Getting through the holidays with your waist intact

Nutrition Wellness

With Halloween behind us and New Year’s Eve on the way, the sugar season is in full swing. We’ve got cookie exchanges, office parties and family dinners to look forward to (or not), but how are we going to keep off unwanted pounds without depriving ourselves of all those treats?

That really is the issue when it comes to the season of hors d’ oeuvres and desserts. We don’t want to deny ourselves the pleasure of all those tasty treats. We can spend extra time in the gym and starve ourselves before the party, so we can justify a splurge, but what we really need is a holiday mindset makeover. Here are a few simple mind switches to make this holiday season:

  • Deprivation – Instead of thinking you will deprive yourself of flavor and enjoyment when you pass by the triple decker, deluxe, death by chocolate cake, think of the diabetes, heart disease, heart burn, joint pain and mood swings you will not have to worry about. Yes, you will be depriving yourself of a life of pain and suffering, but I’m guessing you’d be okay with that.
  • Flavor – You don’t have to eat the whole cake to enjoy the flavor. Choose smaller serving sizes. You still get the mouth feel, pleasure, and taste but with fewer calories which means less weight gain.
  • Balance – Healthy behaviors don’t make up for unhealthy behaviors. There isn’t a scale where you put broccoli on one side and balance it with sugar on the other side. Healthy actions won’t erase the consequences of unhealthy actions. Exercise because it makes you feel good and energized, not because you want to binge at the cookie exchange. Engage in intermittent fasting because it reduces inflammation in your body, not because you want to save up all your calories for pigging out at a party. 

Now that we’ve changed our minds about a few things, here are some tips to getting through the season with your health intact:

  • Plan ahead – You know what to expect, so plan how you will respond; write it down and say it out loud. 
  • Use positive language – Instead of saying, “I won’t eat the death by chocolate cake,” say, “I will eat two or three bites of the death by chocolate if I feel like it.” Your brain doesn’t register negative words, so when framed in the negative, it will just hear death by chocolate cake and you will end up eating the whole thing. When framing it positively, the brain will hear two or three bites of cake and it will be easier for you to stick to a smaller serving as you and your brain will be on the same page.
  • Change what you can – If your friends want to do a cookie exchange, suggest a fun sock, holiday mug, or ornament exchange instead. It’s just as much fun, a whole lot less work and easier on the waistline. If you get to bring a dish to share, choose something without sugar because there will be plenty of people bringing dessert.

Now you are all set to enjoy the holidays with all the flavors, textures and fun!