The holidays are upon us. Here come truckloads of cookies, pies, cupcakes, casseroles, cocktails, fudge and ginger bread houses (you know you want to snap some of that roof off). For the weight-conscious, the next six to eight weeks can be rife with anxiety, guilt and self-flagellation. So, I'm here to help!

I'm sure you are expecting a list of tips/tricks to see you through the parties and buffets. Things like "drink water between cocktails," "Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate" or, my favorite, "Munch on fresh vegetable snacks instead of opting for the fat-laden dips and hot cheese appetizers."

Who comes up with that stuff? Seriously, I know I don't do any of that - so there's no way I'm going to throw those out as strategies for you. I'll be perched on a bar stool, drinking from the chocolate fondue-fountain with a straw.

Let's be real. When loved-ones push your emotional buttons (you know they will - they can't help it), do you say "Man, I sure could use a lemon wedge in some fresh spring water?" Heck no. You probably ask "Where's the wine?" When great aunt Gertrude proudly arrives with your favorite pie she made just for you, do you say "Sorry Aunt Gertrude, I'm having fresh fruit for dessert?" Nope. You most likely smile and make a big deal about the trouble she went to as you serve yourself up a slice. When your boss asks for the third time if you're coming to the party (where you know there won't be a healthy food/drink choice in sight), you do like everyone else and say "I wouldn't miss it!"

My point? Life happens. Holidays happen. Family happens.

Part of living a healthy life is doing it right along with everything else that comes your way. Sometimes the best you can do is just be, "eyes wide open" about it all. Know full well that eating Aunt Gertrude's pie will set you back a few hundred calories, or saying "No thank you" will hurt her feelings a little. Going to the office holiday party will put you in temptation's path, but not going will raise an eyebrow with the boss. You get to decide.

Just pick and don't lie to yourself. So when the dust settles around the middle of January and you step on the scale - no matter what it says, it's not a surprise. It just is - and you deal with it.

Now where's my straw?

NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals as well as groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit


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