It's that time of year again pumpkin spice lattes, ugly sweater parties, egg nog and lots of late nights. During this time of year it is easy to see your health goals backslide because of the poor habits we adopt.
We allow ourself to think we are exempt from the consequences of our repeated bad choices because It's that time of year again, but the fact of the matter is that poor choices are poor choices any season of the year.
I think that the largest driver behind a lot of these poor choices has to do with our cravings, and the abundance of the sugary and fatty foods that surround us during the holiday season.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about attending social events and seeing people you care about, and not always trying to be perfect with your nutrition.
This blog covers my top 15 recommendations for handling the holiday cravings.
1.) Eat Before Social Events: Make sure to eat before an event to curb the cravings for junk food. Eating before an event will allow you to feel satiated with the better foods reducing the want or need for other foods.
2.) Eat Adequate Protein and Fat Before The Event: protein and fat are high satiety foods and will keep you fuller for longer, curbing those cookie cravings.
3.) Focus On Being Around Loved Ones : When you change the focus to being around friends and family, the food becomes less of an issue. Remember the holidays are about giving and celebrating with loved ones, not that third slice of pie.
4.) Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No Thank You” To Foods: There are always food pushers at social events with food, they try to pressure you to eat certain foods or say things like “you can make an exception for…” Be confident and comfortable telling someone “no thank you” or saying “I’m full”. Your health is yours, don’t let others influence what you choose to eat, that can be a slippery slope.
5.) Set Limits Before Heading Out: Make agreements with yourself before social events such as how many drinks you will have or what foods you are going to strictly avoid. Respect the agreement you made with yourself and don't let others influence your agreements, treat yourself well.
6.) Get Plenty Of Sleep: Getting adequate sleep allows for less unhealthy cravings, builds more muscle and helps the body recover from daily stresses. Sleep is crucial to our health, and lack of sleep can negatively affect decision making skills and your will power.
7.) Workout Before Social Events: If you end up indulging at a social event the exercise will allow the body to better deal with the extra sugar, fat, and alcohol you have consumed. Exercise can also be a great motivator to help people continue healthy habits with nutrition and sleep.
8.) Bring Food To Share: If you bring a healthier option to share you are guaranteed to have a healthier option. When leading by example you might encourage some conversations around food and nutrition. Use this as an opportunity to educate others on nutrition and to hear what others have to think and share what you know as well. Don't be combative with your view points, focus on what you have in common with others instead of the differences.
9.) Start With The Healthier Options: When you start with the healthier options at a party it leaves less room on your plate for the junk foods we are trying to avoid. By the time you eat those healthier options and nourish your body, the craving for other food will naturally be cured.
10.) Eat Slowly And Chew Well: We need to give enough time for our gut to signal the brain saying that we are well nourished and no longer require any more food. This signal from the gut turns the hunger signal in the brain off and can take about up 20 minutes.
By eating too quickly we are able to bypass these hard wired signals and over consume food before our gut and brain have the chance to shut down the hunger signal. This habit also overloads our digestion making it work much harder than it should to process the extreme amount of food we have consumed.
11.) Before Indulging ask yourself “How Important Is This To Me Compared To My Long Term Health Goals?”: When you make a decision between better and poorer options, realize at that moment that is what you wanted the most.
There is no going back you should not feel guilty about about it. I’ve heard Dallas Hartwig from Whole9 and the Whole 30 say before “ No guilt, just consequences” and that hits the nail right on the head.
Typically when we make less than healthy choices we can feel a negative reaction in our body, that is the consequence. The Shame,guilt and stress that we put on our self is much more damaging that the actual food we consumed. No guilt, just consequences. You can't undo that choice, move forward without any shame or guilt.
12.) Stay Hydrated: The hunger and thirst signal can be confused by the body. It sounds funny to think that we could make this simple mistake, but we do it all the time with unnecessary snacking. Next time you feel an urge to snack, drink a tall glass of water and see if you still feel the same hunger afterwards. When out at a social event with unhealthy options decrease the chance of mindless snacking by staying properly hydrated, it can also help with hangovers.
13.)Be Selective With Food Choices: If you are going to indulge, keep it gluten and hydrogenated/trans fat free. Make the treat worthwhile, don’t make an exception for a regular old christmas sugar cookie. Make the indulgence something decadent and memorable. In short, go big or go home with the indulgence.
14.) HCL and Digestive Enzymes: Overloading our digestion with too much food and unhealthy options is a digestive distress double whammy, sure to make it feel like you have a brick in your stomach. Take some of the burden off your digestive system by supplementing with HCL (hydrochloric acid) and digestive enzymes to allow for greater breakdown of foods. These are especially helpful supplements when planning to eat a larger meal.
15.) Return To Your Normal Routine The Next Morning: The occasional indulgence can be good for to help folks kick their heels up and enjoy social events. It is equally important to get back on track the next morning though. Many people let one indulgence turn into a few days or a week of unhealthy habits. Avoid this by making an agreement with yourself that the very next day you are getting back into your healthy nutrition and sleep habits.
If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.
These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.
Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.
Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.