Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
It seems like just as soon as those holiday carols start playing in elevators, our weight starts climbing.
You know it’s coming. Everywhere you turn, there are sweets and treats and indulgences: next to the checkout register, in the breakroom and on desks at work, and on every end table and countertop at every home you visit.
When you’re not having something waved under your nose, you’re rushing around with the shopping and errands and preparations, probably not taking the time you need to get a proper meal.
But then during the holiday season, big, abundant, sit-down dinners are likely to make their way into the schedule of even the most harried and hurried among us.
With all that to contend with, many people find the temptations too much to bear, and simply give up on healthy eating altogether during the holidays. But don’t surrender! If you recognize going in that these challenges will be there, and arm yourself accordingly, it needn’t be the fight of your life just getting through to January.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips - A defensive attitude
Perhaps the most important attitude adjustment is to be sure that you’re thinking of yourself not as a person who is trying to lose weight or even someone trying to avoid junk.
If you’re trying to eat better and get healthy, then think of yourself as a person who eats well and makes healthy choices. Successful people do what successful people do. When you walk in to work first think in the morning and you’re faced with a plate of frosted candy-cane cookies, just recognize that healthy-eating people such as yourself just don’t eat that sort of thing for breakfast. Smile, nod, and keep walking.
It also helps to be forearmed with a few defensive thoughts to call up in case someone brings that plate of cookies right over to you. Think of what motivates you to be eating better and getting healthy to begin with. We have our patients write these out on index cards and keep their top motivations with them for quick reference in moments of temptation.
And if someone is particularly insistent about trying to ply you with sweets or goodies, be ready with a polite way to decline. You might want to try a few out in advance, just so you’re ready and skilled with the “no, thank you,” defense.
But don’t say, “I’m dieting.” That’s only going to invoke sympathy and good-natured encouragement to live a little. Remember that you’re trying to eat better because you want to live a little longer.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips - Avoidance strategies
When you’re faced with that big sit-down meal at Grandma’s, plan in advance to NOT get so full that you’re uncomfortable. Sure, the food is delicious and evokes all sorts of wonderful nostalgia, but you don’t need to overeat to enjoy the memories. Chew slowly, savor each bite, really appreciate those special dishes. It’s a much better way to enjoy them than doing the stuff-and-suffer.
And start by taking small servings to begin with. Many of us were raised to “clean our plates,” and we feel obligated to finish whatever is served, whether or not Mom is watching. But if you’re full, stop. That mountain of mashed potatoes isn’t Mt. Everest, and you don’t have to eat it just “because it’s there.”