Resist Food Temptations – Holiday Tips for your Healthy Lifestyle
By Jessica Marshall, RD and LEAP Therapist
As we approach another busy holiday eating season, it’s a reminder of how fast time goes. Before we know it, in a blink of an eye, it is over. As we head towards the center of this wonderful yet stressful season, some of us are ready but a lot of us have too much to do and too little time to do it.
Feeling overextended can leave us more susceptible to making poor health and nutrition choices during this season. How do we plan to manage it all and expect to keep on track with our diet and lifestyle goals? A big concern is getting caught up in the fast pace atmosphere. Indulging too much and then the path back to healthy habits looks overwhelming.
Here are some great holiday eating tips to help you resist temptation, stay focused and manage your obstacles to a healthy, nutritious lifestyle:
- Stick with What Works: Focus on what has been actually working. If starting off with a higher protein breakfast in the morning gives you more energy, then what is the point of skipping it on an anticipated higher calorie day? Even though you think you will be balancing out your calories by skipping breakfast, eating breakfast will actually help you to indulge less later on. So, keep up with your normal meal routine if it’s working for you.
- Load Your Plate: That’s right, I said it, but with the healthy and whole food options first. If some dishes are present that you only get a few times a year, don’t deny yourself. But don’t get to the point where the avoidance allows the cravings to consume you later on. Just portion out a tiny bit, eat them last, and you’ll end up eating less by filling up on the good stuff first. For example, salad first, roasted vegetables, turkey, green bean casserole, and then a small dessert.
- Eat Mindfully: Eat by slowing down and pay attention to what is in front of you. Put your fork down between bites. Take a deep breath before starting. Pay attention to all senses with each bite. Take it meal by meal not day by day. Maybe a big, sweet dessert after one meal means less snacking in between. Either way, find a balance. If you slightly over indulged in one, then tighten up or go lighter for the next meal. If you go into your day with a full allowance you will eat much more than providing that allowance meal by meal instead.
- Walk Away: Find something to do besides sitting near easily accessible food. Can you get some friends and family to play a game, go on a walk, or go see a movie? Show common courtesy and help the hosts with anything that needs to be done as a distraction. This gets you up for a double win.
- Sparkle Your Drink: Bring a sparkling flavored water to use for a mixer and only use a little bit of alcohol. It’s just enough alcohol to make you feel social, but it won’t be enough to derail your efforts. Go easy on the alcohol. Drinking lowers your inhibitions and leaves you at a greater risk for making choices not connected to your original goals.
- Two F’s to Remember: Focus on Family and Friends not food. This is the time to catch up with them instead of heading straight to the buffet. This doesn’t mean skip meals; it means don’t focus on an all-day eating event. Put your effort and distraction techniques into conversation and interaction. This will build up your relationships and reduce your indulgences.
I hope these small changes find you well and you are able to incorporate them this holiday season. And remember, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. Understanding, then accepting this fact can only help you and the betterment of your body. If you are interesting in building a holiday lifestyle plan with one of our nutritionists, please call New Directions Counseling using the phone number in the right column.