Hacks to Navigate the Holiday Season
You have worked all year to build good habits. Now the holiday season is upon us. Will you keep up your workout routine and healthy eating?
Here are a dozen hacks to navigate the holiday season:
1. Walk right on past the treats in the grocery store.
Grocery store owners place them right in front of you when you walk in. Keep walking. If you won’t buy it in January, then why buy it in December? We are bombarded by advertising meant to tempt. Realize that you don’t need to give in.
2. Keep your routine.
You have worked hard to build good eating habits, so keep doing what you are doing. Stick to the same structure and the same foods. Avoid the “on-the-diet / off-the-diet” thinking. Working with a personal trainer also helps to keep you accountable to your workout schedule.
3. Eat before the holiday party.
If you show up famished, you are more likely to make poor choices. Eat regular or just slightly smaller meals before the party and eat a regular amount at the party. The idea is that you can slightly skew your calorie allowance toward the event, but not completely, or else it can set you up to way-overindulge.
4. Focus on people, not the food.
Remember that celebrations are more about the people you are with than about the food you are eating. Focus on the joy of spending time with others.
5. Have a strategy.
This could include:
- Fill your plate with veggies and protein.
- Have only small portions of high calorie choices.
- Keep a glass of water in your hand to keep your hands busy.
- Don’t stand around the buffet table or sit in front of the snack table.
6. It’s NOT all or nothing.
Avoid a binge-mentality by realizing that this is not the only time you can have these foods. You can have your favourite treats another time, which means you don’t have to have it all now.
7. Be mindful.
It is important to enjoy what you are eating. When you choose your favourite food, eat slowly and savour the taste. Make a conscious decision about what you are choosing and how much you have had. Make it worth it.
8. You can say “no, thank you”.
Nobody should be offended if you opt not to eat something. At the end of the day, you are in charge of your health, not anyone else. You have the power to choose.
9. Stay hydrated.
Drink water. The best tip for a gala dinner is to bring your own water bottles to make sure you always have water to drink. Just because you can help yourself to the opened bottles of wine on the table, doesn’t mean you should. Bring bottles of water, just in case they are not provided at the party. Then your thirst will not lead you astray.
10. Think about tomorrow.
How will you feel after the party? Do you want to wake up feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep or hungover? Or do you want to feel terrible because you overdid it? Make decisions that will make your future-self proud!
11. Conduct a post-mortem.
If you do overeat or overindulge, don’t over-compensate the next day by starving yourself. Avoid the all-or-nothing mindset. It is important to pick back up and continue with your regular healthy eating plan. Self-reflect on what went wrong and learn from it for next time. Use what happened to come up with a better strategy. Maintain a mindset of growth and learning. The goal is to have a healthy relationship with food.
12. Have self-compassion.
The holidays can be busy and stressful. Focus on what went well. Speak kindly to yourself with the same love and care you give to others. Celebrate your wins! January routine will be here before we know it.
For other tips, check out the Canada Food Guide website “Healthy Eating for Holidays and Events”.