It’s OK To Indulge During The Holidays

Last night after work I attempted to get some quality Christmas shopping taken care of. I headed to the Columbus Circle Holiday Markets, which is one of my favorite city spots this time of year.

So many vendors! So many sparkly things!

(Hint to city shoppers: The Columbus Circle shops are usually far less crowded than the Union Square ones and they have all the same vendors!)

I managed to snag some gifts for my brother, my sister-in-law and my mom. I swear at one point I swiped my debit card and I heard it make a little crying sound. But that’s OK — the city was gorgeous last night.

The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Building. I love the big stars.

Here are some more pictures of the stars that change color:

This is the view from the ground floor. Look at all those colors. Magnificent, I say!
Ohhhh orange stars as seen from the third floor! Very nice. Very nice indeed.

I sampled every piece of chocolate a vendor was willing to throw my way, because I’m a sucker for candy from strangers. My parents raised me right.

When I got home, I made a massive grilled cheese sandwich with all that leftover gouda from Sunday’s 19 hour brunch. It was the best grilled cheese of my life.

And then I was full.

But I ate a cupcake anyway.

I went to bed feeling full.

I woke up still feeling full.

I expected to feel better after a lovely 6-mile morning run, but when it was time to get dressed afterward I just wanted to come to work in sweatpants. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t.)

But here’s the thing: It’s the holiday season. We are all bound to indulge, and if we beat ourselves up about it, that takes all the fun away. Yeah, my jeans feel a little tighter than normal today. I’ve pretty much been eating nonstop lately and finding a million reasons to justify my constant need for a handful of brownies.

However, if I read one more article or blog post about “How Not to Gain Weight During the Holidays” or “Why You Should Only Indulge in Moderation,” I’m going to scream.

You know why? Because Christmas cookies are delicious, and I only really eat 20 of them in a sitting on one occasion every year.

My mom likes baking cookies and I like eating them. Leftovers? Not in this house.

When I head home for Christmas, I’m not going to be like, “Sorry Mom, I know you baked all this chocolate melty stuff, and it looks good and all, but I’m rocking moderation right now. Can I have some baby carrots for dessert instead of those fresh-from-the-oven cookies?”

Ryan likes the M&M cookies best.

I will have the baby carrots and the warm cookies.

At this time every year, I eat a little more than usual. I eat total crap all day long and I rarely turn down treats. I drink more than normal and I may work out a little bit less because I’m running around like an elf trying to get things done.

So people, please stop beating yourselves up if you can’t zip your pants today. Trust me, mine are tighter than they were a few weeks ago, too. It happens. Plus, that’s what Pajama Jeans are for, right?

I know that once the holidays are over, I’ll be back on track. My jeans will fit better again and I probably won’t go through 15 sugar crashes every afternoon.

For now though, I’m enjoying every brownie, cookie or cheese-covered vegetable that comes my way. I’ll keep running when I can and I’ll inevitably also devour tons of clementines when I’m home (they’re my favorite).

My plea to you is to enjoy the holiday season and all of the delicious foods that come with it, and please don’t beat yourself up over that extra cookie or midnight Death by Chocolate snack.

Because Death by Chocolate is so freakin’ good, and you can always just unbutton the top button of your pants. I won’t judge you.

NOW TELL ME: What’s your favorite holiday indulgence? Chocolate? Wine in a solo cup? Ladle-fuls of gravy? All of the above?



0 Responses

  1. Thank heavens for you my friend! You said exactly how I’m feeling. Enjoy when you can, then just get back on track afrterwards. My fav is deffinitly the cookies…and maybe some honey baked ham.

  2. AMEN to that!! I too am fed up of hearing all of the veggie talk. I love my veggies. I love my healthy food. I enjoy eating boring steamed veggies and grilled chicken, I genuinely do. But Christmas is a time for getting pissed and eating sugary snacks, turkey and bacon until you explode and long may it bloody continue.

  3. Thanks for posting this! Really encourages you to enjoy it, and move on, because it really does only come once a year! I’ll pig out for a few days during Christmas, because theres always next week to get back on track

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I am so glad to finally read a blog that says eat what you want… its Christmas! It only happens once a year people, it will be okay!
    Thanks again!

  5. I also totally agree. Yesterday (the day you posted this) I had a rubbish day so ate chocolate brownies for dinner, with red wine. Nothing else. It was heaven and made me so happy. I am so glad to read something about just enjoying all the Christmas food….great post!

  6. I 100% agree with you on this one. Matter of fact, I treated myself to a cookie this morning after a treacherous drive in the snow to the office. It was my “glad-I-made-it-to-work-safe-treat” Totally normal, right?

  7. I love this!! I totally agree with you!! I am not going to starve myself on good food because others tell me not to eat it!

  8. Thanks for writing this! 75% of my diet is cookies right now, but I’m still planning to take my parents dog running every day I am home including Christmas! Balance? No? We’ll make up for it later…

  9. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! I love following my running/ healthy living blogs…but sometimes you just have to ENJOY!! And what better time than Christmas 🙂 I can’t even bring myself to read a few of them lately…I just want to say “Cut loose and eat already!!”

  10. The timing on this post couldn’t be better. My friend and I had our cookie baking extravaganza on Sunday and every day since then has included 5+ (ok more like 8-10) cookies. I said to myself- today, no cookies- but then ended up eating a handful after dinner. I was just about to go down the self-criticism path about this when I read your post. You’re right! I eat healthy all the time, a few days featuring delicious cookies is nothing to feel bad about. Thanks, Ali!

  11. A. Freaking. Men.

    I’ve been eating Christmas cookies/fudge/brownies pretty much non-stop for the last week. It’s ok, though. I’m on break next week and can totally rock sweatpants for eight days with no one to judge me. Win-win, really.

  12. I went to the Columbus Circle holiday shops last week! Love it. I’ve also been indulging (without any guilt whatsoever) in all the treats my Mom has been making since I got home. Including a little candy made entirely of powdered sugar, frosting mix, vanilla, and corn syrup. Yep, that’s it. Sooo sugary and delicious.

  13. Running indoor track is so suited to the holiday lifestyle: you don’t have to be crazy skinny to race a mile, and sugar is the proper fuel for interval training. You should come to the Armory and race this winter. 🙂 (That said, as I don’t typically eat a lot of sugar, I kind of have to exercise moderation or I just don’t sleep at night… maybe I’ll do what my brother does and have the dessert foods for breakfast!).

  14. i soooo agree with this post! after i remind myself that i dont eat like this everyday I get over it pretty quickly! and all the delicious holiday food doesn’t come around all the time, you need to cherish in (in your belly!)

  15. Thank you for reminding me that in 48 hours I will be at my in-laws’ house EATING ALL THE COOKIES. I can’t wait! My other favorite holiday indulgence is having a beer or three with my brothers- and sisters-in-law; it’s one of the few times we really get to catch up.

  16. This is probably one of my favorite posts of yours!!
    I definitely had wine in a solo cup on Saturday, it was WAY better than I anticipated. I love anything with frosting on top and I could bake all day everyday as long as I can sample the batter along the way. Quality control is a MUST! And yes my jeans are a bit tighter – tis the season to indulge. 🙂

  17. For some reason I thought you said you ate 20 brownies at one time which I thought was impressive. 🙂

    I think you can indulge and still eat in moderation… that’s my plan. I don’t want to end the holidays feeling like I missed out on everything good but I definitely want to end the holidays not feeling like I’ve ruined all the hard work I’ve done. That’s just me and everyone can, and should, proceed through the holidays they way they want to.

  18. Pie, any and all kinds of pie.

    I think the key to indulging is also eating real treats. Not low sugar, bean filled cookies but cookies made with white flour and white sugar. I swear I find it actually satiates a craving when I eat one full fat version of something as opposed to five low-cal knock-offs,

  19. This is such a great post. Its hard enough as it is on a day to day basis to be really good, but on the holidays? It doubles! The last thing I want on the holidays is to feel guilty over what I have eaten. Its a good time to practice forgiveness. Its Christmas! What’s wrong with a cookie or two! I love to bake at Christmas, and I want to try everything! Thanks again for the post!

  20. Yes yes yes!!! I’ve eaten cookies for breakfast all week, and I don’t care! The holidays are a time to indulge to the fullest! Simply a few days of eating a lot of sweets doesn’t make us completely unhealthy. Thank you for posting this!

  21. Love this! Everyone needs to lighten up around the holidays (and stop worry about trying to physically lighten up). Indulge, then get back to your regularly scheduled routine post-new years.

    Favorite indulgence? Enough dinner rolls and butter for a small country. And lots and lots of wine. And pie. And mashed potatoes. Ok I’m done!

  22. Found out I had a stress fracture because I couldn’t run my turkey trot on Thanksgiving. It’s been a bad month for my waistline with no running but still indulging :-/ Ah, well I’ll have to work extra hard in January 🙂 I personally love my mom’s breakfast sausage casserole for Christmas.

  23. My mom and I made six dozen sugar cookies with super colorful icing (all from scratch) last night. I probably ate a dozen in the process! Homemade goodies are my favorite, and I just can’t help eating bunches of them.

  24. Thank you Ali for posting this! Finally — a woman with a head on her shoulders when it comes to the whole “don’t overindulge” thing! We are all so focused on running times, and health, and exercise all year round, we deserve to have a cookie or two that someone slaved over when they come our way. Eat the cookie – you won’t get fat from just 1 or 10. Drink the eggnog – with booze – it’s good for the soul. Enjoy yummy food, because no one wants to have food guilt ruin their memory of holiday family time.

  25. THANK YOU for this post. gosh, i was going to scream too if i read another post about how to eat healthy during the holidays. we all KNOW how to eat healthy- but we choose not to, and that’s fine, because (as you said) why woudlnt you want to indulge in freshly baked cookies once a year?!

  26. Great post! I fully agree. I have bought tons of dresses to wear with leggings this fall and now it’s time to wear them exclusively.

  27. My favorite indulgence is Christmas Eve with my parents. It’s a yearly tradition. We break out the champagne, wine and tons of great appetizers to snack on including cheese, crackers, breads, olives, cured meats, cheese spreads, etc. It’s such a fun evening filled with eating, drinking and lots of conversation. Although, I feel like I’m constantly treating myself to something, no matter the occasion.

  28. Can I just say THANK YOU. I’m so sick of the “Eat Right this Holiday! Skip the chocolate martini! Have a piece of fruit instead of a cookie! There’s no need to sample every single dessert on the table.” Yes there is. There is EVERY need to sample every single dessert on the table and then go back for seconds and thirds on the best ones.

    I agree with you whole heartedly. The only fruit I’m eating are clementines and chocolate covered strawberries…because they TASTE good. Not because they’re healthy. Shouldn’t fitness magazines be promoting moderation year round? So that you don’t have to eat in moderation during the one time of year that you really aren’t supposed to??

    Thank you. I enjoyed this post =)

  29. Right On, Ali!
    It’s not just the blogoshere, if I hear the word “splurge” used in reference to calories versus spending $$ on great jeans or running shoes I am going to freak out. Yes, I get it they are called “treats”…so let’s enjoy them instead of refer to them with loaded words. Nobody needs to feel guilty.
    Everything in moderation, even moderation :o)

  30. Love this post! Yesterday was “casual day” at the office and I had to wear leggings because my jeans are just too uncomfortably tight. My holiday strategy involves a lot of shortbread and to buy myself some new skinny-fat-jeans on Boxing Day.

  31. I love this post! These days, my “holiday” indulgences include eating Mexican food as much as humanly possible, since I go home to Oklahoma for Christmas and there are just too many good Mexican restaurants. Combine that with the Christmas turkey and sides, and I’m usually a bit chubbier going into the New Year. 🙂

  32. Please expect your Christmas gift of Pajama Jeans from me to arrive soon. I’ll be delivering it in a Snuggie.

    P.S. Why have I never been to that shop?!?! I feel like I need to come to NY again so I can do all of the non-touristy things!

  33. LOVE this post! Have been doing a lot of baking myself as want my family to have lots of christmassy treats (and of course we need cookies to leave for Santa). Problem is I’ve been eating a lot of it too! You are so right though. Why deny yourself? I feel like when I identify my eating habits as ‘bad’ I’m likely to feel bad (and then eat more to feel better), so why even go there? I know that when I’m running regularly my weight is stable and I feel strong, so it doesn’t take much to get back on track. Now, if only my ITB would let me get my mileage up….. until then, I’ll bake some more cookies!

  34. While I do enjoy all the desserts this time of year, it is the alcohol that I really go crazy with. I rarely drink, but when I go home someone is always handing me a glass of something expensive. How could I turn that down?

  35. Russian tea cookies and these date pinwheel cookies. Can’t get enough and I never feel guilty if my daily caloric intake consists of those two items. 🙂

  36. This is why I don’t wear jeans. Leggings + dress + boots = much more forgiving outfit. My favorite indulgence is my husband’s homemade egg nog (his Dad’s recipe). Before I met him I didn’t realize you could even make homemade egg nog. I don’t know where I thought it came from, it just didn’t dawn on me that you could make it yourself and it would taste a million times better. (I also didn’t know garlic salt existed before we started dating. Now it is a staple right there with salt and pepper.)

  37. I could not agree with you more – I’m writing a post about this too because all of this “fill up on veggies so you don’t eat holiday treats because they have CALORIES” drives me BANANAS. Freaking enjoy yourself, dammit. My favorite holiday treats are definitely cookies. My grandma makes a million different kinds and I usually eat them for breakfast and lunch for a good couple of days.

  38. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. More true words could not have been spoken at a better time! And I needed to hear them. I am going home in a few days and plan to indulge in coffee cake for breakfast on Christmas morning and LOVE it!

  39. THANK YOU. I am so over all the blogs with tips straight out of Marie Claire and Glamour about having some protein before going to a party and then eating one tiny treat and lots of veggies (like that sounds fun), or having one cocktail and then switching to seltzer. BORING. It might be wrong to skip dinner and then indulge in lots of champagne and tasty once-a-year treats, but if it is, I don’t want to be right.

  40. My weakness is anything with sugar and butter. It always has been. I would be perfectly happy eating salad every day for dinner, but only if dessert involves a towering bowl of ice cream and cookies and cake with hot fudge on top. I make these triple chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies for the holidays every year and they are delicious and I eat 10 a day. It’s a wonderful time.

  41. Thanks for this. I killed the cookies the nurse at work brought me yesterday and beat myself up when I couldn’t make it to the gym last night. Good reminder to myself that it is OK!

  42. While I am guilty of the ‘everything in moderation’ post, you do raise a great point. You go home, you see your family, you see once-a-year baked treats, you should enjoy them. Absolutely agree. I am doing a cookie making party on Friday with my sis and we are most certainly eating cookies for lunch. It’s sort of a tradition. No, I won’t eat my face off, but I will enjoy the homemade goodness around me and plenty of wine. 🙂

  43. This is awesome. I’m glad someone else shares my thoughts on Christmas moderation! And because it is winter, I hide in sweaters and leggings anyway… but I also kick ass in spin and other random classes in the winter when I don’t run outside, so i like to think it all evens out! I also like to think that eating cookies is motivation to run and workout. 🙂

    And fav indulgence is chocolate peppermint bark… aaaaaand pinot grigio.

  44. Love this! Amen to not rockin moderation during the holidays!! Wine and chocolate for sure. Also.. morning drinking is totally acceptable..

  45. AMEN. I feel like I have not enjoyed so many moments during the holidays because of the preoccupation with indulging/weight gain/blah blah blah…and you are absolutely right- its ok! you run your ass off for that reason and so do i. i love christmas cookies and i’m only gonna live once 🙂

  46. Christmas calories don’t count. 😉 At least that’s what I tell myself.

    My indulgence during the holidays is vino. Yummy vino. You can have the cookies honestly, I’ll take your wine. 🙂

  47. Love this. It’s all about your mindset, really. The people that don’t indulge once in a while are usually the ones who go off the deep end and end up so off track. I love it all. I especially love cookies though. And everything peppermint

  48. I read this while eating Christmas cookies for breakfast, completely guilt-free. Amen to indulging this time of year! There is nothing jolly or festive about destructive self-criticism. Plus, it’s just plain rude to turn down a homemade cookie.

  49. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I love every bit about Christmas time and plan to enjoy every bit of it, sweets and spirits included! And to answer your question, I would have to go with all of the above!

  50. i’ve had an orange on my desk for at least a week, but we have gotten so many things that i would rather eat instead – godiva chocolates, popcorn tins, pumpkin pie brownies, cookies…you name the baked treat, i have eaten it. i wish i could wash it down with wine at work, but alas, that is frowned upon.

  51. I don’t even know if I have a favorite. I just know that all food at Christmas is AWESOME. Ooh – wait, I do have a favorite. My cousin makes chocolate covered pretzels at Christmas. I am seeing her tonight. I will have many chocolate covered pretzels tonight, it’s a law.

  52. I ‘ve worked out in a week due to a stomach bug and I’ve still managed to eat chocolate. Don’t know how that works, but I chalk it up to Christmas and I’m not mad

  53. Good timing of this post. I had to take off the jeans I was originally going to wear today for that exact reason. You’re right, things will go back to normal after! My holiday weakness is any food at all that is sitting out for the taking. Doesn’t matter what it is.

  54. It’s nice to know that someone else can eat twenty cookies in one sitting as I can. I don’t know what it is about Christmas Day, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will NEVER feel full from eating too much dessert. Thanks for making me feel better about my cookie addiction, Ali 🙂

  55. 1) I love how saw that 1 granny smith apple looks in the middle of the counter of cookies
    2) WOO-WOO’s! (what do they do out there??)
    3) t-3 days until total indulgence
    4) I hope bump doesn’t indulge in eating it’s boogers

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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