It’s December, the time of year when everything we do seems to revolve around eating and drinking. Holiday food can cause significant anxiety or it can inspire joy depending on your mindset. Here are a few tips to help you get through this time of year without over-indulging or feeling like you have to miss out on all the holiday treats.
- Be realistic: The all or nothing approach is often a recipe for disaster over the holidays (and any other time of the year). When we adopt this type of restrictive mindset we usually end up swinging back and forth between starving and over-indulging from one day to the next or one meal to the next. Give yourself permission to include your favourite holiday treats this season while still maintaining a good meal and snack routine throughout each day that helps to keep you satisfied.
- Fill your plate with foods that you love: Holiday buffets are usually packed with a smorgasbord of fancy side dishes and calorie expensive sauces. Instead of starting at the front of the line and taking a little bit of everything only choose the foods that taste truly delicious to you and are worth the calories. Practice some mindfulness and serve yourself the smallest amount of each item that you need to be satisfied.
- Don’t fall into the tradition trap: We all have holiday traditions and often food and drink play a role in these traditions. Most people eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and drink eggnog at Christmas time but it’s important to make sure that you’re not including food/drinks just because it’s the holidays and that’s what you’re supposed to do during the holidays. Do you even like eggnog? If you are going to indulge make sure that it’s with your favourite treats.
- Just say no to food pushers: Many people love through food during this time of year and appreciate nothing more than watching friends and family enjoy the holiday feast and baked treats that they have lovingly produced. Whether it’s Grandma’s famous rolls or mom’s shortbread cookies you may feel that you need to eat certain foods because you know how much time and effort went into making them and they are continuously being offered to you. The best way to deal with food pushers is to smile, offer a compliment and then politely decline. “Oh Janet, those brownies look amazing; I am too full to enjoy one right now but could I take one home for later?” They will feel loved and appreciated and you won’t feel the need to overeat in order to show your affection.
- Avoid Setting a New Year’s deadline: Setting a deadline to get back on track with healthy eating can do more harm than good. Enjoying your favourite food during a holiday meal is not going to derail you from healthy habits but setting that New Year’s deadline 4 weeks out can lead to over-indulging. Suddenly you feel like you have to eat ALL of the treats ALL of the time because in a few weeks you won’t be able to eat any of it… ever again. Instead, include treats in the smallest quantity that you need to be satisfied with no plans to restrict yourself in the future. This will help you stay in better control when it comes to indulging through the holiday season.