As we move into the Holiday Season with all the various Get Togethers, Parties, Family Meals and such, I have a few thoughts about how to survive and, possibly, flourish.
As I’ve said before, “diet” is a word I hate to use. It implies, among other things, a temporary situation, a punishment, a deprivation, something to be either avoided or circumvented as much as possible.
Is it any wonder, then, that when you announce that you are embarking on a <cough> “diet” people around you automatically begin wondering (privately, one would hope) how quickly ‘that’ will end?
If we are being honest, it is not just other people who are wondering that, it is us.
Trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle or tackle allergies or other medical issues is a huge undertaking on its own. Adding holiday eating to the mix only increases the stress.
Some folks never quite ‘get’ that allergies or other medical issues are real things. Others just don’t think it important during the holidays. It can be handled ‘later’.
As you contemplate maneuvering through the potential mine field of holiday eating, think about the following:
Do The Best You Can
Nothing is guaranteed to be perfect and there will always be something unexpected that could sideline you.
Don’t Expect Perfection and Plan Accordingly
If you are going to someone’s home for a meal, presumably you already have an idea of the way they cook. If you have food allergies, I urge you to have a conversation with the cook in advance so you both know what to expect. No one wants to have to contemplate an unexpected trip to the emergency room during a holiday.
If the issue relates more to a healthier eating style, you may be able to ask the cook what they are planning or offer to bring something along. Many cooks would appreciate help getting the meal on the table.
If you are doing the cooking, you have control over what goes into the meal. You can make adjustments that meet dietary needs as you see fit.
I’ve also found that if you want to make some calorie adjustments, unless you announce it in advance, hardly anyone will notice that Granny’s Special Dish just might be a little less caloric than normal. Shocking, but true. 🙂
Don’t Let A Lapse Become Permanent
The biggest, most important <cough> “rule” for holiday eating – or eating anytime – is simply this: If you fall off your eating plan or binge on something special once or twice, don’t beat yourself up over it and don’t make it a permanent change.
In other words; it’s okay to have that moment of extra something as long as you don’t use the moment as an excuse to make it a new life change.
Each day is a new start. What you did yesterday should not impact what you do today or tomorrow. So if you went a bit overboard with the dips and chips yesterday, today you start fresh.
Expect To Be Off Plan – and Plan For It
If you do your meal planning in advance, and you know when you are going to have (or likely to have) holiday treats, include that into your plan.
Even if the holiday treats don’t happen, or you don’t eat as much as you thought you would, you are already on your game because you’ve made room in your plan for them.
Look at the rest of your meals and see if you might tweak them to accommodate potential treat issues. You never know when that cookie tray will arrive at work, right?
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Before you start in on a game of Kick Me, reflect a bit. Did you go out of your way to go off your plan or was it just a minor infraction? What can you do better this coming week? Is it worth making yourself miserable over?
As a general rule, I find the 80/20 guideline to be helpful. That means 80% of the time I follow my plan and the remaining 20% I get to go a bit wild.
I’m not feeling deprived and it gives me motivation to stick with my plan.
When you change your vocabulary, you can change the way you think. “Diet” is temporary. “Lifestyle” is a long term, permanent way of living.
During the holidays you will find many opportunities to go back to “dieting” but I think you will find that you prefer your “lifestyle” and will instinctively move toward it.
You might think I’m crazy, but you might be surprised.
In any event, I know you’ve got this.