Thanksgiving and Christmas season bring the years greatest temptations to abandon or procrastinate on our healthy eating convictions. I can't help but think of Louis CK's standup on eating habits. He said "the meal isn't over when I'm full, it's over when I feel like crap." Ah Louis CK, he's so honest. I think we all know the feeling but can agree that overeating never actually feels good afterwards.
Here are 5 tips to help you celebrate and eat well this holiday season:
1.) Focus on what you can eat versus what you can't
When we create that mental checklist of all the things we can't eat it's really easy to get discouraged. Wholesome, nutritious food is a gift from God. He wants us to have a healthy relationship with food. Focus on eating foods that you know leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
2.) Have realistic expectations
Study after study shows that simple, sustainable changes end up being the most productive. Don't overcomplicate things. It's easy to get overwhelmed and give up completely. Make one small change at a time and add other adjustments once you've maintained the first modification.
3.) Commit to a strategy now
I will say with great confidence that it is easier to avoid holiday weight gain altogether than to try and lose pounds after the fact. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain muscle mass, get stronger or fend off a cold, flu or any other sickness make a plan and begin implementing it now, before temptation arrives.
4.) Eat Clean
Real food is a big topic these days and for good reason.
- Processed and packaged foods (boxed stuffing, cereal, chips)
- Refined starches (white bread, white pasta, white rice)
- Added sugar (sadly most packaged foods have added sugar)
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- Good quality meats, eggs and dairy
5.) Navigate your sweet tooth
Sugar is addicting. Indulging in sweets around the holidays is widely accepted, practiced and maybe even encouraged in some homes. I'll admit that indulging a little and then stopping is hard to do especially with so many sweet (pun intended) options to pick from. My recommendation would be to consider avoiding sweets altogether and loading up on all the other nutritious foods instead but of course if you must have something sweet enjoy a carefully chosen dessert.
The holidays are a joy-filled and a God-given occasion to feast and celebrate. So go ahead and celebrate but without compromising your health.