CornerStone Blog

Month: November 2019

Surviving The Holidays

If you’re like me, you hear the word holidays and you initially get this excited feeling remembering all the great things that the holidays bring – fun music, beautiful decorations, smiles from the kids and a warm, cozy feeling while you spend time with family and friends. 

Warrington Wellness Coach Kim Stone and her family at Cliff Walk in Newport, RI.

Then reality sets in, and you realize it’s not quite the Norman Rockwell moment you have pictured in your head.  Stress and anxiety begin to set in just thinking about everything that needs to get done and the conversation in your head starts to go something like this: 

“Did I actually say that I wanted to host this year?  I must have been on crack when I said that.”

“How many days are left until the new year?  Crap!  I haven’t even started working on my resolutions from THIS year yet.”

“How am I going to stay on track with healthy eating when people keep bringing in such yummy cookies?  I mean I don’t want to be rude and not eat ANY of them with all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making them.  I’ll just have one or maybe two.  Well this third one was stuck to the second so that really only counts as one, right?”

“When am I going to find time to get shopping done let alone workout?  Ugh!”

Trying to juggle it all on a daily basis as a mom is pretty exhausting.  Now,  throw in the chaos of the holidays and I go into straight up survival mode.  This usually means falling back into old habits where exercising and eating healthy fall to the bottom of the priority list, but I am determined that this year will be different.  So how do you manage to survive the holidays and stay on track with your health?

  • Bring Something to the Party – Not only will your host be happy that you’ve brought a delicious dish, but you’ll also have food that can help keep you on track with your health goals. Try this Faux Cookie Dough Dip.  This recipe is a definite crowd pleaser for all ages.
  • Get Plenty of Sleep – Lack of sleep can lead to mood swings, decreased productivity, lowered immune function and sleep shopping (you know when you are so tired and you purchase items online that you have no recollection of actually purchasing the next day like a giant blow up unicorn sprinkler…no regrets). Getting enough sleep each night will ensure that you are your best self for the holidays and also prevent you from biting everyone’s heads off.  Trust me, your family and probably your co-workers will appreciate it.
  • Be Mindful – Did you know that diet and exercise are only 50% of the equation to weight loss? In addition to diet and exercise, you need to make sure you are moving (more on that below) and that you have a positive mindset.  Mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga require no special training or ability and they have been scientifically proven to improve physical health, reduce anxiety and enhance happiness.
  • Keep Moving – It’s great to exercise, but it’s even better to make sure you are staying active and moving throughout the day. What’s the difference?  Exercise is a type of movement with a distinct goal – burn fat, build muscle, get faster, get stronger or train longer.  Movement is just what you do when you are living life.  We are built to move.  Go for a stroll and go shopping at Peddler’s Village, take the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall or simply go for a walk with the dog or your family (whichever one you enjoy more).  Aim for 10,000 steps per day which equals about 2 hours of movement.
  • Give Yourself Grace – Hey, it’s the holidays. It’s crazy for everyone.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Now is not the time to get all judgy on yourself about not having the perfect health routine.  You may indulge a little bit more or your workout routine may be slightly off this season, but don’t stress yourself out.  Chronic stress can actually be harmful to your health and forces your body to pile on fat especially around the middle.  Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace. 
  • Get Support – Are you feeling overwhelmed and need some guidance on your fitness goals? You are not alone on this journey.  We are here to help you.  Make a free appointment with a wellness coach.  That’s what we’re here for – to help support you in your goals towards better health.  You can schedule your appointment at any time by calling your preferred club location.
    Doylestown – 215.794.3700; New Hope – 215.862.2200; Warrington – 215.918.5900

How To Eat Healthy When Dining Out

It is often a challenge to eat healthy when dining out.  As we enter into the holiday season, you may find yourself not only partaking in holiday cheer at home, but dining out more than usual as well.  Americans already dine away from home nearly three times more than they did in the 1970’s and this increases during the holiday season.  I ask clients not be a statistic during the holidays. The average weight gain between Halloween and New Year’s is 7 pounds.  One of the ways you can avoid this and start the New Year off a bit healthier is to practice “dining out techniques” that will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling uncomfortable or unhealthy.

Eat healthy when dining out.

Like anything else, following “healthy” dining out techniques gets easier with practice. See how many you can implement not only during the holiday season, but all year round.

Prepare for success. Pick the restaurant based on your research and know where you can get fresh, healthy, lower calorie, low fat meals.

Look up the menu and nutritional data before you go. Knowing what you are going to order before you get there will help.

If you know you are going out to eat, don’t skip other meals, but eat less to prepare for your restaurant meal. Shakes can be a “decision-free” meal option.

Have a high-fiber snack before you go to curb your hunger. Try something like an apple, carrots, low-sodium vegetable soup, Triscuits.

Decide in advance what you will splurge on and what you can do without.

If you drink alcohol, keep to wine or light beer. No sugary drinks. You may want to skip fruit during the day. Alternate drinks with water or sparkling water.

Put off ordering a drink until you have food in your belly. If you drink on an empty belly, you’re likely to forget about your intentions to eat healthy and rack up 1,000 calories.

Skip the bread and chips. This could be 300-500 calories before you get to your meal.

Share apps. Make sure there is something for you. Try shrimp cocktail, edamame, veggies, mussels marinara.  No potato skins or Buffalo Wings (approx. 200-250 calories/piece)!

Order salad dressing on the side, or just use plain oil and vinegar. Go light on the oil. No Caesar dressing!

Consider ordering off an appetizer and a side dish instead of a full entre.

If you order a main entre, you may need to divide your meal in half (on the plate) immediately. It is extra important to pay attention to serving sizes when eating out.

Split an entrée with a friend or loved one.

Don’t let people push you into eating things that are bad for you. Be proud to be an example of eating healthy. You may encourage someone else.

Main Course – think broiled, boiled, baked, steamed or grilled. Not crispy, sautéed, au gratin or fried.

Remember that the leaner a protein in its natural state, the more calories and fat when fried. No fish-n-chips.

If you are stumped, order grilled protein and a double order of steamed vegetables.

Enjoy your company. People often lose site that they are dining out to enjoy the company of friends and family. Make that the priority instead of your meal. However, you should still order something that you will enjoy. Be satiated by multiple senses – vision, sight and taste.

Opt for fresh berries or fruit salad for dessert. To opt out of dessert, order a warm beverage to keep your hands busy while others enjoy their desserts. You will be less likely to pick at the high calorie, high fat desserts that others have ordered.

Eat healthy when dining out by planning ahead.


Lastly, keep in mind that healthful eating in not about being “perfect”. If you get carried away, hopefully on really good food that you can’t get all of the time, don’t sweat it. One night of over-indulgence won’t rack up lots of pounds. Just be sure to get back on track the next day.

Cheryl Watkins, CHHC, Nutrition & Wellness Counselor, Doylestown.

*Members, did you know that you can schedule a free wellness appointment at any time?  Get fitness and nutrition tips, a review of your current program, a free Inbody Analysis – or just great conversation!  Call or stop by member services at any location to check availability.