The holiday stress has slowly been creeping up on you. It started just before Halloween with the appearance of the red cups at Starbucks. It began to build Thanksgiving Eve as you roamed the grocery store for the ingredients for a new gluten free stuffing recipe. (Which you thought was delicious, but no one else touched.) Looking at your schedule in December, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed. You find yourself struggling with some critical decisions.

You can say NO to the neighborhood cookie party and Nana’s peanut butter fudge, leaving you feeling so cheated and grumpy watching It’s A Wonderful Life that you mindlessly eat ALL the cocoa dusted almonds.


You can say YES to some time with friends over coloring books, macrons and a pot of chocolate hazelnut dessert tea and enjoy a nibble of fudge on Christmas Eve.

You can say NO to sleep because you’re trying to workout in the morning instead of after work since your evenings are being taken over by the office Christmas party (times two), holiday programs at school and your Aunt Edna’s ornament exchange.


You can say YES to shorter workouts at home so you can still make one office party (your husband never really wants to go to his anyway), do a little Christmas shopping for the local women’s shelter and pop in for one cup of hot cocoa at Aunt Edna’s.

You can say NO to your mother’s Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, trying to enjoy your cauliflower mash and skinny pumpkin pie while everyone else looks blissful from the comfort food classics.


You can say YES to one day of memories and traditions knowing that tomorrow you can enjoy your eggs and oats followed by a kettlebell workout. You can mindfully indulge without guilt.

I used to say NO to many of those same things. No one ever ate my low sugar peanut butter cookies. I tried to do it all, be everywhere. I would be so stressed out by Christmas Day that I might end up eating my own weight in deviled eggs and cheese. By January 1 I would be in need of a serious “reset” so I could once again fit comfortably in my jeans. I never enjoyed the holidays, I survived them.

A few years ago, my priorities started to shift. My eyes opened a bit as I got a bit older and a bit wiser. I valued my sanity more and how things appeared to others less. I got comfortable saying NO to different things if that meant I could say YES to the things that really matter. That’s The Middle Ground.

You can approach the Christmas season in survival mode struggling with guilt and the overload of it all, feeling defeated and frustrated on January 1. Or you can try the Middle Ground and letting go of holiday guilt. The Middle Ground is where you actually get to enjoy friends, family and traditions, find joy in giving (to yourself and others) and see January 1 as just another step in your journey to health and fitness.

The Middle Ground is the place where real fitness happens. It’s the real world we live in. There is no room for guilt and no one to answer to but ourselves. I want you to join me there this holiday season. My goal is to help you keep it simple, keep it real, keep it active and keep your sanity. Between now and the end of the year, the posts will about ways to make the holidays fun and fit. You’ll be safe in the knowledge that maintaining your progress is a great goal. You’ll still stick to the 4 Keys to Real Fitness while allowing yourself to be a part of the holiday season. Instead of 80/20, maybe it’s more 70/30 till January.

If you want to continue to pursue your fat loss goals in December, that’s great! Keep pushing if that is what YOU want. It’s your journey and you decide. Just know that if your goal is to maintain, stay strong and stay consistent that is wonderful too. For all the women out there who don’t want to simply survive the holidays – here is your mantra:

I live in the Middle Ground.

The pace of my journey is my own.

I will say NO to some things,

so I can say YES to myself and those I love.

Start today saying it daily. Tell me, what are you going to say NO to and what will that allow you to say YES to?

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