The holiday season can get crazy-busy with all the activities. From gift-finding, gift-wrapping, parties to attend or host, travel and places to be. All happening while there’s lots of rich, sugary food – everywhere!
It’s easy to get caught up and over-stressed about all of it.
You may be feeling stressed about your food and how to juggle that without being a wet blanket on the holiday festivities or your own health.
See if this helps…
It’s not about perfection.
Recognize that unless you have an allergy or medical situation that demands it, what you eat doesn’t have to be about perfection.
Instead, determine a realistic goal for yourself such as eating 90% for health and 10% for fun.
If that seems overwhelming, what would work while challenging you in a good way?
Pick a goal that is maintainable for the long term.
It’s not that you can’t change your mind. But rather, it’s about creating a challenging goal that will keep you motivated and then own it! So what’s it gonna be?
How does this actually work?
Pick a percentage as your goal. (My personal, year-round goal is more like 95/5.) Day-in and day-out, I try to eat foods that are at least 95% healthy and a max of 5% for fun. There is no math or counting going on here. Just keep a mental, running log of what you eat and manage the intake to meet your goals.
If there is a party (or a holiday) and you’re looking forward to that famous family dessert, go for it!
But savor every bite. No mindless binging ok? Find a comfortable chair and mindfully enjoy the treats. Put your fork down between bites and really chew and taste it. And if something is only tasting, “meh”, then skip it and pick something that you will truly enjoy instead.
What to do when life happens…
If you have a plan and it falls apart, (I call this a wobble), note the wobble and get back on the program. It’s ok!
Don’t get discouraged.
I find that a lot of folks get discouraged with a wobble. They feel like they blew it and then give up entirely. Don’t give up! It’s what you do most of the time that will serve you. Instead, note that you overdid and get back with the program.
I ate dessert! Did you?
Sometimes I invite a wobble. And I plan to eat dessert. Yes! I do! I really enjoy pumpkin pie with home-made whipped cream. The fresh whipped cream has a completely different taste than the canned stuff. So I had a couple of small servings of pie over a couple of days with LOTS of whipped cream…check out the pic below. I’m not kidding!
Now I’m done.
Instinctively we all know that a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream every day is sabotaging and not healthy. But a couple of days is ok. I enjoyed it and have a commitment to get back to my program goal.
It is important to be fair though because “overdoing” more often than following your plan becomes an excuse and means you won’t get or keep the goals you desire. That gets into self-sabotage and we’re trying to avoid that.
How do I move on and stop with the treats? Or even avoid them in the first place?
Here are some strategies that help me around the holidays and parties:
- I eat a nutritionally-dense diet 95% of the time with calculated treats 5% of the time. This helps me to manage cravings.
- Stay well hydrated with water so you don’t confuse dehydration for hunger or trigger other cravings. A more festive and alcohol-free option is sparkling water. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime if you like.
- Don’t starve yourself or skip meals in preparation for a party or special meal. Eat your normal meals and you’ll go into the big dinners or parties with a more-even blood sugar. This helps avoid the over-indulging that comes from being starved.
- Have a glass of water before the big meal to fill up a bit.
- I skip the store-bought rolls and most, if not all breads, unless they are truly spectacular, and spend my 5% on the fancy dessert. Get a small slice and really enjoy it!
- Stop eating when you feel 80% full. It may take up to 20 minutes before your body fully recognizes all the food. Ever notice how you eat and eat at a big dinner and then later realize how completely over-stuffed you feel? Stopping at 80% full will eliminate that.
- Put your fork down between bites and chew your food really well. This helps your digestion, slows you down and allows your body to have time to recognize that you are feeling full.
- Be careful of grazing. Put your snacks on a small plate or bowl so you can see what you’re eating. Skip the junk and focus on the veggie platter. Make sure the special seasonal treats are truly “treats” and not the bulk of the portion. This will reduce the temptation to fill up on the wrong things but leave room to have some fun too! =)
If the holiday was a big, giant, wobble and you overdid, clean up the eating so you can end your week with your desired average.
This means getting back to lots of veggies, leafy greens and lean protein (lean protein examples can be chicken, turkey, fish, lentils/beans, lean beef).
Wellness is a journey.
Don’t feel like you have to be perfect to play. Pick your target percentage and use that as a guidance system to get started.
I use a term called lifestyling wellness to describe balancing healthy food and lifestyle with some strategic fun-eating too! Learn more about how I do this in my Amazon book, Lifestyling Wellness.
I’d love to hear what you think. Comment below in the blog or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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