With Christmas right around the corner, some of my clients are looking for advice on how to stay on track . Many are surprised with the lack of rigid guidelines I tend to provide:
- Remember the big picture. A couple days of indulgence is unlikely to derail all of your progress.
- Go easy on the free treats in the lunch room. I didn’t say avoid, just go easy. Many staff rooms are filled with cookies and boxes of chocolates this time of year. It’s ok to choose a couple favourites to include in your day; just make sure to pack your usual healthy snacks as well. Staying well fuelled and hydrated will help prevent overindulgence and sugar crashes.
- Listen to your body. Do you really want seconds, or are you just eating more because it’s there? If having that extra bite will bring you additional joy rather than putting you over the edge and leaving you uncomfortable for the rest of the night, then go for it! Otherwise, save it for tomorrow.
- There are no “bad” or “evil” foods. (unless you have an allergy, intolerance, medical, or religious reason to avoid certain items) Moderation is key!
- You don’t need to live on cabbage soup or “fast” to save up for Christmas dinner. You also don’t need to fill up on vegetables before going to a holiday party in order to reduce temptation. I see these suggestions all too often and they do not really jive with having a healthy relationship with food.
- Stay hydrated! Choosing water in between fun holiday beverages will help you to stay hydrated and feel better the next day
- Stay active! This doesn’t have to mean missing family time or events to go to the gym. Do something fun with your family. Skating, hiking, strolling through the neighbourhood to look at the lights-it all counts! Aim to do something every day, even if it is just a 15-minute walk or a quiet yoga session before the family wakes up. Finding this activity time will also do wonders for your mental health.
- You do not need to do a “cleanse” or begin a strict diet to start the new year off healthy. Instead, choose a balanced diet (lots of veggies & fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins), hydrate well, and stay active!
- Try not to overthink it! The holiday season can be stressful enough without the added worry of restrictive diets. Relax, go for a walk, enjoy some of Aunt Bethany’s Jello Mold ? and then get back on track (in a guilt-free way) the next day.