At this time of year, I get the same comment from so many people. “How am I ever going to stay on track over the holiday season.”
Here are my 5 Christmas Survival Tips that I hope you find helpful to keep your health on track.
1. Set your Intention
Christmas is my favourite season of the year, and it comes with so many important traditions both new and old. This holiday in particular pulls at the heartstrings and emotions when it comes to food. Not only are their traditions, but also work functions, social functions, family functions and shopping all of which seems to involve food…and drink. You have to hand it to the marketing guru’s of the world because as soon as I hear a Christmas Carol, see those holiday cups or smell nutmeg I think I need some kind of yummy drink in my hand. It seems as if this every year this season gets longer and longer. Instead of a meal worth of indulgence it has turned into 4-6 weeks worth.
There are things like shortbread cookies, egg nog, dark chocolate bark and my gingerbread baking that I look forward to every year. On the other hand, there are other things that I could do without….like Christmas cake, sweet holiday drinks and punch, candy and most of the Christmas baking. This has taken me years to figure out and I would usually just mindlessly eat things because “its Christmas” or that I wouldn’t want to insult the host. What I have learned is “its Christmas” is a huge rationalization and that it is okay to politely say no to certain things.
If you are like me, there are too many functions at this time if year to by mindlessly eating. Instead, I have learned (through many mistakes and much practice) to set intentions.
Setting Your Intentions…
- Decide what Christmas functions you are going to indulge in, and what functions you are going to stay on plan (or as close as possible)
- For the functions that you decide you will indulge – decide what you are indulging on and how much
- Once you set this intention, honour it and be mindful when you are eating your food. I can hardly wait for those shortbread cookies to melt in my mouth!!
- Finally…don’t beat yourself up after indulging or deviating from your plan. If you set an intention you will be more mindful about what food you are putting in your mouth and more likely to stick to your plan than if you didn’t think about it at all. However if you do deviate from this plan, just pick yourself up and start again. Don’t give yourself the out of saying “well, I blew it anyway so I might as well wait until Jan to get back on track.”
2. Don’t get Hungry
It is when we are hungry that we make the worst food choices. You are not setting yourself up to win if you go to a party hungry and are having to wait a couple of hours before the meal is served with all of those munchies and appetizers calling your name. Appetizers are usually full of sugar and fat, and despite filling up on appetizers most people will then also finish their whole dinner plate regardless of whether or not they are full.
Try having a small snack before you leave the house:
- Protein shake or bar
- 1 hard boiled eggs
- veggies and hummus
- greek yogurt
- handful of mixed nuts and a piece of fruit
Not being hungry will allow you to make more rationale food choices and stick to your plan
3. Bring a Veggie Tray, Cold Rolls, Fruit Tray, Mixed Nuts or something else that you want to eat
The worst is getting to a party, planning that this is a function that you are going to stay on plan and then having nothing to eat. Make sure that you bring an appetizer that you can have.
Not only will exercise help to keep the weight off, but it will also help your mood and stress level. Plus when people are exercising they are a lot more likely to be careful about the “extra” snacks or treats they have.
5. Have Fun with Active Holiday Traditions
So many traditions are related to food, it is great if you can create some that aren’t. See if you can find one tradition to either continue or start that doesn’t involve food…go skating, build a snowman or snow fort, go for a walk to see the Christmas lights, go tobogganing or have a snow ball fight. It is a great way to unwind and relax, get some exercise but also start to create some traditions that are not food related.
Life is about experiences…so enjoy the season while being mindful and indulging in moderation