We all know that the holiday season can be a gong show of unhealthy eating, and derailing food activities that leave you feeling like crap in the New Year. Then we join the latest New Years resolution diet challenges that promotes all the things that you want to hear, like “Lose the holiday bulge” or “Get on back on track”, “Make this year count” –blah, blah, blah.
 
Well this year is going to be different! I am all about helping you stay ON TRACK this holiday season, and my goal is to not let you “check out” when it comes to your nutrition. This course is jam packed with all the insider tips that I use to help my clients become masters of their nutrition, and how to overcome the unhealthy challenges they face this time of year. 
 
Pre- Holiday and holiday planning
Today’s lesson is all about thinking forward, and becoming aware of what is going on during your week, and becoming aware of any events that can impact your nutrition. If there are these events, you need to take an inventory of what that might look like, and plan accordingly.
 
“Be aware of where you might struggle. Know your triggers, and plan accordingly”.
 
Evaluate your goals
Firstly, let’s get real. The holiday season is not the time to be trying to lose 10 lbs. I’m not going to stop you if you are working really hard to do so, but realistically you should focus on weight management at this time! Don’t set yourself up for starvation and failure. You need to realistic expectations of what the holiday season will look like for you and your health. It is completely O.K. to say, “if I can be the same weight that I am now on Jan. 1st, then I did great!” Say that to yourself now!
 
Next, we are going to go on a guilt vacation.
Guilt is something you feel when you have done something bad. Eating food, any type of food, is not a good or “bad” thing. You are not a bad person if you ate a bowl of holiday M&M’s that were sitting out on the counter, and it isn’t a bad “thing” to do either. Lying to someone is a BAD thing. Eating a chocolate bar is not a bad thing. However, you have to put eating in perspective to your nutrition goals and make sure that you are practicing all the good, healthy behaviors (like not skipping breakfast, and packing your lunch) first.
 
So let’s just check food related guilt at the door, and spend more time on trying to add in all the healthier behaviors that you can… That way when you want a gingerbread cookie, you can eat it, and actually enjoy it!
Here are some healthy behaviors you can work on during the holidays!
 
Pre-holiday planning
Take a look at your calendar and figure out all the parties and social events that are coming up. Think of how those days are going to look (gong show of food, or is it an office night out). Then, make a plan on how you are going to manage your health around those events.
 
For example: Evening Christmas party out at a restaurant -> Have a balanced snack before you go, skip the bread, share an appetizer, stretch out a glass of wine by sipping water in between, order extra vegetables, plan to take home ½ your meal, share dessert etc. … the key is to have a plan!
 
Festive verses non-festive days: Know which days are festive days, and which days are non-festive days. On non-festive days make an added effort to plan healthy meals and get some exercise.
 
Make sure you stock your home with healthy ingredients. Have your fridge stocked up with fresh fruits and vegetables. Have them pre-cut and washed, so when someone shows up with holiday baking, you can easily put out your carrots and hummus dip to nibble on in between the snicker doodles
 
Three Holiday Baking Tips For Home
1. If you do a bunch of holiday baking, make sure you freeze your baking so that the goodies are out of reach, and out of sight. You will be less tempted to nibble away at your baking if they are tucked away in the freezer.
2. Also you can try to make your cookies or squares smaller than what the recipe call for, and make them into bite size pieces.
3. Try chewing sugar-free gum while cooking or baking to stop mindless nibbling. If that doesn’t work, I also put out veggies and dip and nibble on those when baking.
 
My “must do” healthy behavior/rule for any holiday event is never go on an empty stomach. I always have a snack or even a meal before I go out to a party. If you show up partially full, you will be less tempted to eat foods that are not in line with your health goals. Don’t be “good” *sarcastic* all day by starving yourself so you can over indulge at the party. You will still consume far less calories if you eat a meal or snack before you go out to a party.
 
Your Challenge:
Mark out on the calendar all your holiday events that will be surrounded by food. Make a healthy eating damage control plan for each event. Aim to practice one or two healthy behaviors for each event.
 
Take Care,
Susan Watson 
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