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Healthy Eating During The Holidays

In America, the holiday season seems to start with Halloween on October 31st and goes all the way until January 1st. Halloween begins the candy binge. All your favorite candies just staring you in the face. You hate to throw them away because someone paid a lot of money for that candy. You tell yourself, I’ll just eat a few pieces a day until they are gone. A few pieces turned into the whole bag of candy by the end of the day. Then comes the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone knows Thanksgiving is about stuffing as much food as possible into your mouth that your stomach can handle, right? After eating all of that food, you take a nap and repeat the same process. Next holiday is Christmas. The Christmas season seems to be about cookies and desserts we only eat during the Christmas season. And don’t forget about the punch made with fruit juice and some form of lemon-lime soda. There are also many family gatherings and parties at work and friends’ homes. The last holiday is New Year’s Day. The types of foods served at New Year’s parties are usually what we call finger foods. Those could be bacon wrapped smokies, cheese dip with tortilla chips or anything else you don’t need utensils to eat. If you think about it, that’s almost two full months of eating large amounts of food. It’s like its ok during these two months to eat whatever you want because it’s the holidays. Have you ever thought of the word holiday? Break it apart and you get holi-day. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are all ONE day. So why do we overeat for the season? The reason it has been programmed into us that it’s ok to overeat for those two months. Besides, with New Year’s approaching, that will be one of your resolutions, lose weight and get healthy. (How many times have you made this resolution and not followed through?)

I am not trying to make you feel bad about enjoying all the wonderful food that we only eat at this time of year. I used to think this way about the holidays, eat until I’m stuffed. In 2013 I decided to do something different on Thanksgiving. I decided to do a 1 mile run/walk and not to stuff myself with food to the point of getting sick. The local YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) had a 5K and 1 mile run/walk on Thanksgiving morning. I used to think who in the world would do this on a holiday. That’s a day to sleep in and wait for the food to be cooked. I signed up for it and wondered why I hadn’t done this before. It was cold and windy, but I had overcome my old way of thinking about the holiday. At the Thanksgiving meal, I reminded myself to only take small amounts of the food I really wanted because if I wanted more, I could go back and get more. There was

no need to pile my plate with mounds of food fearing it would be gone later. I also told myself if what I wanted did run out, it was ok. After eating my one plate of food, I noticed I was satisfied and didn’t need a nap after I finished eating. I decided to try the same thing for Christmas. The holiday parties I went to, I chose the smallest plate and took only what I really wanted and told myself if I wanted to, I get more food. I was still satisfied with the one plate. When I gave myself permission to have more food if I wanted to, it was like it didn’t have control over me anymore. “The Maintenance Mindset” for the holiday season is realizing you have control over what you eat during the holiday season; the food doesn’t have to control you. In my opinion, the reason we want to overeat during the holidays is some of the foods available are only available or cooked in November and December. Our mind tells us, eat all you can because it’ll be gone later. Stop thinking this way! Many of the foods we eat during the holidays can be bought or prepared at other times of the year. We associate them with the holiday and don’t think we can make them any other time. Reprogram your brain for the holidays. Here are some things to think about this holiday season to help you stay on track with your eating:

  • Remember that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are one day only, not several months. Don’t use the holiday season as an excuse to overeat.

  • When going to parties or family gatherings, choose the smallest plate to put your food on. This will make your food selection seems bigger.

  • Only eat the foods you really enjoy. Don’t put the food on your plate just because it’s available.

  • Don’t be afraid to say “No Thank You” if you are offered food and really don’t want it.

  • Try to stay active during the holiday season. If you live in a place where the weather is very cold, try to do some indoor exercises. Some local gyms have walking tracks you may be able to use.

Remember the holiday time is about spending time with people you care about not about eating as much food as possible.

If you are ready to begin your journey to a healthier you, then check out my book on

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