Monday, October 29, 2018

Preparing for the Holidays. To eat or not to eat?

Do you feel overwhelmed when thinking about how you will control your diet?

The holiday season is quickly approaching.  It is that time of year where work parties, the friendly get-together, and family functions seem to intervene with the healthier side of life.  Whether it’s one big party or a new cookie tray every week, where do you draw the line between enjoying the holiday and avoiding regret?

These events are often unavoidable and (should be) enjoyable. Let's face it, most of us LOVE the taste, smell, and pretty looks of salty, fattening, and sugary unhealthy foods.  In my experience, and like many things in life, planning is more than half the battle. If you think ahead and have a mental strategy for your holiday diet, January 2 will be far more pleasant. Scroll through these options that, in some combination, have worked for me and my clients, keep them in your tool box and decide to apply them to your plan this holiday season.

1.      Bring your own food. 

It can be surprisingly fun to make a short list of the sugary or fattening foods you know you’ll encounter this year and hit up Pinterest (or good ol’ Google) for healthy variations. Some of my favorites… protein balls, low sugar protein bars, healthy low sugar oatmeal cookies, fruit infused water.  Nail this and you’re recipe will be the water cooler talk for a week! Also- consider bringing your favorite salad or other green veggies to ensure there’s at least one healthy option.

2.      Treat yourself, in planned moderation. 

Going to a big party? Put a “party plan” in place… 2-3 treats for the night. Trays starting to come in at work? Write out a practical meal plan for the holiday season and stick to it.  Within that plan, allow yourself to have those “treats” one or two days per week.  Plan it and WRITE IT DOWN.  Then you will be holding yourself accountable for what you are eating,

3.      Don’t eat it - everyone's least favorite. 

Work your plan and when you see the temptations, walk away.  Say no and pat yourself on the back for saying no.  This can be challenging at family functions.  I often have clients express that they do not want to hurt their family by saying no.  This goes back to planning it out.  There needs to be compromise, you cannot eat all unhealthy food all of the time.  It just won’t work.

The other option here is to reward yourself in some small way for resisting the temptation.  Buy yourself that new nail polish, go see a movie, get a massage, indulge in a facial, you choose….

4.      Strategically build your plate

Another issue is the “feast” itself.  The answer here is MODERATION.  Take it one day at a time.   Analyze your options before filling your plate.  What is available to you?  Fill your plate with the good stuff and leave a little room for the things that should be eaten in smaller portions.  A little extra salad, cooked veggies, turkey, and sweet potato will make up for the stuffing, white rice, buttered rolls, and cookies.

Try filling your holiday plate in this order:
  • Color First, I say ½ of your plate (go for larger portions of green, red, orange, etc.  THIS IS NOT ICING!)
  • Protein Second (maybe go for 3-4 ounces)
  • Carbs next (smaller portions to “fill in the gaps”)

Special tip for Dessert:

  • Always use the smallest plate available to you
  • Ask for a small piece
  • Plan it out in advance so you don’t have to feel bad about it!!!

Life is short.  Enjoy!