memory.
SHAWNEDA CROUT is a technical communicator and author. Her work is fueled by hot tea and good music. She’d love to connect on LinkedIn. To find out more about her, visit www.shawneda.com.