With the holiday season upon us, we know we will be tempted with certain foods that we associate with festivities, nostalgic memories, or comfort and relaxation.  This year, many people feel as though special food and treats are what will make things “special”, since this year is lacking in the social connections we normally would have. I really get it.  However, it’s important to keep mindful about your long-term goals and health, while also feeling satisfaction and happiness through this festive season.  It’s highly unlikely we can resist all of the temptations, but if you choose to have treats, choose something that you really enjoy. Avoid eating just for the sake of eating.  I would far rather you make conscious choices of what you will enjoy, and no guilt guilt, than mindlessly eat and feel guilty the following day. The guilt we put on ourselves, and the shame-spiral many of us fall into, is detrimental to our mental and physical health.  

Think ahead.  Plan for the foods that are special, and mindfully choose ahead of time when you will have them.  If you consciously think about what it is you want, then you will have less, and whatever you choose will be more enjoyable.  Plan how you will balance things with a healthy meal the very next day.  Realize that you will be right back in your healthy zone as soon as you make your next healthy choice.  Be aware of all-or-nothing thinking.

With alcoholic drinks, it’s always best if you have a glass of water in between each drink; you will feel fuller faster, and this will slow down the effects of the alcohol and help you resist food temptations.  This will also help your body retain less fluid the next day.

The holidays can also be a good time to do some simple exercise.  This year, with less running around to gatherings or parties, there should be no excuse (barring injury or illness) to not move the body.  Even if you just get outside for some walks, do 15 wall push-ups, walk up and down stairs a few times, or just stretch; every movement and muscle you work will benefit your body and mind.

A lot of us are working on diminishing food cravings and this is why I would like everyone to be mindful.  If there are treats around the house, try to be very  careful and eat them only around the time you are eating a higher-protein meal.  This will minimize the impact on your blood sugars and quell the blood sugar rollercoaster that leads to more cravings. 

Truthfully, I’m not too worried about anyone because there are just a couple of days where we might get off track, and there are many more days to allow ourselves to get back to making good food choices.  Don’t feel guilty, you can turn things around right away and there are many more days for your body to feel better and better.

Enjoy whatever time off you have, try to do some exercise, but most importantly, be mindful of what you will eat.  Eat slowly, and if the temptations in one room are too much, go to another part of the house away from the food.

Always remember to never give up trying.  We have holidays and celebrations every year, so just do the best you can, and get back on track as quickly as you can.

You can do it!

Dr. Doug