Ah, the holidays! It seems like for everyone on the planet (or at least on this continent) the time between November 25th and January 2nd is inexplicably tied in with food. How can it not be? We kick it off with a lavish turkey feast, replete with visions of pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING, add in special cookies, drinks, and candies and you’re hard pressed to think of this time of year about anything other than food!
If you’ve made the decision to cut down on unhealthy foods, or worse – your doctors have made that decision for you based on a serious health condition – this time of year can be more torturous than joyous. So many people decide that they’re just going to do whatever they want for the next six weeks because ‘I’ve still got to enjoy life!’. But ask yourself; Do you really want to ignore doctor’s orders, or even just the complaints of your own overtaxed body because you are convinced life can only be enjoyed if you’re indulging in food that is hurting you?
How many of us have said we’d put our diet on hold ‘just for the holidays’ but never seem to get back to it after January? This is not to say you should ignore the holidays, but here are some tips to make sure you don’t derail all your progress.
1) Track your food. I know, I know, I can hear the groans. We all know the chocolate rum balls probably aren’t packed with healthy protein so why bother logging them? Trust me! If you log everything you put in your mouth you will feel much less like a victim when the smoke clears and will have a very easy to read road map of what you need to do differently. Without logging, you will, and I guarantee this, underestimate all the snacks and nibbles and feel it is very unfair that seven pounds just attached to you like magic.
2) Look inward. If the thought of going through Thanksgiving and Christmas without gorging on snacks, cakes and cookies makes you feel like it’s not even worth it, get out your pen and paper and start looking at why. Sure, sugary treats taste good and all, but what are you really holding on to here? Try to unpack the emotion from the foods of the season and focus on what’s really important? Can’t you have just as nice a visit with Grandma without eating the whole plate of her home made fudge?
3) Leave the all or nothing attitude under the tree. Say it’s inevitable that you are going to gnosh on some tantalizing delicacy – that’s okay, who could resist those adorable marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes? Just don’t fall into the trap of eating the whole pan, plus a pumpkin pie all to yourself, after a few bites. Two bites of a sugar-laden treat are NOT as bad as four! So try to practice portion control and minimize the fall out.
4) Remember the consequences! “I sure am glad I ate that third helping” groaned nobody ever! Follow the tried and true rule of eating slowly and listening to your body. Overstuffing yourself doesn’t feel good, and overstuffing yourself with rich food that you don’t usually eat can have serious digestive consequences.
So, in conclusion this holiday season enjoy your friends, your family and count all your blessings. Keep food in its proper place and enjoy it in moderation. Your health and well-being is the greatest gift and everyone who cares about you benefits when you take care o you!
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! From our family to yours!