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Guilt Free Holiday Eating |

Guilt Free Holiday Eating

As the holidays approach, we find ourselves surrounded with cookies, cakes, candies, stuffing, sauces, and a variety of delectable foods. Trying to eat right and have well-balanced meals is usually tough, and makes us feel guilty when we stray from our normal routine. But should we really be remorseful? And do we really have to substitute low-fat foods for our traditional holiday favorites? Certainly, you will find sensible approaches to eating; however, sometimes it’s really nice to just let down your guard and go for it!

If you typically watch yourself and maintain a healthy diet throughout the year, the holidays can be a time to let yourself relax and loosen the reins. Obviously, we all have to eat to survive; however, food and socializing go naturally together. As humans, we love to share our meals. Whether it’s with your partner, friends, family or co-workers; food is almost always shared. During the holidays, our socializing increases with parties, events, and family functions where food and drink are abundantly served. Clearly, we are not just gathering for nutritional purposes, but rather to catch up on the latest news and gossip with those in our social circles. Of course it’s a bonus if you can have a healthy meal, so when you approach a banquet table, remember, you always have the power of choice to pick the foods you want. You should eat the way you want without any shame or guilt about it afterward.

Give Yourself a Break

If you’re concerned that you’ll waver too much, set a goal for yourself. Be realistic and remember to focus on your accomplishments. Prioritize what is important to you and recognize that it is okay to set boundaries with your time and your diet. You know you can’t be everywhere and do it all, so try not to please everyone. Decide what is truly important to you and commit to it.

Take into account the difference between simple facts vs. hype. Recognize that gym memberships and weight loss programs will be advertised throughout December and especially in January. They will talk about holiday weight gain, and lack of exercise, while manipulating you with guilt and shame. But do individuals really gain up to 10 pounds or more during the holiday season? Numerous studies indicate the average person only gains about 1-2 pounds throughout the holiday and winter season. The problem is that many individuals do not lose the added weight, and so it tends to accumulate over the years.

What does this mean for you? It means you can take it a bit easier as well as consider exactly how you plan to lose that extra pound or two, or perhaps not gain it at all. Remember what you’ve always heard: everything in moderation.

Finding Balance

As with anything in life, an excessive amount of a good thing can turn out to be bad. Here are some tips to help you maintain your healthy eating goals throughout the holiday season:

•   Don’t skip meals and go to your event hungry. Instead, make an effort to maintain your normal eating habits whenever you can.

•   Have a healthy snack ahead of time. A healthy granola or power bar will help you to manage your food cravings and eat less.

•   When you arrive at your event, take a look at the available food and beverages and make a quick plan of what you want to eat.

•   Choose to fill your plate with the healthiest foods first, such as fruits, vegetables, salads, etc. Politely decline any foods that you don’t want.

•   Keep track of how much you drink. Alcoholic beverages add unnecessary calories to whatever you eat. Try to drink water or seltzer in between alcoholic drinks to consume less.

•   When you’re going to indulge, cut back on something else later to even yourself out.

Physical exercise is also important. If you exercise, stick as close as possible to your usual routine. Schedule half an hour a day to complete some type of physical activity. Walking is always a great option. It’s better to do something than nothing. Incorporating physical activity with your holiday eating strategies will help you maintain your current weight and overall well-being.

Ultimately, the holidays are meant to be fun! Approach them on your own terms and let go of any pangs of shame, guilt, or bad feelings.

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