Healthy Living with Jilisa Ghareeb: Being Mindful During the Holidays

Happy Holidays!

If you are not in the full swing of things by now, I bet you will be soon!  From getting your tree and decorating to shopping and baking.   Just like every other year Christmas falls on December 25th and it is just as shocking this year as it has been in the past.  How does it sneak up so fast?

Speaking of trees…are you Team Real or Team Life-like?  We are Team Real, and it is a tradition to go pick out the tree the day after Thanksgiving.  No matter the weather; although I prefer it to be cold and snowing, I will take anything over rain.  This year was no exception, we made our way to Postema Tree Farm and after wondering around for a bit settled on a pre-cut beauty.  The only difference this year was that I picked out the tree (that never happens).  For the last 15 years, no matter where we got the tree, we park and as soon as we step out of the vehicle Jason says, “that’s the tree’.  I say “no, we can’t pick the first tree” and proceed to wonder around for an hour (or more) and come back to the tree that he pointed too.  Good Grief! But this year, this year I picked out the tree before he did!!

Through the hustle and bustle of the Holiday busyness, what is the one thing that we tend to forget about most…taking care of ourselves.  We get so busy making plans, planning and prepping meals, shopping, signing and mailing Christmas cards, doing Facetime or Zoom calls (hello 2020), baking all the things and taking care of everyone else that we fail to meet our own needs.  In the middle of all of that, please take a moment to breathe.  If you remember my last article was about meditation.  This is a perfect time to start doing that every day, just 5 or 10 minutes.   Besides meditating, one of the biggest self-care things for me is intentional movement.  30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Whether you are following a program, walking, or running, I encourage you to move as much as you can.  The endorphins that are released help to decrease stress.

Now as much as I would love to show you a whole plethora of moves that you could incorporate into your day, I just don’t have enough space to do that but I will show you one that is great for your quads, thighs and butt. This is called a lateral walk.

  1. Start with your feet together and slightly bend at the knees (like you are going to sit down), hold in that position
  2. Take a step to the right or left and bring your feet together hold for a second and then take another step in the same direction, hold
  3. Now go back the opposite direction for 2 steps

Do this back and forth for at least 30 seconds and up to a minute.  As you progress, you can bend more at the knees (deeper squat position), add a band around your lower thighs and/or hold a dumbbell at your chest.

Another big thing that helps during this time of year is to have some healthy snacks.  I have 2 simple and quick recipes to share with you.  Both taste amazing!

Toasted Nuts and Seeds!

Take any of your favorite nuts:

Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, brazil, macadamia, pistachios, pine, hazelnuts

And any of your favorite seeds:

Pumpkin, chia, flax, sesame, sunflower

Turn the oven on the lowest temperature. Mix all the nuts and seeds on an adequately sized baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast until they are done for you.  That could be 45 mins to an hour and a half.  It depends on how low your oven temperature is.  You do not need to add any oil or seasoning. Once done take out of the oven and let cool completely.  Do not put them in a container if they are warm.  You now have a toasty heathy snack that you can do so much with.  Just grab a handful to eat with a piece of fruit or a bite of cheese. Put on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or salads.  Blend up just a bit and make crusted chicken or fish. They are so universal.

The next is a 3-ingredient cookie. Yes just 3 main ingredients!!  They are healthy for you and they hit the sweet spot.  I found this recipe on Instagram from Lilsipper.

½ cup of nut or seed butter (any you like)

½ cup applesauce (unsweetened and plain)

2-3 scoops protein powder (depending on the size of your scoop. My scoop is about a ¼ cup. Really just add enough powder to make the dough like cookie dough).

Mix all ingredients together.  Next add in a few chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit.  Shape into balls and place on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for 18-20 minutes.   These cookies keep their ball shape so do not wait for them to flatten out.  Let cool and enjoy!

With all that is going on during this season knowing that you have taken some time daily to care for yourself will go a long way in helping you tackle that to do list and take care of your loved ones.  This is true for all year.   Christmas time, for some, is the best time of the year and for others it is the most stressful time of the year.  If you are overwhelmed and stressed please take some time to care for you.  If you notice that someone is stressed find a way that will help relieve that stress.  Above all else please be kind to everyone. Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, remember to say it with a smile on your face and love in your heart!

Merry Christmas!

Jilisa Ghareeb has been a Beachbody coach for 5 years.  Her favorite part of being involved with fitness and nutrition is watching her clients change and open up a whole new world.  As a coach she, is able to help others by introducing them to a change that is often scary, intimidating, and full of “what ifs” to an encouraging and inspirational lifestyle full of “I cans”. She uses her own story to show others that everything is possible with hard work and determination.  If you’re interested in reaching out to Jilisa for more information you can contact her via email ([email protected]), on Instagram ( or Facebook (

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