Did you feel the shift this last week? Halloween has come and gone and the holidays are now in full effect. Christmas carols are playing, turkeys are being picked out, and everyone’s office now officially has a candy bowl (if they didn’t have one already) full of leftover, discounted Halloween candy.
This is by far the most challenging time of year when it comes to eating right. Not only are we in the midst of Holiday Heaven, but we are also in the prime season for all things sports. We are now well into football season, The World Series just ended, and basketball is back. For any of you with kiddos, this means shuttling kids around to all these activities, too. So, busy time.
Just because it is busy doesn’t mean that we should lose our holiday cheer. Quite the opposite. We should be extra thankful for having our family and friends and for having a reason to celebrate!
The problem is when the celebration goes too far. When the holiday becomes holidays. When Thanksgiving and Christmas day turn into weeks or months. Therefore, I decided it was the prime time to compile a list of all the things that I do to keep me on track during the holidays!
1. I remember why I started
This is probably one of the most important rules on the list. If you forget why you ultimately made the decision to change your lifestyle then you will be hard-pressed sticking to it during the holidays.
What to do: Whether it be pray, meditate, deep belly breathing, or making a list, it helps tremendously to take time each day to reflect on your journey. This includes where you started (consider how you felt at your absolute worse) and where you are now. I found that doing a combination of praying, belly breathing, and writing down what I am thankful for go a long way in keeping me sane through the holidays.
2. I adjust
The fun thing about the internet is that you can find an adjustment or alternative to almost anything… especially food! You must keep in mind that other people are not going to adjust for you, though. You must do the adjusting yourself. Do not hesitate to contribute a healthy meal item to your holiday party.
What to do: Need a dish for the potluck? Google “paleo”, “low carb”, “autoimmune paleo” and insert your favorite food afterwards. This little trick has been an absolute life-savor for me. For Halloween I made these 4 ingredient paleo pumpkin cookies to help with my holiday sweet treat. You can also check out my Pinterest page for loads of ideas.
3. I just roll with it
Is this the lamest rule yet? Absolutely. I do NOT advise you to alienate yourself from your friends and family during the holidays because you are trying to change your lifestyle. That is a very quick way to lose support. Trust me, your family and friends would rather you be unhealthy and part of their lives over you being super healthy but never see them.
What to do: You have made the choice to become healthy, and that will mean that sometimes you won’t have the best options available to you. That is OK. Do the best you can. For those of you with food sensitivities, just be careful. It is not worth spending the next few days in misery for one food item. Reminding myself of that anytime I smell a big batch of bread helps me trigger my brain to not even desire these foods anymore.
4. I designate myself the driver
This one obviously is referring to the excess intake of alcohol that is common during the holidays. The quickest way to overcome that is to simply designate yourself the driver. Your friends will LOVE you for this one, but it also the easiest excuse to not drink in excess (or at all!). Always have a back-up plan, though. If you do decide to drink, then call a cab or Uber your way home.
What to do: Just say “I’ll drive.”
5. I leave treats for the actual holiday
This rule is non-negotiable. I will occasionally have a low-carb paleo treat (like dark chocolate or the 4 ingredient cookies I made for Halloween). However, when it comes to consuming something with some serious sugar in it, I save that for the big days themselves.
What to do: Enjoy yourself. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa only come around once a year. Enjoy that time with your family, but also be mindful of any food sensitivities. Also, have a game plan for getting back on track the very next day.
If you need help staying on track during the holidays, give me a call at 210-920-0669 or easily set up a free 15-minute appointment online.
Happy Holidays everyone!
The Functional RD