The number of days before Christmas actually arrives is lessening. The intensity builds and in it my feeling my total lack of perfection does as well. Do you resonate at all with that issue?
The holidays have never had human perfection as their intention, which we know is impossible anyway. A better approach involves knowing what matters to us the most, honoring that, and, at the same time identifying what just isn’t or can’t be that important this year.
It’s the same with the eating fest that we see coming. If a go to a party, I can choose to eat sugar-laden or otherwise unhealthy foods which I know will make me feel wretched after I eat them – sick, perhaps, or tired and bloated. Obviously, I would rather spend my time with acquaintances, friends, and family feeling energetic and joyful.
For holiday preparations and sticking to a food plan that works for us, strategies can enhance our celebrating, even through the toughest situations.
Here are some ideas to help with staying on track with healthy foods for your nourishment and thriving spirit.
1. Remember Your Goals. Keep in mind how you want to feel before you attend those holiday parties and dinners. Staying focused on the greatness you want to feel will help you stay away from foods that make you feel less than great. Set an intention for how you want to feel after each meal and hold yourself accountable by sharing it with a close friend or family member, or write it down and post it where you’ll be reminded – perhaps the bathroom mirror or refrigerator. A choice to indulge in some sugar or other treat is sometimes appropriate, no doubt. Most times, though, we’re better off staying away from America’s greatest recreational drug – sugar.
2. Become the Host. Have your own party and introduce your guests to the healthy foods you’ve been enjoying. If you’re going be a guest away from home, take some healthy food to share. Eat well before the event, something with high protein and healthy fat, so you don’t feel the need for lots of food that comes from “saving up for the event.” A pre-party green smoothie is always a good idea, for example, or some homemade trail mix, or a sliced apple slathered with almond butter.
3. Avoid or Limit Alcohol. It’s no secret that alcohol reduces inhibitions, and can lead you down a slippery slope of making one bad choice after another. Most types of alcohol are also filled with sugar and empty calories. Instead, bring or ask for sparkling water with lemon or lime, and drink two glasses of it before eating the snacks and/or meal.
4. Be Mindful. I’ve been working on this aspect of eating lately, and I notice that people really do eat very fast. Mindful eating: slowing things down, chewing carefully and long, pausing between bites, and even putting your fork down between bites, is better for food enjoyment, digestion, and the pleasure you gain for focusing on lively, informative conversation. Pause periodically and assess your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, and how much more food you need to feel satisfied and comfortable.
5. Remember that Food can be Medicine – Eat healthily and enjoy your time with special people. Take time to enjoy healthy, wholesome meals with your friends and family and remember that you can heal your body and mind with each forkful of delicious food you enjoy. If you have people in your life there who encourage (push) you to eat more, remind yourself and them that you’re here for the people as much as the food.
6. Be Good to Yourself. If you overindulge, leave the guilt behind. It is toxic and only creates more damage. Remind yourself gently, as if you were the nice GPS lady in your car, that you made a wrong turn, and that it is correctable. Then, as you reflect later, you can re-evaluate your strategy and re-do some of its parts that weren’t as effective as you’d like them to be.