The holidays can be a stressful time for many individuals for a variety of different reasons. The end of the year is full of festivities, many of which revolve around food. For those on a health journey, it may be overwhelming to not be in control of what you are eating, or to be surrounded by foods that are deemed “unhealthy”. The holidays are a time that should be enjoyed without having to be worried about everything you are eating. Let’s talk about ways that you can navigate the holidays by building sustainable habits while also still enjoying all of the foods that you love.
What Not To Do
There is no reason that you are not allowed to enjoy the seasonal dishes and treats that you enjoy, so do your best to not develop a restrictive mindset. If you do not allow yourself to eat these foods, this can lead to the binge-restrict cycle. This is a cycle of cutting out foods that you enjoy because they are deemed unhealthy. Because of this, when you do eat these foods you tend to overeat or binge on them because you either haven’t had it in a while or you won’t allow yourself to eat it again. By giving yourself permission to eat any food that you want, you will not feel the need to binge on them.
What to Focus On
Instead of focusing on what you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat, think about what you can add to your plate to make it more nutritious. For your meals, make sure you are still incorporating carbohydrates, protein, and fruits or vegetables that are offered. Not only that, but it is important to be mindful when you are eating at holiday events. It is easy to overeat and ignore your body’s hunger cues when surrounded by a lot of food. Don’t feel the need to eat everything on your plate, and pay attention to when you are feeling full and satisfied. Being in tune with your body will allow you to eat the food you love without overeating.
There are other strategies you can apply at holiday gatherings to avoid the possibility of overeating. For example, avoid grazing the food and dessert and make sure you are sitting down to eat to fully enjoy the experience and to be in-tune with how you are feeling. Also, don’t skip meals in anticipation for the event, as that can result in excessive hunger and the feeling of wanting to overeat.
Continue to be consistent with your healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. Don’t let eating more sweets, treats, and fun food derail you from your goals. While the holiday season often involves eating more energy-dense foods, it doesn’t mean you should be eating these foods all the time. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Give yourself permission to eat all the foods that you like, but be aware of your body’s hunger cues and how your body is feeling. Having a healthy relationship with food gives you the freedom to eat all foods without guilt.
If you need help creating lasting habits and are ready to transform your health for good, register for our free Masterclass, Jumpstart Your New Year with Nutrition! In this free Masterclass, we’ll discuss what diet is right for you, how to make 2023 your year for health, and how to set goals that will stick. You can sign up for free here.