The longest holidays of the year are almost here, which is often synonymous with loss of control of our eating habits by excessive food and drinks intake.
It’s easy to think that because it’s the end of the year that we can have as much food and alcohol as we wish, because at the beginning of the new year on January 1, we will have a fresh start, full of good intentions to live the healthiest year ever.
What if this year is going to be different? What if you are going to close this year with the good intentions and habits that you set at the beginning of 2018? What if you don’t wait for the new year to start, but you take action now?
I understand that it’s difficult to keep our good habits when we are in an unfavorable environment, but I would like to give you some tips today that I hope will help you to enjoy a happy holiday that is also healthy.
1. Do not leave, for January, what you can start doing today.
If our thought is “I’ll start on Monday” or “I’ll start on January 1” what we are doing is giving ourselves permission to exceed even more than we would normally. If you want to take care of yourself, you don’t need to wait, you can start doing it right now.
2. Eat something before going to the celebrations so that you don’t arrive too hungry.
This will help you to avoid eating oversized portions too quickly. You can eat a fruit or some nuts or prepare any of these delicious recipes.
3. If you are going to be out all day, or more consecutive days, take healthy snacks with you.
If you know that you will not have access to your healthy snacks, put some in your pocket or purse. Prepare some energy balls, some chickpea croutons or some seed crackers. You can also bring some of your favorite teas.
4. Prepare something healthy for everyone.
Share your knowledge and help others. Share your healthy foods and prepare an appetizer like these cucumbers with sardine spread or a dessert like this apple crumble. I am sure, that if you don’t tell anyone that it’s healthy, everyone will just enjoy it.
5. Keep tempting foods and drinks away from you.
If you have a box of your favorite chocolate bonbons in front of you, it’s very difficult for you to resist consuming them. Give yourself permission to eat one, but then move the box away so that it’s far from your reach and sight.
6. Listen to your body and its signs of hunger and fullness.
If you start to feel hungry and you know that it will take a while before you all
On the other hand, if you notice, during meals, that you are getting full, move the remaining food away from you. And if you notice that you may be eating too much, stop for a moment and remember that uncomfortable feeling that you get every time you eat too much and feel as if you’re going to explode.
7. Don’t let yourself be overcome by haste.
Eat slowly. Take your time. Breathe. Take breaks between bites and leave your fork on the table after every few bites.
8. Eat everything, but in smaller portions.
You may have your favorite dishes that you usually eat only during the holidays. You don’t have to stop eating them, even if they are not very healthy. Of course, considering that there are usually several dishes, limit your portions and remember that you don’t have to make anyone – your mom, grandma or whomever – happy by eating more than you really want.
9. Do not drink alcohol in place of water.
Try to always have a glass of water in front of you and don’t stop taking sips from that same glass. In the afternoon, or as a digestive, you could have tea. Remember, also, that it’s easy to confuse hunger with dehydration, so keep in mind that, if you feel hungry, you may be dehydrated and before eating anything, it’s better to drink a glass of water first.
10. Ignore the negative comments.
I don’t know your family, but in mine, there is always someone who has the role of criticizing, teasing or judging what others do. It often happens when they notice that I am not drinking alcohol or that I am eating small portions. If you have these figures in your family also, be sure to thank them for their opinion and kindly explain that you are adult enough to make your own decisions.
11. Allow yourself to have ‘seconds’, if that is what you want.
We have talked about small portions and eating a little of everything, but if there is something that you love and that you never eat because nobody prepares it like your grandmother / mother / aunt / grandfather / father / uncle, then give yourself permission to get ‘seconds’ without feeling guilty.
12. Move away from the table.
If the celebration around the table is taking a long time, try to get up and take breaks. You could take the opportunity to go to the bathroom, help in the kitchen, play with the kids or stretching.
13. If you notice that you have eaten too much, it’s ok.
Feeling guilty for having done something that we didn’t want to do, it doesn’t’t help. Just take a mental note to prevent it from happening again.
14. Keep maintaining your healthy routines.
Don’t interrupt your healthy habits just because you are on holiday, especially if you have recently started to introduce them to your life.
I strongly recommend that you monitor your habits in some way, especially the new ones. It’s an easy way to adjust to them, and seeing that you’re doing well is a form of reward.
15. Take the opportunity to disconnect completely.
Enjoy family and friends, go for a walk, relax, do a beauty session, do something that you have wanted to do for a long time. Spoil yourself by taking care of yourself.
Finally, here is a simple and very festive idea that you can prepare for your family and friends. If you need more Christmas inspiration, read my blog post The Easiest, Healthy Christmas Recipe.
I wish for you to enjoy this holiday season and, above all, I hope it will be a healthy one.
A big hug and Happy Healthy Life!
Claudia Canu is a former junk and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life and achieve big goals.