Right from the start it's important to understand that for most people giving in to “food temptations” over the holidays is totally okay and restricting what you eat is completely unnecessary! We say it time and time again but practicing moderation really is the sweet spot when it comes to weight loss and sustaining it long term.
As mentioned in our previous blog "Tips & Tricks for Drinking During the Holidays" one way to instantly reduce stress around food and “temptations” is to make a decision about the type of holiday you want to have and act accordingly! The reality at the end of the day is that gaining a few pounds is totally normal.
But some clients don't want to gain any weight over the holidays and we get that, too. For many clients, sustaining the results that they have worked so hard for over the past months or year is important. Take on the holidays in a way that makes sense for you, your lifestyle and goals.
In today's blog we are going to look at “food temptations” over the holidays and the areas where we see our clients struggle with the most.
The topic of food is tricky! The reality is, for many it's the relationship with food where the real struggle is. Food is not only fuel for our bodies, food can be used as a tool to:
- Cope after a stressful day
- Manage emotions - sadness, anger, overwhelmness
- Reward a great day or accomplishment
- Celebrate events and milestones
- Bring people together
- Deal with loneliness
You can start to see why food and our relationships and behaviors around food can make the holidays a complicated time! Understanding the relationship you have with food and if/how it impacts your actions and behaviors will help you on your health and fitness journey. If you are someone who is interested in learning more about your relationship with food, start by tracking. Write down how you feel in different situations where food is the focus and also how different types of food make you feel. Self assess and seek to understand why you may be feeling this way. This is going to take time and you may feel uncomfortable through the process but as you continue you will not only understand yourself but can begin to change to cycle (if required).
Now let's take a look at some strategies that our clients implement during the busy holiday period to stay on track. As you read the strategies below, you may find a few that resonate with you the most. Focus on these strategies and start implementing them today!
Effective steps to stay on track with your nutrition over the holidays:
- Start every day as a new day! What you had/ did yesterday doesn't matter, start your day fresh with good habits: glass of water, protein dense breakfast…
- Don’t skip meals and drink lots of water. Proper nutrition helps with brain function. Being fueled means you can make decisions you can be proud of! Staying hydrated also staves off the false feelings of hunger.
- Focus on what you want to eat vs what you are trying to avoid. If you tell yourself “I can't have this cake” . . . it's all you're going to be able to think about!! Instead take this approach “I'll hit my protein and veg goal for dinner and have some cake after if you feel like it”.
- Don’t go to social gatherings on an empty stomach. Have a well balanced meal before going out and you will be less likely to pick at snacks all night. When satiated you are less likely to continue eating.
- Try new foods. You might find you actually have a taste for foods you didn’t before. This means you could be getting different nutrients into your body. Trying new foods also improves your potential to have healthier options in your arsenal of foods you enjoy.
- Ask yourself if you are actually hungry. You could be thirsty or maybe even bored so check in with yourself!
- Stop eating when you're 80% full.
- Prioritize sleep - check out our Sleep Blog for more details on how sleep impacts food choices
- Enjoy yourself guilt free!!
There you have it! Nine ways to deal with holiday food ‘temptations’. Looking at food in absolutes (like healthy or not, good or bad) can add a lot of unnecessary stress during the holidays. Practice moderation, start fresh every day and work on implementing the strategies above to help you stay on track.
**Remember, always seek professional help when you feel that’s the best action for you**
What is one strategy you implement to deal with food temptations around the holidays? Leave a comment below, and share this with a friend who is struggling with food this holiday season.