Is Holiday health possible? I know, your first response is probably not “NO”, but “HELL NO”.
Holiday meals are so yummy.
And many of us eat our feelings in both good and bad ways over the Holidays. For many reasons, eating and Holidays go hand in hand. And it’s true, beyond the way it can make us feel, all the best foods and snacks surround this time of year. Work parties, friends and family gatherings, and the meals on the big days are beyond what we do on the normal days of the year. And if you are social butterflies, the season of joy can last for 6-7 weeks. That is a very long time and a lot of damage can be in that time when it comes to Holiday eating.
I’ve gotten away from the question a little bit with my rambling about the holiday meals. So, let me answer the question. Do I think Holiday health is possible? I do think it is possible to be healthier during the holidays. I think it is like anything else that you make decisions about in your lives.
It starts with the answer to a question. Do I want to be healthy during the holidays?
If your answer is No, then you probably want to stop reading now. If your answer is Yes, then let’s explore the preparation needed so that you can be successful.
- I think it is important to understand how serious you are about being healthier. You have to at least be a 7 out of 10, otherwise what’s the point. You aren’t doing yourself any favors if you don’t at least feel you can commit to a 7 out of 10.
- You have more decisions to make because every holiday gathering is going to have temptations.
- Are there parties or gatherings that are more important to you than others?
- Do you need to attend them all?
- Decisions to these questions might impact the amount of potential damage.
- More questions to answer
- are you currently eliminating gluten, sugar, dairy, food intolerance?
- If so, you may want to consider which ones you are willing to compromise.
- Clearly consider the impact of the compromise. Gluten for instance can do a lot of damage if you have autoimmune.
- And if you only compromise once or twice, your body can probably tolerate it. If you are going to be compromising the entire holiday season, that is another matter could set yourself back significantly from a health perspective.
- Are you willing to undo all of the good that your focus on health has already provided for you?
Now that you know what functions you want or need to attend and what you are willing to compromise, the next thing to consider is your mental fortitude. You know of course that your mind will fail you first. Your will power will give long before your body will. It’s true. Why is that you might ask? Well, your mind is tied to all of the wonderful memories of eating and socializing. It brings comfort to you emotionally and when it is all tied together like that, emotionally, you will want to experience that again. It felt so good.
The trick is to prepare for it.
Know that it is coming. Maybe some of the tips below will be helpful.
- Clearly decide that your health is more important to you than the emotional memories that you are going to fight with over the Holidays.
- Set a goal for your health for the holiday season. A goal might be
- 80% healthy foods, 20% not so great for me foods.
- Decide on some action items that might help with that goal
- Eat your own healthy foods before attending many of the social functions so you don’t have to eat so much there
- Bring some healthy dishes for yourself to the functions so that you make sure you have something there for you to eat.
- Figure out some healthier ways to make your favorite desserts so that you can still enjoy them, there are lots of resources out there.
- Make it fun. Being healthy doesn’t have to be a drag.
- Believe in your decision to be healthy. It is a choice you have made for you
- Be positive about it. It’s a good thing
- Don’t answer to anyone about your choice. It’s your life and you get to choose how you want to live it.
- Just say “I’ve made some changes in the way that I eat”. End of story.
- Have fun, it is the Holidays after all. You aren’t a Debby Downer just because you’ve chosen to eat a little different than everyone else.
I’ve saved the most important item for last.
It is most important not to stress over it all. Why? Because the Holidays in general have so much stress around them. If choosing the path of least resistance makes your life simpler then don’t fuss, just enjoy the holidays. If it means eating the meal your family has prepared, you might decide this is the best option for you.
My point is, if you have chosen health, determine what that means to you and then stop worrying about it. Just do your best and enjoy. It is the Holidays after all.