Ready or not…here come the holidays; celebrations with friends and loved ones. Managing one’s time, emotions and nutrition can be challenging through the holidays though not impossible. A moment spent reviewing these suggestions might bring some peace to your holiday season.
- AVOID “ALL OR NOTHING THINKING”. Allow foods you enjoy throughout the holidays, just be mindful of the serving size, have enough to satisfy without eating to a point of discomfort. Diet mentality or those of deprivation increase feelings of guilt and shame if you “blow it” and all too often the next response is more negative. Minimize setting yourself up for shame and guilt and enjoy the holiday foods in moderation.
- MEAL PLAN. Meal planning is not just for those in intense recovery from an eating disorder. Meal planning can provide some structure and peace during busy times. A meal plan is not a binding contract on what to eat, however, by mapping out a week of meals; lunches, dinners, including parties and dinners out, you’ll be able to see how much food you’ll need at home, what to bring to parties and work, allowing you to find a bit more balance where possible. For example, if you are going to a steak house for a dinner party, plan a fish or chicken dish the day before. Just a little awareness around your week may reduce the anxiety or stress around food.
- BE MINDFUL OF GRAZING. Holiday parties can be a lot of fun and a lot of food. Chatting with friends and playing games can decrease one’s awareness with food intake. If you are anxious about over or undereating, try not to pick or graze at the table of food. Pick up a small plate for appetizers and a larger plate for your meal. Select what you want at each time and put it on the plate, and then you can eat the food at whatever pace you like. Don’t forget a small plate for dessert as well!
- UNDER PROMISE/OVER DELIVER. Careful not to over book yourself. We can only be in one place at a time, make peace of mind a priority. Stress can lead to poor sleep, poor nutrition habits which affect your mood, and not for the better! Set aside time for your usual de-stressors; i.e. yoga, meditation, reading, writing etc.
- DON’T SKIP MEALS. I cannot write about balance and leave this one out, even at the risk of repeating myself. Skipping meals does not work as an attempt to eat less. Skipping meals leads to more hunger (over eating), a slower metabolism and slower digestion which can cause indigestion and discomfort.