Next week is Thanksgiving already. This time of year can be incredibly difficult for anyone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. Between the parties, special occasions, and pressure from family, it often feels like our only two choices are cheat or starve. I’ve been through this so many times I’ve learned how to navigate holiday feasting pretty well. Here are a few tips I’ve put together to help you make it through the Holidays and stay on protocol.
1. Plan ahead.
I’ve said this many many times and it’s my number one advice to my dieters - Planning is key! If you’re going to a party and you know there won’t be healthy choices, eat before you leave. If you don’t think that will hold you over, bring an Ideal Protein snack with you. My advice is to bring chips. Most parties provide salsa, and using your own chips makes it the perfect healthy snack! Chocolate soy puffs are also one of my favorites, and a rice crispy bar is sure to help with the sweet cravings.
2. Prepare your own food.
For Thanksgiving with the family or potluck events, prepare and bring a dish that you can eat. This a great way to participate in the festivities without sacrificing your progress. Veggie trays are always a good choice, and roasted veggies like Brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower are perfect for holiday meals. I also really like to bring a Sala full of great veggies and topped with a good Walden Farms dressing like pear or raspberry. The best part is that everyone else at the event will enjoy it too.
3. Have the right mindset.
If you go into a party or a feast thinking you’re going to fail, you probably will. That may seem a little harsh, but it is the truth. Tell yourself instead that you are in control, and you can stay on track. Set intentions and believe that you can achieve them, make a choice for better health. Ask yourself if cheating will be worth it, remind yourself of your goals.
4. Be armed with words.
When you’re being pressured to eat or drink during the holidays, it really helps to prepare what you’re going to say to people. It will never cease to surprise me why so many people seem bent on derailing me when I’m trying to eat healthy. When I choose not to drink, I am relentlessly badgered about why I’m not. When I don’t want a rich and decadent dessert, all I hear “Oh come on, it’s a special occasion!” I think we’ve all heard these things before, so here are a few sayings I like to use:
“I’m not eating that right now, I find that it doesn’t agree with my body.”
“I feel much better when I don’t eat that.”
“I’m the DD tonight.”
“I’m working on making better food choices for my help.”
“I’ve been eating so well lately and I don’t want the holidays to ruin it!”
Just remember, it is okay to say NO.
5. Wear something new to parties and dinners.
This is one of my favorite tips because it’s also fun, and sometimes involves a little shopping! If you’re wearing something that fits well and looks good, you’ll feel motivated to stay on track. Or, you could always wear something that’s still a little tight to help remind you of your goals.
Holidays can be very difficult for a number of reasons. It’s hard enough to be around all the sweets and carbs, but the sheer stress of the travel, planning, and crowds that come along with them can also push us to eat what we shouldn’t. Using these 5 tips aren’t guaranteed to keep you from slipping, but they certainly help. If you have any other tips you’ve tried that work, don’t be afraid to share!