Note from Carolyn: For those of you who love the herbal detox drink I share, the Christmas special has been extended until Wednesday, December 18. This precious gift of health, for you and your dear ones, is at CLICK HERE

How are you doing on the Triple Dog Dare Challenge of maintaining your weight this month?  As the food gifts from neighbors arrive and the goodies pile up, we all need as much help as we can! Here are some survival strategies:

At a mid-December Weight Watcher meeting several years ago, a woman who had lost close to 30 pounds with faith. patience and diligence asked a startling question:When you think about it, what has fudge got to do with the Baby Jesus?”

I’ve thought about it ever since, trying to come to terms with all the celebration food that surrounds us in December. That first question has triggered two more that have left me with healthier choices throughout the month. Here’s number two:

Would Jesus have celebrated a birthday, his own or anyone else’s, with fudge?” The answer, of course, is “no,” primarily because the foods, especially the party food and holiday recipes that are such an important part of Christmas for most of us, simply were not available.

Among the foods most likely available in first-century Nazareth would be

Grains: Wheat, Barley, sorghum
Legumes (pulses): lentils, broad beans, chickpeas (pulses were roasted, dried, and used in soups and stews or ground into pastes and purees)
Vegetables: cucumbers, onions, garlic, leeks
Fruits: olives, figs, grapes, melon, pomegranates, dates, (fruit by-products: olive oil, raisins, wine, dried figs, fig cakes, syrup, honey)
Nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds
Spices: cumin, dill, cinnamon, mint, hyssop, mallow, chicory, mustard, coriander, salt
Milk and milk by products: butter, leben,(curdled milk), yogurt, cheese
Meat and related food: eggs, fish (salted), fish by-products (fish brine, fish gravy), lamb, beef (probably quite rare), fowl (chickens, doves)

(For more information, you may be interested in “What Would Jesus Eat” by Dr. Don Colbert.)

But would He have enjoyed our holiday foods as we do if He were with us now? Now that’s another question that I leave for you to ponder! While few of us are in a position to fully adopt His eating plan this month, we are in a position to focus on healthy eating as much as possible each day, and then to be wise as the three wise men when it’s time to celebrate! So here’s the third question:

How and when will I celebrate Christmas with food?”

To take the time to consciously answer this decide makes all the difference in the world!   My own answer is “Anytime and any way I choose, as long as it’s a conscious choice that says to me personally and those I care about (including Heavenly Father) that I am celebrating! Alone in the kitchen, in the middle of the day or night, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed is NOT celebrating and NOT a time for these foods. When I find myself in that situation, the best answer is a quiet prayer, and a cup of soup or something nutritious.”

Here are three more survival tips, along with weight loss Christmas carols to print out and hum to yourself:

1. Get Yourself Some Christmas Pants!

My friend Nancy lost 60 pounds years ago and keeps those pounds in check over the holidays with a pair of red silk pants that she wears to holiday gatherings. Her goal (besides looking beautiful!) is to have them still fit comfortably for New Year’s Eve … and next Christmas. What a great idea!

1. Get a special pair of fitted black slacks with a fitted waist to wear with holiday sweaters and vests at holiday gatherings. That fitted waist is a constant reminder of what you’re all about.

2. Do your belt one or two notches tighter BEFORE you start to eat. When you’re full and let it out, you’re still within a safe place.

Then sing along and get inspired:

Oh, Christmas Pants
(Tune: Oh, Christmas Tree)

Verse 1: Oh, Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

You are my healthy chance

Oh Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

You are my healthy chance

With waistband snug you let me know

To stop when full, so I’ll not grow

Oh Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

You are my healthy chance

Verse 2: Oh Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

You make me stop and review

Oh Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

Just what I will and won’t do

My ugly stretchy pants are gone

It’s fitted slacks from this point on

Oh Christmas pants

My Christmas pants

You make me stop and review.

2. Manage Holiday Parties!

Christmas parties and family gatherings can quickly derail successful healthy eating plans. However, there’s always a choice! Here are some ideas so you won’t have to start your plan again in January:

1. Don’t arrive hungry – eat some fruit or air-popped popcorn before arriving.

2. Be the last one to get to the table. Let it get picked over

3. Carry and drink water before hitting the table and talk more than you eat!

4. Walk around the table before getting your plate to see what looks best

5. Just a taste of most rich holiday foods will do the trick

6. For family gatherings plan in advance for food pushers with responses such as

“I’m so full. Can I take a piece home?” or “No thanks, I’ve had my share. Maybe later.”

7. REMEMBER what it’s all about: the people! You can sidestep the food issue

almost entirely by making it a point to visit with as many people as possible.

At Party Tabletops
(Tune: Up On the House Top)

Verse 1. At party table tops briefly pause

To remember smart health laws

Walk round the table to look and see

Then get your plate and choose care-ful-ly. (Chorus)

CHORUS: Oh-Ho-Ho! What will you choose

Oh-Ho-Ho Will you gain or lo — ose?

At party tables pick-pick-pick

Right amounts of right foods do the trick.

Verse 2. You be the last at each Pot-Luck

That way you won’t run amok.

Just bring a dish that is good for all

From your program you’ll not fall. (Chorus)

Verse 3. Next comes the table with fam-i-ly

Bless this time, eat happily

Just plan ahead what to eat and say

Let them know you’ll eat your way. (Chorus)

3: A Christmas Carol – The Dickens Way!
Remember Christmas Past, and how you felt when January came. Decide to do differently for Christmas Present, and look forward to Christmas Future when you’ve made the most of the coming year for healthy choices:

Angels, We Will Be So Light!

(Tune: Angels We Have Heard on High)

1. Christmas was a time to eat

Something rich and something sweet

Pounds I’d gain, my pants got tight

This year I will do things right. (Chorus)

CHORUS: No —oooo—No — oooooh, No oooooh No thank you

Is what I always say

No — oooo — No — ooooh, No – ooooh, No Thank You

This is how I find my way.

2. Christmas cookies, chocolate fudge

Made for pounds that would not budge

Better foods this year I’ll choose

My weight loss will be the news. (Chorus)

3. Far more fun than food for me

Are clothes that fit and energy

Health and time with those I love

These are gifts from Heav’n above. (Chorus)

Three Great Healthy Holiday Recipes

Low-Fat Eggnog

Combine In a Sauce pan:

4 cups skim milk

12oz. evaporated skim evaporated

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Heat milk, evaporated milk, eggs, and sugar over medium heat about 10 minutes,

until slightly thickened. Do not boil. Stir over a bowl of ice water 2 minutes.

Stir in vanilla; cover and chill 4-24 hours. Add more skim milk if needed to achieve

desired consistency. Top with ground nutmeg just before serving.

Per serving: 99 cal, 1 gm fat.

Christmas Broccoli

2 Cups of Broccoli, broken into bite-sized florets

2 Cups of cauliflower, also broken into bite-sized florets

1 red pepper, cut in thin slices

cup No-Cal Italian Dressing

Makes 8 cup servings at about 40 calories each

Cook vegetables in microwave until just barely tender. Marinate in dressing. Serve cold or hot.

Low-Fat Chex Party Mix

In a measuring cup mix: 2 oz. envelopes Butter Buds, cup water, cup lowsodium

Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp. olive oil, tsp. garlic powder, tsp. seasoned salt.

In a large bowl mix: 5 cups mini pretzels, 4 cups fat free wheat or bran cereal squares

(like Chex) 4 cups bite-size shredded wheat biscuits, 3 cups oyster soup crackers, 2 cups

bite sized Ritz crackers. Add butter mixture. Toss to coat.

On a baking sheet: Spray with baking spray. Spread mix and bake at 300 for 45 minutes,

turning every 15 minutes. Makes 32 cup servings at 118 calories.

May these three questions, tips, songs and recipes be a blessing to you over the next two weeks as we celebrate the true reason for the season. The birth of our Lord and Savior, may (or may not) have a thing to do with fudge, since it’s up to us to create a celebration that will welcome Him into our lives this year.

Merry Christmas!

Don’t forget our Christmas special on our herbal detox!
FREE BONUS with every order through December 18.

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.