I’m doing this little exercise with my hubby and best friend to help keep us accountable for our health choices during the holiday season. I thought it would be good to share it with all of you as well – join in if you like!

Each of us listed ten foods or situations that threaten our healthy lifestyle during the holidays. Some are foods. Some are exercise-related. All of them can easily add up to many extra pounds by the time the holidays are over!

Half the battle, however, is KNOWING which situations are dangerous and naming them! Then you just need a plan and some goals to help get you through the festivities without jeopardizing your health! In our case, we each made a plan for each other so we have someone to be accountable to for our successes and setbacks!

I’m going to be totally transparent here and share my list. You can share your list in the comments or just make your list at home, but I encourage you to actually write it down somewhere!

The foods and situations that cause me the most trouble during the holidays…

1. Party mix – My absolute favorite fall/winter/holiday snack. I will sit and eat it until the whole bowl is gone.
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies – Yummy, fatty heaven.
3. Baking – I bake, therefore I eat.
4. Parties with lots of food – Lots of food = lots of eating.
5. Bread – Once I start, I have a hard time stopping! Carbs are YUMMY!
6. Snacking on car trips – Why do I get so hungry in the car?! I want to eat every 15 minutes!
7. Not drinking enough water – Who wants water when there is coffee and hot chocolate and apple cider and…
8. Too busy to workout – We’re not traveling as much this year as we have in the past, but there is a LOT going on at the holidays and workouts can get pushed way down on the priority list.
9. Fritos – We love Fritos on our chili. And we love to eat the rest of the bag after the chili is gone, too.
10. Candy – What is it about HOLIDAY peanut M&Ms that makes me feel like it’s ok to buy them and keep them in the house and eat them ALL. BY. MY. SELF?!

To be clear, my plan and your plan do not have to include completely cutting out our favorite yummies – unless you don’t think you have the self-control to stick to one serving or whatever your goal is! Party mix is the hardest one for me, but I am going to work on having portioned out in snack-size bags {if I even dare to make it at home} or tiny bowls when I’m at my parents’ house. And only having ONE bag or ONE bowl!

My friend gave me some great goals related to my list, including keeping track of my water drinking and adding an extra 8oz for every cup of coffee I drink! I also think I may skip buying the Fritos altogether and either us baked tortilla chips in my chili or nothing at all!

For an extra incentive, I’m following along with Clare’s Hunger-Free and Healthy Holiday Challenge starting Monday! For 21 days, I’m going to “reward” myself for every healthy choice I make by donating to others in some way! I haven’t decided if it will be monetary or service-oriented, but I’ll firm up those plans before Monday! I hope you’ll join this challenge as well!

What are the holiday health pitfalls you want to avoid this year?