The holidays are approaching and yes, you can enjoy all the food that comes during the holiday season without running off track your weight loss goals.
The choices we make at this time of year about what, when, and how much we eat, is a personal decision that can be based on a number of factors. For many people a little forethought can be helpful.
Maybe you have been following a strict diet for weight loss or because of certain medical concerns.
Maybe you have been trying to make choices for better overall health.
What is your plan for the holiday season?
Some options might include continuing your current pattern of eating, moderating your current diet to allow for some favorite holiday foods, modifying foods/recipes to reduce possible negative impact.
Or maybe its all about deciding to just eat spontaneously because the holidays and their related foods only come once a year.
For persons who have been achieving their goal of progressive weight loss over the past few months or more, but are really looking forward to holiday foods, they may want to be reasonable about their weight change expectations during the month ahead.
Deciding to try for a plateau in weight change might be more reasonable and would allow for the inclusion of a few favorite holiday foods without guilt.
The plan would then be to resume the previous weight loss action steps in January.
Another question to ask yourself is how you want to feel physically with regard to what and how much you eat over the holidays. Feeling excessively stuffed does not tend to be pleasant.
Overeating can also trigger indigestion, reflux, and poor sleep.
Do you need to put everything that is served on your plate? Do you really need to go back for second and third helpings?
Maybe consider taking small portions of only your favorite foods and then assessing your level of fullness.
When we eat quickly or take large bites, we often do not really taste the food.
Eating more slowly, chewing food well, and savoring each bite means that you may get more pleasure from the foods you are eating.
The holidays can be extremely busy for many people. This can lead to skipped meals and snacks.
Do your best to eat consistently throughout the day.
Skipping meals and purposeful healthy snacks is an invitation to overeat and make less healthy choices. It can also trigger impulsive food purchases and/or eating.
This is true whether you are eating at home or socially. If you are in need of grab-and-go foods, try to plan ahead and choose healthier options.
Not allowing yourself to eat some special holiday foods or beverages can feel very depriving and may eventually drive you to overeat less healthy choices.
Another common practice is replacing a holiday treat with a poor substitute that you think better fits your dieting mentality. This generally does not work and you may end up eating both.
Moderation without guilt might be a better alternative.
Rather than allowing food to be the main theme of holiday meals and events (which can prompt overeating), focus instead on it being quality time with family.
If you are trying to adhere to your weight and health goals and are uncertain as to what will be served during a food outing, try eating a small meal or snack that better fits your goals before leaving home.
Once at the event you can then decide what foods and how much are appropriate.
Holidays can be an emotional time for many people as well.
Take note as to whether you are doing any emotional eating.
Try addressing the underlying emotions rather than using food as a way of coping.
Be aware, too, of “food pushers” – well-intentioned family members or friends who want you to enjoy more of the special holiday foods and beverages they have prepared.
Think of ways to respond without causing hurt feelings if you have already reached a comfortable fullness.
Holiday beverages can contain added sugars, saturated fat, and/or alcohol, all of which are calorie-dense and can counter health goals.
Consider making a self-contract about what, how much, and how often you consume these.
A lot of families will probably be staying home over the holidays this year.
One benefit might be better control over the quality and quantity of food options.
If you are the person planning the meals, consider healthier recipes that taste delicious and align with family favorites.
Keep a balance between healthier foods and less healthy treats.
How many dozens of cookies do you really need to make so that it feels like the holidays.
Many recipes, even those passed down through generations, can be modified without changing the traditional flavors of those foods.
Examples would be reducing the amount of added sugars, sources of saturated fats, and overall calories they contain. You can also increase the amount of fruits and vegetables served, use whole grains instead of refined, slip in some nuts/seeds/beans, and boost the seasonings without adding salt.
For instance, a homemade stuffing might be made by sautéing the onions, etc. in oil rather than butter.
If you want a buttery flavor, add just a very small amount to the oil.
Use fresh herbs, low sodium broth, and whole grain bread.
Instead of apple and pumpkin pies for dessert, try apple crisp or pumpkin custard (pumpkin pie without the crust).
Skipping the crust can save a lot of calories and saturated fat.
You can also reduce the amount of sugar used and instead get the sweet flavor from spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
So, consider making at least a tentative plan as to how you want to address your food and beverage intake over the next few weeks so you are better able enjoy the holiday season.
This might mean being more realistic about your weight and health goals and banishing guilt because you have done some purposeful decision-making about holiday eating.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Healthy Supplies Shop is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of healthy supplies shop and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.