Six Tips for a Holly, Jolly and Healthy Christmas

By DiAnnMills @DiAnnMills

Guest post by Ginny Dent Brant

The one thing I dread about the holiday season is the unending temptations that dance around me for almost a month. It’s hard to say no. By the time the holidays are over, added pounds are weighing me down. My blood sugar tanks, depression sets in, and I don’t feel well. Why? My diet veered way out of balance. This cycle repeats itself every holiday season, dashing my hopes of having a holly, jolly, and healthy Christmas.

When I gain weight, my body simply doesn’t work as well. And then there’s the blood sugar problem. I simply can’t handle high carbs. Here’s my plan to not let my diet take me down. The following six tips can help us enjoy all the festivities and food without going over the edge.

Limit your drinks to water, non-caffeinated drinks, and a few cups of coffee.

Consider water to be your main drink of choice and a healing elixir. For warm drinks, consider caffeine free teas and coffees. If you love coffee in the morning, limit your intake to 1-2 cups. Excessive caffeine can contribute to dehydration, depression, and anxiety, and can affect sleep patterns. At night, opt for decaf coffee. Drinking a glass or two of water 30 minutes before a meal or party helps curb your appetite and increases hydration.

Camp out by the fruit, vegetable, and nut trays at parties.

When I first learned about good health with nutrition, I rushed over to the fruit and vegetable table at a wedding and said, “There’s a table rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals.” By filling up with these healing gifts of nature and fiber, I only had room left for a small piece of cake. You can do the same thing at a family meal. Simply eat more plants and less processed foods. Processed foods have been linked with weight gain and a disruption of the neural receptors which affects mood control.

Sweeten your drinks with natural, non-calorie sweeteners.

Sweetening with a natural sweetener with little to no calories, such as stevia or monk fruit, helps to satisfy your sweet tooth. In this way, you’re not adding calories to your waistline with what you drink. 

Use intermittent fasting two to three days per week.

This means after you eat dinner at 6 pm, you don’t eat anything else until about 10 am to 12 noon the next day. Besides the health benefits, this type of fasting promotes weight loss, controls appetite, balances blood sugar, and saves time in the kitchen! Refrain from high carbs late at night before bedtime or by themselves to avoid blood sugar spikes. Too much sugar increases both inflammatory diseases and the risk of depression. After a big feast, I always do intermittent fasting the next day. (Not recommended for diabetics unless your doctor approves.)

Increase your exercise to burn extra calories and elevate mood.

If you normally walk three times a week for one mile a day, it would be wise to increase to five days and up your distance to two miles each day. Losing weight is all about reducing calories and burning them through exercise. Neither my husband nor I gained weight on our cruise around the Baltics. Why? We ate well, but sensibly, and our cell phone app showed that we walked nearly 8 miles per day! It also helped that we took the stairs over the elevator. Although not a cure-all, exercise triggers feel-good chemicals in your brain that help to reduce and alleviate symptoms of depression while burning calories.

Practice the 80/20 rule.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Trying new recipes and eating your favorite goodies is a pleasure indeed. When at home, stress healthy eating (about 80 percent of the time). When attending party and family events, allow you self to splurge in moderation (the 20 percent). Every meal and every day can’t be a splurge!

These six tips helped me to break the cycle that caused me to crash by the end of the Christmas holidays. An occasional treat is okay. My weaknesses are sugar cookies and cheesecake. So, when I’m gifted a plate of sugar cookies or a whole cheesecake, I immediately share with family and friends or freeze leftover servings for later use. I’ve even learned to make a white chocolate cheesecake and a banana cream pie with stevia.

Our goal is to stay healthy and happy while maintaining our weight within our appropriate Body Mass Index (BMI) ranges during the holidays. Our body is God’s gift to us. He created our bodies to heal and repair daily, but we must do the right things for our bodies to work as God intended. We must care for this temple, especially during the holidays. Let our joy this Christmas be centered around His Greatest Gift and not the treats that dance around our heads. By practicing moderation with these six tips, we can have a holly, jolly, and healthy Christmas.

Thank you, Ginny!




Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Chuck Colson endorsed Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released after her journey with cancer and was given a Golden Scrolls Award, named a Selah Award Finalist, and placed Second in the Director’s Choice at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It was written with commentary by an oncologist and was featured on the 700 Club, CTN, TCT, Atlanta Live, and other media. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog at

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A big THANK YOU to those that commented on last week’s blog post. Two winners were randomly selected. Congratulations to Marcia and Carol!