The Sweet Demise of Holiday Habits


Do you suffer from sugar-induced handshaking, headaches, bloating, stomachaches, or self-criticism? If so, you might have Candicitis (Can-dis-eye-tis), a very serious, yet all too real condition caused by the excessive consumption of sweets. Candicitis is a very common condition, and can be treated over time with consistent exercise and will power.

Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s get to the heart of the matter. If you are like me, you likely suffered (or are currently suffering from) Candicitis at some point during the Holiday season. The worst part of Candicitis is that it is not just a condition, but a cycle. You want to be festive, so you bake some Christmas cookies. You have to, otherwise you’re basically the grinch! So, as you amp up your holiday spirit by tossing some extra sugar into the dough, you just HAVE to taste test it; I mean, what if it tastes terrible? It is your job, no….your duty, to make sure the good citizens of your household are eating TASTY Christmas cookies, not just the average! So, after the dough sampling, you roll it out, and begin to flatten it, but some of it sticks to the roller! Horror of all horrors! You can’t have a sticky dough! So you eat some more, and analyze how much more flour you should add to the mix, and then you test it again, you know, just to make sure that it’s not too dry. Don’t even get me started on eating the scraps from each cookie you punch, or devouring each misshapen gingerbread guy. Then there’s the frosting….okay, okay, you get the point. Around the holidays, our relationship with junk food becomes a vicious cycle, like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” (ps, how fitting is it that the title contains the word “cookie”? Author Laura Numeroff had it together…she’s like the hipster of Candicitis…she wrote about it before it was popular).

So how do we cease this dreadful condition that is sweeping the nation (or…at least my household)? Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, your Candicitis survival guide:

1. Clear the Area

Today, my mother took her first brave steps toward defeating Candicitis, tossing every remaining sweet into the trash. Let me tell you, that is a bold move for a woman of Dutch descent (I apologize to anyone who does not live in my West Michigan bubble, and therefore does not understand my attempt at a Dutch joke). I’m pretty positive that people were pawning off their leftover sweets to us, disguised as Christmas gifts. Isn’t it mysterious how plates and plates of treats start appearing at your door the days lingering after Christmas? I’m calling it. If you know you are not going to eat the rest of your sweets, you can bring them to someone who will truly appreciate them, or you can throw them out. No, I’m not encouraging you to participate in the sneaky Candicitis ring by pawning off your sweets on others, but if you know of someone who will truly enjoy them without suffering from the effects of Candicitis, then go ahead and share! If you aren’t going to share, then throw them away. Would you rather see those sweets in your trashcan, or on your waistline?

2. Lace up

I’m sure at least a small fraction of the population tore the colorful wrapping paper off a glorious box of Nike sneakers (in anticipation of kickstarting a new year’s resolution). That time that you otherwise spend Facebook stalking family-no-so-friends posing with their surplus of gifts by the tree could be swapped for a trip to the gym. Get active! Get out there! Grab one of your friends and take a walk instead of talking over a dangerously high-calorie Starbucks cappuccino (Yes, I know the red holiday cups are beautiful and enticing, but it doesn’t outweigh the consequences). Personally, I like morning workouts, because you get it out of the way, and the endorphins are a good way to start your morning (sort of like a healthier alternative to your basic morning cup of coffee). Morning workouts are also a great way to spark your motivation to be healthy. If you have already gotten in a healthy mindset in the morning, it will be easier to maintain throughout the rest of the day. It’s like this: If you’re wearing a little black dress, you don’t cuddle with your fluffy white cat who is prone to shed; in the same way, if you’ve worked out, you don’t feel as inclined to binge on what you know will add a mess to your efforts to look and feel fabulous. Okay…that analogy made so much more sense in my head, but you probably get the point.

3. Befriend the machinery 

If you have access to a gym, or a treadmill, or any piece of machinery that calculates the amount of calories you have you were exercising on it, take advantage of it! If you experience the sweat, exhaustion, and time it takes to burn off those calories on the elliptical, you will be much more likely to pass on the donut. If you read the nutrition facts on some of the junk food you might be tempted to put in your body, you will be more more inclined to turn your back on it if you can remember how many minutes of sweating and panting it would cost you on the treadmill to burn it off.

4. Have an accountability partner

Candicitis is hard to halt on your own terms, so try finding someone else who is in a similar boat. My mom and I both agreed that we had to stop or sugar problem, so we printed out some healthy recipes, and started to share our candy-boycotting strategy. I am much less likely to sprint to my stocking stash of candies if I know my mom will be raising a skeptical eyebrow at me. It really helps when you have someone who is there to keep you on track.

5. Blogilates

If you haven’t yet discovered Blogilates, DO IT. NOW. Go download the app to find tons of fun workouts and healthy alternatives to sweets. Workouts and meal plans are carefully tailored by Cassey Ho, a spunky and upbeat fitness guru who does all of the workouts with you, and encourages you to keep going while you hatefully stare at your computer screen wishing for her abs without having to work for them. Blogilates is fabulous, and even has an online community of many people working to achieve a happier and healthier lifestyle. Oh yeah, and the best part? It’s free (I know the Dutch members of my audience are now cheering wildly). Here’s the link, so you can’t make any excuses about it being too much work to find the website. CLICK IT! Now. Please.

6. Tea

Tea one of my secret weapons. My sidekick. My bestie. Green tea is a great hot drink that can be substituted for hot chocolate or frothy lattes. Not only does it have a grand calorie total of zero, but it also boost the metabolism! Drink up!

7. Brush after meals

One of the best ways to stop picking at the puppy chow on the counter is to brush your teeth! The overpowering minty-fresh tingle rarely blends well with any food, so you will be much less likely to find yourself with one hand mysteriously submerged in a bowl of M&Ms 20 minutes after dinner.

8. Swap your sweets

Blogilates is my go-to for this. Instead of eating a large bowl of fat-heavy ice-cream, I can go to Cassey’s app and find a recipe for an all-natural and healthy large bowl of “ice-cream”. Even if it doesn’t taste quite the same, your conscience will thank you. I guarantee it.

9. Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s really easy to get down on yourself when you slip off the health wagon, but criticizing yourself will NEVER take you anywhere besides back to your stocking searching for candy to comfort you, because candy is kind…candy doesn’t care if you live in yoga pants for the elastic waist bands…candy understands. Stop searching for flaws and treat your body the way it deserves. If you have a high self-concept, you’ll be much more motivated to take care of your body (with exercise, clean eating, etc.), because you know that’s what it deserves. Think about all the amazing things your body is able to do, and you will find yourself wanting to care for it to the best of your ability. If you have a beautiful and faithful car, you don’t want to drive it in a way that could pop a tire or chip the paint! You want to keep that car in the best condition possible, so you treat it right. Disclaimer, no feminists can jump at me for using the analogy of a car/object to the human body, because this analogy pertains to both males and females. Think highly of your body, and care for it highly!

10. Stick with it

Results don’t start right away, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t look toned and fabulous shortly after bringing in the new year. Have you ever noticed that the week after New Year’s Day, the gym is totally PACKED? When I walk into Calvin College’s gym during my “usual” gym times, the gym has double the people! It’s practically overflowing! I can barely find an open elliptical! There are so many more people who are there to witness my pathetic struggle to lift weights that are not heavy enough to be considered challenging. The audience observing me in a socially unacceptable state dramatically increases; it’s a recipe for fitness stage fright! But slowly, the crowd dwindles back down to the regulars as the shiny novelty of New Year’s resolutions begin to fizzle. Stick with it! Keep going, and remember that you’re doing it for your health, and not for the brief “in the moment” effort to create a New Year’s resolution. You’ll be so happy you stayed consistent, even if it’s not ideal at the time! I love trending Pinterest saying that states, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”. If Queen Bey can be a singer, dancer, wife, mother, model, the epitome of perfection, etc….I can surely carve 30 minutes out of my day to squeeze in a date with the gym.

So there you have it; your prescription to tackle Candicitis.

Holiday Blessings!



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