I’m Afraid The Time Has Come

Posted: October 25, 2011 at 7:00 am

It seems like it should come so naturally. But it doesn’t. And, honestly, I’m a little afraid. Especially since the time has come.

First, Makenzie’s birthday.



Then the many traditions our family has in the fall that includes good food.


You can imagine what comes next. Thanksgiving. Christmas parties. Christmas dinners. Treats passed out every which way you turn. Holiday baking.


Food. Food. Food. Food.

What am I getting at with all of this?


I have a slight fear. Will I be able to keep maintaining the progress I have worked so hard towards? I have so far, but what about over the holidays?

You see…I feel kind of lost when it comes to holiday maintenance. Why? Because I have NEVER done it in all the years that I actually cared about my health.

Literally, NEVER! In other words, since high school, the holidays has been a time to pack on the pounds.

old school picture of mine and Peter’s first Thanksgiving together – towards the beginning of overcoming my binge eating struggles

In high school and the first two years of college, I just ate a lot. Then, my junior year of college I went on vacation to Disney world and ate my way through the week with a “new healthy plan” to start at the New Year.

That “new healthy plan” was the beginning of my food obsession and control techniques. For the next few years, the holidays were a never ending binge and restrict cycle that always ended with me “giving up and starting fresh on January first”. It also ended with the scale reading a good 10 pounds more. At least. For me to restrict my way back down from later on.

Finally, my relationship with food changed…but the holidays still weren’t for maintenance.

Four years ago – I was trying to conceive Makenzie and on the tail end of binging issues. Three years ago – I was a first time and new mom, who didn’t even think of the word “healthy” the first 6 weeks post-partum. Two years ago – I was having to force myself to gain weight in order to regain my cycle post fitness competition. One year ago, I was pregnant with a sweet tooth that wouldn’t stop and supposed to gain weight, of course.


It’s not an exaggeration. I have NEVER maintained my weight over the holidays and for some reason I find myself struggling with the concept.

Quite frankly, that pisses me off!

I KNOW what works for me to have a healthy balance. I KNOW what to do to stay on track. I KNOW I can work dang hard to care for myself.

So why in the heck am I not trusting myself to do the same for the next 2.5 months?

Just because I haven’t been able to before doesn’t mean I won’t be able to now. I cannot let doubt get in the way. Who am I to doubt myself?

I know what to do and I will do it. Look for another post coming on my “maintenance game plan”. But in essence, I will have my (pumpkin cheese)cake and I will eat it too.

I refuse to not enjoy the celebration that comes with this time of year we are fast approaching. But, more importantly, I refuse…REFUSE…to go back to my old ways. Who wants to knock the crap out of doubt with me? Punch

  • Is there a healthy habit you sometimes doubt in yourself?

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83 Comments to “I’m Afraid The Time Has Come”
  1. You can do it! I find that indulging, but just not overdoing it really helps throughout the holidays. I just try to make healthy choices all year round so I can splurge a little during this time! 😉 So, if the scale goes up 2-3 pounds during then, oh well – it’ll slide back off eventually!

  2. Kara says:

    I have never gained weight during the holidays, but that’s mostly because my body mass is like Old Faithful and pants from 10th grade still fit. Although, since my 50 mile training ends the week before Thanksgiving, maybe the holidays this year will make a liar out of me. 🙂

  3. Coco says:

    I call it the Holiday Eating Season. Halloween is not such a big deal now that my taste buds have graduated from Reese’s to Lindt Dark Chocolate, but we have November birthdays to kick of the feeding frenzy.

    Last year may have been the first year I really did maintain my weight through the holidays, and it may have been the first year I trusted myself and didn’t over-analyze every holiday morsel.

    If you pay attention to your body (am I hungry? am I stuffed?) and are selective about the foods you indulge in (is it really a one-time-a-year thing?) you will be fine — and the calories you burn with your new running routine won’t hurt!

  4. I think it’s actually the greatest health/fitness challenge of all to try to stay in shape through the holidays! Moderation is obviously key… and I always do a little extra working out (although not this year, I’ll be in post-marathon relaxation mode!)

  5. You and I share this maintence habit, where when the holidays come around, it’s all or nothing….BUT We can change that!! I know we can do it! Instead of forcing myself to not even enjoy some of holidays pleasures, I will eat what I want, but not treat it though as if it’s the end of the world tomorrow.

  6. Oh the lovely holidays 🙂 They are so much fun but so food filled!! Last year I was successful at actually losing weight over the holidays by adding in a long walk every day that I was off from work. It must have semi-balanced out the extra cookies and dessert!! Hopefully this year I can be successful again…although this year I also have a vacation added in the mix….

  7. Amy Lauren says:

    You can do it! For one thing with running, it’s super hard to gain weight when you run long distances like you do. Even if the scale goes up, it’s most likely lean muscle, but your clothes will usually fit about the same. And you have such a healthy lifestyle, too.

    The thing I try to think about is fueling my body… junk won’t fuel it, just like fuel for a car- bad gas makes the car drive bad. And no gas means it won’t run at all.

    My friend who’s lost over 100 pounds always says one unhealthy meal won’t make you unhealthy, and eating a healthy meal won’t suddenly make you healthy. That’s the way he looks at it and he’s kept the weight off and had healthy habits because he didn’t deprive himself of something he wants.

  8. Hannah says:

    Look how far you have already come! Just because you’ve never done it before makes this year the perfect year to start. Don’t stress too much about it, you can do anything you set your mind to. I like his you’re already thinking about it too, the best defense is to be prepared (and wear flowy shirts 😉 )

  9. Khushboo says:

    You can do it! Buffets tend to make me nervous that I’m going to really go overboard and almost every time, I come back feeling pleased myself..and also annoyed that I wasted so much energy on a meal that really felt like a breeze! Even when I was losing weight, I used to solely try and aim for maintenance. Surrounded with so many treats, aiming to lose weight was almost like setting myself up to fail. Maintenance was just the more realistic approach.

  10. I know you will do well with maintaining this year. I go into the season knowing that my eating habits will be a little different, but I allow for that. If I know I’m going to indulge later, I make smarter choices earlier in the day. There’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Besides, I feel better when I eat this way instead of junk food all the time.

    • Tina says:

      Yea. I have a gotten a lot better at balancing. And its so funny because I know the rest of the year has plenty of vacations/celebrations/etc too. I guess it just freaked me out to think that I have never really approached the holidays in this fashion before. Crazy to me!

  11. thank you for sharing this post! I definitely feel the same anxious feelings around the holiday season..back when I restricted my diet a lot more I use to get SO nervous about gaining weight and overindulging..I still get anxious but I realize now that the bigger picture of living a healthy life is a lot more important then living a life of restriction

  12. Anna Marie says:

    I am afraid of holiday weight gain also! YOu can do it…we can do it! I look forward to your holiday game plan! Please pray for me. I fell down a flight of stairs and hurt my tailbone so I am not being able to do much in the ways of working out. =(

    • Tina says:

      Oh, no! I just said a prayer for you. Mainly for healing and for peace – bec I know the mental games that would play on me. Hugs!

  13. girl, you’re going to be fine…you’re strong and i would say you just have to be mindful! i know for me i’ll let myself eat what i want at parties and things, but i survive off of healthy soups and oatmeal most days and love it. i actually come out of the holidays in better shape! you got this…and no reason to doubt yourself 🙂

  14. Lee says:

    I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with. But you know what? If you do gain weight, you will be able to lose it again.

  15. To be honest, last year was the first time I let myself NOT be restrictive at the holidays…and it was amazing because I got to eat everything I wanted and had been passing up for years, but it sucked because I felt out of control at some parties when I just kept going back and back and back to the buffet. This year I want to try to eat what I want, but not go insane like it’s the last holiday spread I’ll ever see…if I gain a pound or two, that’s fine, but it’s more about the mentality for me. Mine is still kind of all-or-nothing in some situations, which is something I’d like to work on!

    • Tina says:

      Yea. Some situations pose the desire to go overboard for me too. Mainly social things with lots of great foods I want to try. We can do it!

      And I don’t mind a pound or two gain…I just dont want to suddenly have 10 lbs to lose again or anything. I seem to gain weight VERY easily/quickly if I’m not mindful.

  16. Lori Lynn says:

    I struggle with maintenance any time of the year, so the holidays are especially tough for me. I’m still not at maintenance yet, and have some more to lose. I decided though to sign up for a 5K the beginning of December, b/c I know that in order to be able to run decent, I have to eat healthy. I’m trying to use that as motivation. After that, I guess we’ll see!

  17. It seems to me that you have such a different perspective now than you did in the past.

    • Tina says:

      I definitely do. It’s just so strange to think that I have never gone through the holidays with it. I think that’s what freaks me out the most.

  18. I’m sure you will do great this year! Strangely enough, I do really well over the holidays. I think one reason is that I get time off from work (three days for Thanksgiving and the week after Christmas) and that gives me more time to sleep/rest and go to the gym for that spin class I haven’t been to since last year. I also drink a lot of water and don’t say no to treats but also don’t overdo it either. I’m sure you will look back on this and realize you had nothing to be afraid of 🙂

  19. This is entirely off-topic, but I LOVE your workout tank in the bottom photo. It looks cute enough to wear out and about! (Not that I don’t regularly run errands post-workout regardless of the clothes, but still.)

    As for maintenance, I don’t even know what my maintenance weight is or how to maintain it. I have a whole mess of issues with my colitis, so I have 2 – 3 sizes of clothes in my closet at any given time. If the bigger clothes start to feel snug, I know it’s time to keep things in check. My weight fluctuates quite a bit due to my colitis and the medication I have to take sometimes, so I don’t even own a scale. It would be too stressful. I just let my body do it’s thing and try to eat healthy most of the time.

  20. Paula says:

    Perfect timing for this post! I was just thinking about holiday maintenance last night. Finding that balance between enjoying the holidays and going overboard is hard to do!

  21. jobo says:

    Oh Tina, I can SO relate to this!! I usually go hog wild during the holidays and feel like a freaking stuffed pig after and it’s just awful. It’s not the way to enjoy the holidays and this too is the first year that I am going to be mindful, I am going to choose my treats (wisely, but still have some!) and most of all, enjoy the company I am surrounded by, not focus on the food so much. It will be a challenge, but I think it will probably feel like the best balance between a fun holiday and not overdoing it too much.

  22. I was thinking about the same thing this morning. It’s football tailgates, then halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. I’m worried, too! So I signed up for another half marathon yesterday. It’s in March, so I will have to continue to train and run long runs through the holidays. And I’m going to concentrate on only eating goodies that I LOVE. Why waste calories on stuff I like, when I could be wasting them on things I LOVE.

  23. I struggle with this time of year as well. I don’t keep junk in the house (as much as I’d love to bake holiday treats), so that’s not a problem. I allow myself to splurge (hardcore) on family holiday gatherings. But what gets me are the parties and the office treats. Those are the things that are hard to repeatedly turn down. We can tweet each other all season for support! haha

  24. skinnyrunner says:

    i think everyone can relate to this post, tina!
    and it seems almost overwhelming when you look at all the “food holidays” at once, but just take it one day at a time, one event at a time. and thank goodness theres only one thanksgiving a year or id be screwed!

    • Tina says:

      Thanksgiving is my favorite. All those casseroles! Haha! I have a half the weekend after this year’s…I’ll just call it “fuel” and be good. 😉 Ha!

  25. You have plenty of supporters to help you through this. The thing is, you are already on the right track. You don’t have to do anything different during the holidays – because you are already living a healthier lifestyle and you probably won’t fall into past traps. A piece of birthday cake is FINE. A special treat with family is FINE. And eating some cookies is FINE.

    I actually used to suffer from an ED, so I would freak out too. But now I realize (the healthier me) doesn’t really eat too different during the holidays – except I drink more Coquito. (Puerto Rican Eggnog). But cookies are a weekend treat and for Christmas Eve. And holiday dinners are just that … dinners. I don’t over indulge, I just fill up my plate and enjoy time talking with family at the table. We don’t snack too much once we clean up.

    And then just maintain your workout schedule, that’s really what’s going to keep you from gaining. My husband really do a lot of walking every day with the kids to see the Christmas Lights. (Right now we are walking to see Halloween Decor.) And of course, I HAVE to hit the gym … and the holidays are my favorite time because it’s emptier. Mwa-ha-ha. But my 24/7 gym is always open – so I can go to the gym early in the morning, burn calories, build muscle and feel alright about eating some Sweet Potato Pie on Thanksgiving.

    I hope that makes sense, but you aren’t on a diet. You changed your lifestyle. Holidays won’t derail THAT.

  26. Haley says:

    Holiday weight gain is tricky. I feel like with sweaters and jeans and nice cozy clothes it’s almost easy to not realize the scale creeping up until it’s time to show some skin again in the spring. Staying cognizent of how many treats have actually been consumed is half the battle. You can do it!

  27. jen b says:

    I have also struggled with the same issues. The one thing I found to eliminate that mindset is The No S Diet. No seconds, sweets or snacks, except on days that start with S–Sat, Sun or special days. It’s real life. Period. Here’s the link if you are interested in checking it out:

    I love love love that this diet focuses not on FOOD, but BEHAVIOR! =)

    Good luck and keep up the blog–it’s really helpful!

  28. cheryl says:

    maybe reframe a bit…you’ve never really had the OPPORTUNITY to maintain over the holidays. you pointed out yourself that there was a reason during each of the past years that you struggled to maintain and often it was NECESSARY for you to gain.

    just keep it all in perspective. you ARE healthy. you DO have control over the BED monster. ALLOW yourself to enjoy the treats of the season but keep your general healthy days in the mix and you’ll be fine.

  29. Bari says:

    I have no doubt you will be fine over the holidays. You know what works and what doesn’t work, you know that you can allow yourself to enjoy some treats but not go overboard.

    I’m really struggling right now with post-marathon recovery and time off. I know running works for me to keep my weight in check and I’m terrified of gaining back what I’ve lost.

  30. The holidays scare me too, but I find that if you think about it, treats and temptations are present 365 days a year. We always talk about the holidays and they are special, but I find that there is ALWAYS some excuse if we want to take it, but if you are being good to yourself the rest of the year, I have the confidence for you that it will continue! Something I am changing this year is that I am doing all of my holiday cooking and baking the way I like to cook and bake–whole grains, healthy changes, without going crazy and making everything taste awful. Almost all of my friends and family love and actually request my healthier options so I think it’s a good time to share healthy treats and everyone with our same fears ends up being so appreciative!

  31. You can totally do this, and I would be lying if I said I’m not worried about it (for me) as well. For my family, Holiday season = Food. I’m not naive enough to think that I’m not going to indulge in some goodies, because quite frankly, I don’t think it’s good to totally restrict yourself from all of the Holiday goodness 🙂 That being said, I don’t plan on overeating and not working out. This season will be about balance. I believe in you!!!

  32. Tina, I can’t relate to you more in all of this. I’ve never been pregnant, but in the years past, I’ve been in and out of binge/restriction cycles. The holidays were always my “binge” cycle, and the New Year would be my “restriction” cycle. I’ve been thinking of the same thing lately – will I be able to maintain over the holidays? I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, and when goodies are surround me nonstop, will I have the willpower? Last year I did a “little better”, but I still gained a few pounds. I really want this year to be different. I just want to be able to have a healthy attitude about the food in front of me. You’re right though, we can’t let doubt get in our way. We need to be confident in ourselves. We know how to do it, and we can do it. You are an awesome woman, and I know you can do it!!

  33. I totally understand how you feel. I lost about 18 lbs and have kept it off over the past 6 months, but I’m so afraid of it coming back because never before have I been able to keep weight off. Also, every time I go home I gain a couple pounds! EVERY TIME. and going home for thanksgiving, and then most of christmas break (i’m in law school) is pretty intimidating! One day at a time!

  34. Tina says:

    Tina you have come so far. I noticed in these photos above that you are thinner and stronger after having 2 children than you were before. That is pretty amazing…usually it’s the other way around!

    You obviously can do anything that you set your mind to. I know getting through the Holiday’s is a challenge you haven’t faced yet but, you are going to be great.. I have faith in you : )

  35. Katie says:

    It helps me to think of it in terms of weeks instead of months. 2.5 months sounds so daunting! But 8.5 weeks … no big deal! 😉 Like some previous posters I think it also helps to view it as a challenge. And I always tell myself (over and over!) NOTHING tastes as good as being fit feels!!!!! You’ve totally got this girl!

  36. The holidays are tough! For me, I know that I am going to indulge a little bit…I mean, there are foods around that I only get once a year!…but I know how I feel when I’m not taking care of myself the way I normally do, and I allow that feeling to push me to keep up with my workouts and maybe not have that second helping! I believe in moderation and if I have that fifth cookie, I just push my workout a little harder!

    I have no doubt that you will be totally fine this year! 🙂

  37. During the holidays, I don’t do ANY restrictions on eating…I just workout alot harder and more frequently. Maybe that will work for you? I know you know how to push yourself in the gym!

  38. Liz says:

    I definitely understand the fear of the unknown – which I’m sure is why you are worried, since you’ve never tried to maintain during the holidays. But take a look at your day to day life (or even your post from yesterday). You exercise regularly and balance out treats with green smoothies. I predict you will be fine 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Yes! Thank you for getting it. I’m not so much fearful on how to balance…but more the unknown of never having done so for this time of year. Thanks!

  39. Ugh, this issue has been on my mind a lot the past few days. Since you had MaKenzie the same time of year I just had my little one, I know you understand what those few weeks post-partum are like, especially with the holidays coming up. I have been struggling knowing that I probably won’t even be able to exercise until Thanksgiving. How am I EVER going to get this weight off with the holidays approaching AND no exercise? I’m interested to see your maintenance plan. I usually try not to worry about my weight through the holidays. I know there will be get togethers, and I let myself indulge on those occasions. The next day is a new day and I go back to my healthy way of eating. My weight might be up for a day or 2, but it will slowly come back down with a conscious effort of eating quality foods.

    • Tina says:

      On a bright side – I didn’t worry about weight or anything until the new year after M. i tried to workout regularly at light to moderate intensity after 6 weeks and that was about it. Ate whatever. And I still was in teh best shape of my life by 9 months post-partum with her. 😉

  40. You’ve got this! You can totally do this Tina 🙂 Last year was the first year I was able to maintain over the holidays and as I’m sitting here trying to think about “how” to share something insightful I can’t really think of anything. Just continuing with my normal routine of workouts and eating healthy at mostly every meal (with of course the splurges for the holiday ones), somehow my body did it’s thing and maintained. I think that goes to show how just a few days (thanksgiving, christmas eve, xmas, new years, etc..) don’t derail a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy your holidays and treat the rest of the days like they are just another day 🙂
    PS-the last picture of you I think tells it all. You look so happy & confident that I think you’ll have no problem this year 🙂

  41. Tina, thank you for sharing this. The holidays are hard for me too and many, many other people. I find its best to tell the people I’m around the most (like my boyfriend) about my behavior goals and then try and stick to them with their support. It can be tricky. Don’t beat yourself up when you indulge, enjoy! Try to make one healthy decision after another and know that indulging is a healthy decision when done in moderation. I know you can do this. I can hear it in your words. Best of luck girl.

  42. teresa says:

    You can totally do this!!!
    I love this post. You really do share from your heart and soul and it comes through.
    I totally understand the fear. It makes sense after struggling for so long.
    I also love that you refuse to miss out on the “party”. Those special treats are so integral for some of us. Such sweet memories.
    Even though I’m still trying to lose a lot of weight I decided the same thing.
    The mistake I’ve always made is “trying” to be losing weight and then I fail and give up and gain.
    This year, I’m going to spend December maintaining. I’m going to work out hard and enjoy some holiday foods. I’m not going to be obsessed with NOT eating.
    You can do this adn I’m sure you’ll share your great time.

  43. You can do it Tina! You are such an inspiration and I have faith in you 🙂 Although, I can also relate to what you wrote because I still sometimes doubt myself too. When that happens I just remind myself of how strong I am and how much I’ve accomplished. I hope you don’t stress out too much over the holidays!

  44. I am struggling with something very similar! I have to take my wedding gown to be fitted in January, which means if I want to lose any pre-wedding weight, I am going to have to be doing it over the holiday season. Plus, it is too cold and dark to run outside then! I’m scared. My first step is to buy a treadmill, and then I guess my other solution is to just eat really clean for the most part so that I can allow myself some treats every so often!

  45. I think it’s realistic to gain some weight over the holidays..and by ‘some’ I’m thinking about 5 lbs. I call this surface weight — it’s pretty easy to get off once the temptations are removed. It would be so hard to pass up the seasonal goodies. What *does* work is not continuously grazing on them, sharing them with family/friends/coworkers, and keeping up the same rigor of exercise.

    You can do it!

  46. Kyra says:

    Maintaining over the holidays is tough! I’m in my 3rd year of law school so with final exams even the few weeks leading up to Christmas/New Years are really hard. During that time I completely stop weighing myself. I still try to work out most days and eat healthfully, but for that month or so, school has to come first and I try not to stress if I gain a few pounds.

  47. Hilary says:

    I am right there with you. I SUCK at maintaining the holidays, no matter how hard I try…it’s so easy to “just have one thing”, then one more, then one more, then before I know it, I give in to holiday mode and start the new year with tighter pants. But at the same time, I know if I deprive myself, I end up feeling SUPER grumpy! The only slight advantage I have on you is that Canadian Thanksgiving is at the beginning of October, so it’s already come and gone and all that eating is spaced out a bit more.

  48. Jess says:

    I actually started to worry a wee bit about the holidays too – with this new lifestyle that I’ve created for my life in the past five months, I’m determined NOT to let self-doubt get in the way of the progress I’ve made towards a healthier, more balanced, more consistent lifestyle. Like you said, it’s about trusting yourself. You’ve worked hard to get to a better place mentally and phsyically, you can TOTALLY conquer the holidays without undoing all of that hard work. But that doesn’t equate to deprivation either – just like in everything, its about making healthy choices, and choosing your battles (one special treat at the holiday party, not 4 or 5…), which you’ve proven you can do and can do very consistently and smartly! You got this Ms. Tina! You do!

  49. Heather says:

    I hear ya girl! Last winter I was training for a full marathon so my excuse was “I just ran 18 miles, I can eat what i want the holiday season!” and thats just what i did! ug. excuses.

  50. if you figure out this mystery. let me know. I suck balls at it.

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