That time of the year has arrived again. For some, the holiday season is filled with joyous bliss while being surrounded by family and loved ones. But for many of us, the holiday season can be a total circus filled with pure dread and fueled by stress.
Regardless of your take on the season, one thing is for certain- this time of year can be the most trying for those of us who have struggled with our weight. Stress, uncomfortable social situations, traveling – all seemingly centered around a single main component, food. For many of us, it’s our worst enemy and simultaneously our best friend. Frenemies.
And the food! It looks and smells so delicious! Maybe I’ll just have one taste. One little helping of potatoes, and gravy, and butter, and Auntie Norma’s famous green bean casserole (because you know she’ll be insulted if you don’t take some, and what is in that cream sauce she puts in there anyway?) Hey, do I see turkey skin on that plate? (Probably not because that skinny cousin of yours always gets to it first and never leaves any for anyone else. We curse her and her stupid skinny jeans that no human should be allowed to wear, ever.)
Why is it so hard?! Maybe, just maybe, this can be the year where we take a few modest steps into putting ourself in control of this holiday madhouse indulgent guilt-fest that we call the holiday season. (And by the way, these tips are not part of any pre-op or post-op diet plan, so please always stick to any diet your physician has recommended for you. For the rest of you, carry on…)
Set a Meal Plan
While you may be dining out in the homes of family and friends and not in control of the overall menu, you still have the ability to control what goes on your plate. Try to follow some basic guidelines:
- Consume proteins first
- Lots of vegetables
- Limit the starches to one small portion
- If you can’t pass up desert, try only a small tasting portion
- Stick with water instead of sugary beverages or alcohol (No alcohol? We feel your pain.)
Take Your Time
It’s so easy to feel excited with so much great food in front of you, but it’s important to slow down and enjoy every bite. Eating slowly will help you properly gauge how full your stomach is and prevent overeating.
Don’t Show Up Hungry
Knowing there’s going to be so much great food at a meal can be exciting unto itself. However, it can also lead us to eat in a frenzied state where we can’t shovel it in fast enough. Our advice is to plan your day around your meal and ensure you have a healthy snack prior to arriving, so you don’t arrive hungry.
Dedicate yourself to making a proper plate of food and sitting down for a meal so you are able to adequately portion the amount of food you take. Grazing easily allows for us to forget (quite conveniently) how much food we’ve actually consumed.
Avoid the Guilt
We’ve all felt it. We feel guilty that we don’t have the relationships we want. We feel guilty we couldn’t do enough. We feel guilty for eating too much and now we feel defeated. But you know what? This guilt isn’t productive. Instead of feeling guilty this year, dedicate yourself to thinking positive. Think of the good things in life, the stuff you are truly grateful for (wasn’t that supposed to be what the holiday season is all about anyway?) Even get excited about changes you can make in your own life to feel better. A new year is almost upon us. Maybe it’s a good time to start thinking about making some positive changes in your life.
From all of us here at the Ready4aChange family, we wish you and your family a healthy, happy Thanksgiving.
Please feel free to share your own holiday survival suggestions. We can all use them!