Managing the Holiday Season

The Plan:  “This year, I’m going to stay focused on my healthy eating plan, yet I will enjoy some of my favorites on the day.”

When someone shows up with your absolute favorite food, you take a small portion, then someone offers more, and you take a small sliver.  Later, you reason another small one won’t hurt.  Three days later, you wake up from a stupor with the last crumbs of stuff you don’t really even like resting on your chin.  Once you’ve “blown it,” what’s the point of trying to stay on track for the rest of the holidays?

Sound familiar?

Sometimes a favorite food — or even one that isn’t our favorite — sets off a complete collapse of our best intentions.  Whether you’re solidly in the mental space of being disciplined or have already given up, take heart.  This moment can be the time you get back on track.

Getting on Track

Know the trigger:

What’s your holiday trigger food or foods?  Do you know why it’s a trigger? Can you talk yourself through it to unwind it? The last year my mother was alive, she introduced us to this lemon pecan fruitcake.  I know what you’re thinking—fruitcake?  Seriously?  Okay, so this is less of a fruitcake and more of a lemon pecan pound cake with fruit in it.  We were all shocked by how good it is.  With the pound of butter, a pound of sugar, etc., it’s also quite a heavy dessert.  Or breakfast, as the case may be.  And it’s infused with the memory of our last Christmas as an intact family.  Most trigger foods are memories wrapped in pastry, sugar, or something savory.  We know we are no closer to people or times of our lives when we eat certain foods, and yet they draw us amidst memory and tradition-filled holidays.  Therefore, we MUST plan, and having options is key.

Know your options:

Is there a nutrition-friendly version?  It won’t be exactly the same, but there are recipes that can mimic our favorites, maybe come very close or perhaps actually be better.  That microwaved minute muffin is still a favorite for me and very friendly to my nutrition choices.

What safeguards can you put in place for yourself?  Can you make yourself accountable to someone who is supportive of your goals?

Can you allow yourself to make the actual holiday a rule-free zone and then make sure your environment is free from temptation?  What do YOU need to make things work?

You could simply just let it be during the holidays and get back on track in January.  Just have a plan, and recognize you may have some ground to make up.

 

Create a plan for this holiday season.  One of my clients did The Whole 30 in September, and in October she said she wanted to continue some of the practices that worked for her.  She said she’d do Thanksgiving and Christmas as she’s always done it, but she was going straight back to the plan the day after each holiday.
What she has done is created a lifestyle she can live with, and that, dear friends, is the point.

 

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