Happy Thanksgiving week!

This week I went live on my Facebook page to share my top healthy holiday tips and how I’m preparing for the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving. That video got me thinking of all the ways I prep for the holidays and I turned those tips, recipes and workouts into a Healthy Holiday Handbook. I sent that handbook to my newsletter yesterday so if you want the full scoop, join my mailing list and I’ll send you a copy!

Below is an exert from the video and handbook.


Thinking back on the holidays I see just how much my fitness journey has evolved. When I was competing in figure competitions and struggling with food guilt-obsession, the holidays caused me so much anxiety! I was either counting calories and avoiding my favorite foods, only eating plain turkey breast and steamed veggies for Thanksgiving, binge eating if I had just finished a competition or not eating much the week of Thanksgiving in preparation for the “big meal” (that makes no sense…none of it does). It’s been almost 4 years since my last competition and diet and I have officially gone from stressing over the holidays to just being intentional with my eating habits and exercise.

Now, my holiday season eating and exercise habits are an extension of how I live, eat and move every day – focusing on a handful of things consistently, enjoying myself and letting the rest work itself out.

These are my intentions this holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving –

Water – Since I know I’ll be eating more salt than normal, I’ll have my favorite Hydroflask water bottle close by. It keeps my water cold and even keeps the ice from melting overnight. My bright purple 40oz flask is a reminder to drink up! Otherwise it’s ‘out of sight out of mind’ and I’ll get busy and not take a drink until I’m dehydrated or really bloated, or both. I also rely on plain cold water because it makes me eat slower, which helps me check in with my tummy before I go for seconds. Sometimes hunger is disguised as thirst.

Protein and veggies – My top favorite holiday proteins are roast turkey, chicken and honey-baked ham. My favorite veggies are greens and green beans. I make protein the center of my meals and load up on veggies (fiber), too. So, I’m not concerned with the sodium, marinades and sauces because of my water intake and because I’ll be getting plenty of protein and veggies. Plus, protein and veggies are actually satisfying versus just feeling full and bloated from starches and desserts alone. I’ll make these 2 choices the center of my meals and sprinkle in the other yummy choices around them.

Walking – My mom and I will be doing our 3rd annual Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning. That brisk walk is the perfect way to start the day! If I have access to the gym I’ll lift weights but I’m not sacrificing time with my family to do so. Instead, I walk as much as possible and make it a point to walk with family after we eat. I like to be alert and energized to make the most of my family time and sitting around eating and then sitting some more makes me so sleepy. A quick 15-minute walk after dinner also eases digestion and keeps blood sugar levels stabilized. Also, people really open up when you get them out and moving, especially those busy body kids in the family. Bond with your family with exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise

Gratitude – This one has nothing to do with nutrition and exercise but practicing gratitude is a big part of my daily life and it’s especially important during the holidays. With the political climate this year, I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about at the dinner table. Add some alcohol to the mix and the conversations can escalate pretty quickly. Personally, I try not to anticipate heated debates or fights but I do make sure my mind is right for deep conversations and civil disagreements. It’s not your job to make everyone happy but you can control how you show up and respond in conversations. Sometimes you just have to say something like, “I love you and we’ll have to agree to disagree, but I can still enjoy your company without having the same views as you.” If all else fails, just keep chugging water and eating your protein and veggies!

If you found these tips helpful and want my top healthy recipes and do-anywhere workouts, too, subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll send you the complete handbook!

Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy Thanksgiving 🙂