Every year around this time, patients woefully tell me about the number of tempting treats that are continually bombarding them. This scenario can set us up for emotional and physical toil, unless we learn how to make some simple changes to our mindset and actions. Below, is a list of some ideas on how you can enjoy Holiday food, without the diet anxiety. These ideas pertain more to those who have struggled with a diet mentality for weight loss, and less to those who follow a therapeutic diet for symptom relief. For those following a therapeutic diet, I suggest looking for a new recipe of product that fits within your parameters, so you can still enjoy something different and fun, versus feeling deprived. Here are some thoughts that you may find useful:
- Set your expectations and be reasonable. This isn’t a time for lofty goals. For example, your goal might be to move your body 5 days a week, during the holidays season. Another goal might be to eat vegetables with every meal, or drink enough water.
- It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate. It’s OK to gain some weight over the Holidays. Many will lose a few pounds after the Holidays, simply because their back to a “normal” schedule and eating habits. Restrictive eating and dieting is not the way to happiness. Mindful eating, living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying your life, is the way to happiness
- Food isn’t the enemy. It’s OK to really enjoy certain foods that you don’t have all the time. Keep the portions in mind and be present while you’re eating, so you get full satisfaction.
- Do not feel guilty about a planned or even unplanned meal or snack. Instead, acknowledge why that happened and move on. Guilting yourself over a food decision, doesn’t undo it and only makes things worse.
- If you have leftovers that aren’t in line with your goals, get rid of them. I don’t care how. This is important. Your brain knows when certain foods are around, so don’t rely on will power. If it’s not there, you won’t crave it!
- Apply the 80/20 rule. Make room for foods that you don’t eat all the time and fill in with nutrient dense choices, 80% of the time. Look at the big picture. No single meal will “derail” you or cause you harm (unless of course you eat something that physically causes you to be ill).
- If part of your tradition includes baking tons of different things, consider halving the recipes for all of them. If you or your kids decorate tons of cookies, consider make it a new tradition of making them for other friends or family. Even if those friends of family don’t wan’t them, you can have a private conversation about the game plan for after receiving the cookies (wink-wink). The enjoyment of the activity doesn’t need to change, but the amount or sweets left in your house, can.
- Your next meal, grocery shop or snack, is your next opportunity to be intentional with your food decisions.
If you happen to be a good moderator and can control yourself around sweets, good for you! These thoughts are directed at those who aren’t good moderators, like myself. Most people struggle with moderation with at least a handful of foods.
Jessie Golden wrote an excellent article called “Feeling Like Sh*t After Thanksgiving?, ” that I think you’ll find helpful.
Her Instagram handle is @jessiemgolden. I’ve really enjoyed her content.
You may also like my article from a few years ago, Tips And Tricks For A Healthy Holiday Season.