Happy Holidays everyone – we hope you’re enjoying your time spent with family and friends! Along with the celebrations of the holidays come the decadent and delicious foods we often steer clear of during the non-holiday months. With these stigmas, it can be difficult to enter the holiday season with a positive mindset. Frequently, we immerse ourselves with guilt or throw in the towel completely for our health and weight loss goals. It’s important to remember that the holiday season is a time for celebration – not guilt. With so many tasty foods available during the holiday season, it can be beneficial to go into this time of year with a strategy. Here are a few tips to help with adopting a healthy holiday mindset:
#1: Try to think of holiday food indulgences as treats, not cheats. Simply changing this label and removing the stigma associated with certain foods can remove the guilt. With guilt pushed aside you will likely be able to have and ENJOY that slice of nana’s pecan pie without the urge to binge.
#2: Go to holiday parties with a controlled appetite. Many of us rationalize that if we skip meals before parties and big dinners we will save calories. This can lead to uncontrolled hunger, promote binge-eating behaviors and lead to overeating. The overeating behavior leads to more stress and guilt instead of enjoyment of the food and company you came for! Instead of skipping meals, eat your normal breakfast, lunch and maybe a protein-containing snack before you leave. This will keep your hunger in check and allow you to make more appropriate choices.
#3: Be mindful while enjoying your favorite holiday foods. Instead of loading up your plate, be selective of the items that you have been looking forward to most and use reasonable portions with your selections. Another trick is to take a lap around the buffet first. Take survey of the items offered and make a plan in your head to include what foods you’d like to try. Take smaller portions of the starchy foods like macaroni and cheese, take a moderate portion of the protein such as turkey and load up on non-starchy vegetables.
#4: Practice Mindful Eating. Instead of shoveling in food until you’re stuffed, slow down while you’re eating and allow your body to appreciate the different flavors and textures of the foods your consuming. We are no longer members of the “clean your plate” club. Practice the mentality of eating when you’re hungry and stoping when you’re full.
#5: Keep your hands full. Sitting next to the appetizers can make it easy to mindlessly graze. Try moving your your conversation to another room, away from the food. It may also help to keep a glass of water or sparkling water in your hands to keep them occupied!