Put That Cookie Down! Arnold Schwarzenegger

Are you told “Don’t eat the Christmas cookies!”
by your trainer or yourself?


Put That Cookie Down!
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Those kind of restrictions are what sets us back, obsess and binge.

Why I eat real cookies or fresh baked pie during the Holidays.

Or we make S’mores over a roaring fire on a cold night and always on Christmas Eve with some homemade hot cocoa while watching “Polar Express”.


I believe we discussed that last year.

We love traditions in the Beardsell household . . . except the ones my boys (including the DH) have talked me into abandoning over the years.

Often times traditions get punted to the curb i.e. family picture at the Avenue on Christmas Day with Rudolph, etc. . .

However, we kept all the others on Christmas Eve except for we don’t visit the fabulous Christmas lights at the Gaddy’s in Tyrone.

We go to the same 4 neighborhoods every year . . . The homes on the lake; Interlochen; and McIntosh Corners where Santa is every year on Christmas Eve (night).

Those to us are “must see(s)”.

The entire neighborhood of Mc. Corners does it up for Christmas complete with luminaries lining the streets with candles lighting the way. Everyone turns the headlights off when they drive into the neighborhood and drives super slowly looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations.

Every kind of decoration you could imagine:

  • Santa and his reindeer;
  • Frosty the Snowman;
  • Lights that look like “snow on a house”;
  • Every color, shape & size wreath you can imagine;
  • Disney Characters;
  • Traditional Manger Scenes;
  • Small Christmas lights, big Christmas lights, houses that look like they came straight from a movie or commercial.

You name it . . . it’s there!

Followed with Santa at the end with lollipops and a “Merry Christmas to All”.

It seems most the neighborhood gathers at this house on the corner with a faux fire and drinks to keep them warm.

All you see are smiling happy faces and children playing everywhere.


(and elf Jovi playing Scramble)

In hindsight, we’ve keep a lot more traditions than we’ve lost” including the morning of opening presents by a warm fire, Christmas songs playing through the room, followed by a homemade French Toast breakfast.

Any ways . . . moving on . . . if I can remember where I was before I started chasing squirrels.

Oh yeah, you wanted our killer healthy Christmas cookies recipe. First, you must understand that we don’t make our treats low-fat, gluten-free, protein-packed, artificially sweetened, hiding-beets cookies.

We make “our version” of the real thing.

Although we do have a few awesome desserts we make that are healthy and yummy (including pre-workout almond coconut protein bars & chocolate balls – recipes here)


Because we were taught to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”.

The way we teach and the way we live are the same. No “sugar coating” it. (pun intended)

These have become our mantras:

It’s not a diet . . . it’s a lifestyle choice.

Healthy, sustainable lifestyle, enjoying food and not letting food “control us”.

Oh I’ve heard it all . . . “It’s easy for you.” “You don’t have to do much to stay small.” “You have great genetics.”

If that were true, me and my siblings would have never been 20+ lbs overweight. My mom 30+ lbs, and mi Abuela 50+ lbs.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m often “sugar crazed” and that the smallest amount of sugar several days in a row leaves me with a “sugar hangover”.

In the case of Christmas time …

… Making delicious treats.

But before you ask for my killer healthy Christmas cookies or pie recipe, I have a confession:

We don’t make homemade Holiday cookies or candy any more but we do enjoy our pies; S’mores and hot cocoa on Christmas Eve; and homemade French toast on Christmas morning.

We don’t make some low-fat, gluten-free, protein-packed, artificially sweetened, possibly-hiding-beets, “healthy” French toast.

We make the real thing. Well our version of the real thing. Ha!

  • The kind that contains almond/coconut milk, farm fresh eggs, vanilla, sugar; cooked in butter; and then topped with powdered sugar, and thick maple syrup. And let’s not forget that one makes French toast with bread.1537812_997876176895818_7065086191348761045_o-1
  • The kind of French toast that makes you thirsty for a cold, tall glass of milk.
  • The kind of French toast that a lot of “nutrition experts” will give you tips for avoiding.

But not me or the nutrition experts I spend every day with . . . Ben Coomber and John Berardi. They encourage healthy eating which is sustainable for your lifestyle. Hhhhhmmmm

. . . sound familiar?

(Grandpa teaching Lil B how to make the perfect French toast.)

Does that mean go pig out; gain 50 pounds; and be a “couch potato”? Heck No!

So, let’s just dip some Spinach into lemon juice with a splash of stevia and it’s exactly the same thing as eating Holiday treats.

Um, not even close.

When people learn that my family and I sometimes make treats like cookies, S’mores or French toast, … or don’t eat 100 percent protein and vegetables all the time… they get a little confused.

They tease us about being strict while eating good foods and avoiding bad foods.

That’s just a label some experts, who are “not” interested in a sustainable lifestyle, will tell you is the way to live.

Boring and frustrating is what that is.

Therefore, I’m going to encourage you to join us:

  • Enjoy some sort of cookie, pie, “French Toast” this holiday season too.
  • Sing songs, make friends, share, love, play, act like a kid again, and bask in Holiday cheer.

Here’s why.

When people come into fitness they carry their own ideas about what food means. For them, food can be:

  • fuel,
  • reward,
  • punishment,
  • escape,
  • shame,
  • freedom,
  • a way to check in with others,
  • a way to check out from themselves,
  • and more.

But for me through my BTN and PN studies, food has become information.

Food is a story that shapes our daily lives, health, minds, and body function.

When food is information, there is no “good” food or “bad” food. There are only choices.

Every time you choose to eat one thing over another, you’re choosing what’s really important to you right now.

Sure, few of us ever realize that’s what we’re doing.

But every decision is a calculation. It expresses what really matters to you in that particular, that unique, moment.

  • Choices weigh pros and cons.
  • Choices express what’s important to us.
  • Choices have consequences, which we choose to accept.

So, with the Holidays here for most of us, I’m wondering:

What matters to you right now:

  • feeling good?
  • connecting with loved ones?
  • truly nourishing your body?
  • feeding your soul?
  • remembering your heritage or family traditions?
  • taking the edge off a tough round of holiday shopping?
  • surviving a zany family get-together?

You decide your priorities.   . . . not your family, friends or trainer.

And, believe it or not, some times other things should win out over “nutrition”. Yes I said it.  But you know that’s with caution and not if you’re allergic to that food, under doctor’s care, diabetec, etc.


  • trying new things.
  • expanding your “database” of life experiences.
  • unadulterated, un-guilty, un-morally-filtered, straight-up joy and pleasure.
  • the first bite of real shortbread, sharp on the tongue.
  • the first sip of your favorite drink.
  • the first whiff of a holiday dinner cooking in the oven.
  • the first moments after things have calmed down and kids finally conked out and you can lie on the couch, thinking happily about eating the cookies they left out for Santa.

Keeping the holidays real.

You’ll never hear me say you can’t eat a certain food or that you have to feel guilty, ashamed, anxious, or deprived.

Quite the opposite I’m afraid.

Instead, we’re here to:

  • help support you;
  • help you think through the questions;
  • help you choose more consciously, with awareness and intention;
  • help you keep it real.

Have you headr that holiday foods taste better when made with love and shared with friends and family?

Do they really?

Nah, that’s just a story we tell ourselves when we clean our plates, eating food we didn’t want just because we couldn’t stop until we “hit bottom”.

So what to do . . . what to do . . .

How about enjoying some real cookies or pies this Holiday season? Or some other thing you enjoy but previously labeled as “off limits”?

And when you do, try this:

  • Instead of inhaling it, chew your food.
  • Don’t wait for the guilt, savor it.
  • Stay in and enjoy the moment, the food, the taste, the smell, the texture, etc.
  • Choose with purpose.
  • Then move on.

With the right approach, you can enjoy food, connect with others, and be healthy and fit all at the same time. It could happen.


he7tfmq(Angels in the Outfield)

But it’s not always easy.

Even if you . . .

  • are not ready to embrace this mindset because restricting is your only way to feel in control.
  • can’t believe that enjoying certain foods guilt-free is possible.
  • feel stuck in the middle of a nasty cycle of restrict, collapse, shame, repeat.
  • are poking your belly angrily as you read this right now, thinking about the crappy cholesterol test results you just got and muttering,

“Yeah right coach, that’s easy for you to say, because you’re the Fitness type, and I can’t even get to the gym, no time, crazy schedule, kids, extracurricular activities, and I gain weight just looking at sweets.”

Well hold on now . . .

Let’s explore some PN tips regarding what to do next:

  1. Think about what brings you joy over the holidays.

What really fills your tank? What rejuvenates and renews you? See if you can do more of that. It doesn’t have to revolve around food or eating. But it could.


  1. Think about the choices you make, and how you make them.

Remember, it’s not about making the “right” choice like a Good Fitness Person. It’s about making a choice that’s right for you, right now, and being aware of how you got to that decision.


  1. Savor the moments.

Whatever you choose to eat, drink, or do during the holidays: Take the time to “check in”, pay attention, and be present with those things. Make ‘em count.


  1. Reach out.

Strong relationships are an important part of good health. Connect with family and friends, wherever you find them.

1461886_771349086215196_636061823_nHappy Holiday Fielmans !!

  1. Give back.

It’s stressful when your gaze is constantly fixed on yourself, your body, and your food decisions.

So consider how you might be able to share good health and well being with others during this
important time of the year.

So my friends, I hope you and your family enjoy the Holidays including your favorite treats.
Don’t worry. Be happy.


Your Friend and Coach Jessica


Happy Holidays from the Beardsells . . .