While Christmas may look very different this year for many of us, I think we can all agree that there will be plentiful amounts of food no matter how we plan to celebrate the holiday. From the cookies and other sweets to side dishes and the main course, you probably feel your progress is ruined just thinking about all you will eat. This doesn’t have to be the case! You can still enjoy all the treats going into the day with a conscious mindset and some determination.
Many people overeat on the holidays simply because there is so much food present and the need to eat it all is at the forefront of their minds. It is easy to adopt this “oh well” attitude and eat all that is in sight only to say you will get back on track tomorrow. This can turn into a vicious cycle leaving you less motivated to start up your healthy diet while continuously craving that holiday food. Instead of restriction, listen to your body’s hunger signals on when and when not to eat. Limiting yourself from the beginning of the day will only lead to stronger cravings for the delicious food in sight. Allow yourself to eat all the food you want, but not without a mindful approach. Do not feel like you have to try everything on Christmas either; we all know there will be plenty of leftovers.
Another tactic people attempt is to save up their calories for the large Christmas dinner. This couldn’t be worse as a huge meal with no prior food in your stomach will cause blood sugar spikes and leave you more likely to overeat in one sitting. Remember, our bodies need energy all throughout the day and food is what gives us this energy to visit with family on zoom calls, help our kids open presents, and go play in the snow/get active! Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch focusing on lots of vegetables and fruit.
The best way not to overeat is to fill your plate rather than mindlessly snacking from the serving dish. If you set out appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, or desserts, put small plates next to them so you can choose what you like and resist the urge to dip your hand back in the cookie jar (pun intended). Still hungry? Definitely go back for more! Taking the initiative to get out in front of mindless eating will help you tune in to your hunger cues as well as choose the foods you actually want to eat, instead of those you feel you should eat just because they are there.
Since most of us will be adopting new holiday traditions this year as travel and visitation are discouraged, take this time to fix new recipes! Incorporate some dishes you may not have been able to before. Create a hearty salad, sauté some mixed vegetables, and even bake some healthier desserts. You have the freedom this year to integrate healthier changes into the Christmas menu, so take advantage of this opportunity and see how much energy you still have at the end of the day!
Christmas day is a celebration with family and friends. Despite the holiday coming together quite differently this year, you can still enjoy your favorite foods in a healthy way. If you do end up overeating, know that this is one day out of the year and that your health is not completely sabotaged. Encourage yourself to focus on healthful foods the following day and please do not restrict! Overeating does not allow you to starve yourself for days to come. Acknowledge how you feel after overeating and remind yourself how you will feel once getting back to your nutritious diet. With some extra attention to the foods around you, Christmas treats can be enjoyed without all the guilt! Kelly’s Choice wishes you a very Merry Christmas!