Yes, the Holiday Party season has begun. With all the lights, festivities, enticing foods, and that rum-laced eggnog that only come once a year, you might be tempted to throw those dietary resolves to the wind for a few weeks. Besides, you gotta have SOMETHING for those New Year’s Resolutions, right? WRONG! You CAN be different this year and avoid the unwanted creep. I know, I know, it is easier said than done, but here are some helpful tips to get you through the holiday season and still maintain your Paleo resolve.
Begin a food log. Logging what you eat every day, all week helps you to get into the mindset of healthy eating. It also helps you to be aware of what is coming next to help you plan for those parties. And it makes you accountable. If you have to log it the next day, you might not eat it in the first place.
Continue exercising through the holiday season. I know, with all the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, wrapping, family events, it is easy to forgo the exercise. Don’t! An added benefit of exercise in the holiday season is that it makes you more responsive to when you are REALLY hungry. It helps you manage your eating. Further, exercise relieves anxiety, so when you arrive at those parties you can do so relaxed and in control, which makes you less susceptible to emotional eating.
Have a plan of attack. For many of the events you go to you, know somewhat of what is going to be there. Decide ahead of time what you will eat, how much you will eat, drink and whether or not you will indulge in dessert or something special. Also, plan what you eat during the day of your event(s). Don’t overindulge at lunch if you know you are going to the office party that night.
Reframe how you view the holiday get togethers. Instead of looking at it as a whole month of parties to get through, take each day as they come. Try to focus on normal schedules and eating the rest of the days. Also, look at these events to be centered around focusing on relationships and seeing people you know, rather than centered around food. Food is secondary. Meet new people, rekindle and strengthen friendships and family bonds.
Manage Stress. Let’s face it. Parties, schedules, and family can bring on stress. Take some time before you hit the party scene or go to grandma’s to identify any triggers for stress. Knowing your triggers before going into the moment will reduce your desire to emotionally eat everything in sight. Have a plan for how you will graciously deal with each trigger.
Fill up before you go to the party. Eat healthy items, such as protein and veggies about an hour before the event. Also, drink at least 8 oz or more of water. Noshing on healthy options helps to stave off hunger and will keep you fuller longer. All this helps to not get caught up in the “eat, drink, and be merry” spirit where you consume too much of everything before you know it. Try this combo: a hardboiled egg, a handful of carrots and an 8 oz. glass of water.
Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much can lower your inhibitions and cause you to over indulge. Try drinking two glasses of water or club soda for every drink of alcohol. It will help you be less likely to throw your Paleo diet to the wind and will probably save you from seeing embarrassing photos posted on social media sites the next day.
Contribute a healthy dish and find healthy eats on the table. Ask your host if you can bring something. At least that way, you know there is one thing you can put on your plate. Then choose a YUMMY Paleo recipe. Most likely you can probably find some Paleo friendly items to eat along the way. Be on the lookout for some of these items: protein (shrimp, beef, chicken, scallops), veggie trays or crudités, and fruit. Fill up on those items. Skip the breads, dips, and cheeses.
WOW your friends with a great outfit and your fit self! Wear clothes that are flattering and show off how hard you have been working this year to stay in shape. Looking great and wearing form fitting, flattering clothes will motivate you when you are tempted to indulge. Hearing how great you look, and answering the questions of how you got to this point, will also inspire you to stay clear of that eggnog.
Now, are you feeling prepared? Let the festivities begin. In the coming days prior to Christmas, we will be posting holiday recipes for you to enjoy taking to parties or serving your family and friends. Just because you are eating healthy, doesn’t mean you forgo great tasting food and elegant dishes!
Until next time, may your festivities be merry and bright!