For many of us, this is a cozy time of year filled with love, amazing food, home baked goods, and special moments shared with friends and family. For others, it is stressful due to the temptations and calories which are abundant at this time of year.
Which mindset do you relate to?
I used to relate to the latter. Thank goodness that has changed! The problem wasn’t the holidays; it was about food and my relationship with it. It was so sad to dread quality time with family and friends and not be able to appreciate all the love, effort and time, our hosts put into making a beautiful annual holiday dinner, so here are 10 TIPS to get you through this time of year. For advice on what to stay away from, see the bottom of this article:
- Exercise first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day (you know it works)!
- Bring or prepare healthier dishes as a contribution.
- Eat your protein and veggies first! This will help with satiety.
- Watch your portion sizes (and be realistic).
- Prioritize your water intake! Watch liquid calories. Eggnog and rum calories can add up fast, so if you’re going to indulge try to opt for one, and then move on to lower calorie options (like red wine, champagne, highballs, White Claws or low-calorie beer).
- Avoid stress eating! Opt to get outside for fresh air and walk it out.
- Pay attention to hunger cues and stop when you’re full.
- DO NOT starve yourself or “fast” until a holiday dinner. Enjoy a small meal, snack, shake, or something to create adequate satiety before heading out.
- If you fall off the wagon, get right back on! No “I’ll be better tomorrow” or “all or nothing attitude”. That behaviour is detrimental and poisonous to a healthy mindset. Having 2 cookies is better than 8!
- Leave leftovers behind if you have multiple dinners to attend.Don’t come at me for this one, but it will allow you to get “back on track” in between.
Spend more time being focused on socializing with loved ones than eating. You will feel proud of yourself and in control! Remember that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for, and it’s important to work on your mindset as much as you work on your physique.
WHAT TO STAY AWAY FROM this holiday season:
- The “Restrict and Binge Cycle”, I thought the key to losing fat was as simple as “calories in vs calories out”, so I would under eat (restrict), only to become ravenously hungry and gorge on anything I could get my hands on (binge). The cycle would just continue. Fat loss is more than calories in vs calories out. The ‘Restriction’ creates huge fluctuations in cortisol (the stress hormone) which contributes to fat GAIN. ‘Binging’ leads to an influx of mass amounts of calories in a short period of time which in most cases equates to weight gain. This approach is toxic and redundant for many reasons.
- Dubbing food as “bad” and “good”, which ultimately makes you want the “bad” foods even more. It’s not rocket science; we know this happens every time!
- Not eating well balanced meals that consist of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats – therefore you’re NEVER satiated which means that you’re always thinking about food.Once I got rid of these bad habits, my relationship with food improved tremendously! And I know yours will too.
Remember that we eat to live, not live to eat.