The holiday season can be so hard for many trying to eat well and feel good. Guilt, which I believe should never be associated with food in anyway, often follows a holiday binge. And often, one slightly less than stellar meal turns into a rotten day, turns into a weekend binge, turns into, ‘I’ll just wait til after the first of the year’. You’ve been there, haven’t you?
Here are some tips to help you get through these next few weeks and not increase your waistline, not feel awful from the blood sugar rush and not have your head hanging in shame by January 1st. (keep in mind, choices with food should never induce feelings of guilt or shame, but that’s another story!)
Purpose to do your best making healthy and wise choices. Actually believe you can make it through the next two weeks relatively unscathed. Believe in yourself and believe that God’s grace is sufficient to keep you!
Now that you have decided you are going to give it your all, make a plan. Have a vision. Where there is no vision . . . well, these versions are quite cool. (Pr. 29:18)
Without revelation (vision, plan) people run wild . . .
Where there is not vision, the people are unrestrained . . .
Where there is no vision, the people perish . . .
You must have some sort of ‘plan’ in place or you will go the way of your flesh every time. At least with a plan, you have options. You may not always choose best, but at least you have options. Sometimes I can totally ‘man up’ and not eat off plan, sometimes it is torture. Sometimes I just don’t want the battle. When you eat well 99% of the time there is nothing wrong with having a plan and removing most of the need to resist.
Always, always go into your party or gathering well hydrated.
Never go hungry. I would rather go into the lion’s den pretty satisfied and risk going way over on calories than show up starved. Starved and temptation do NOT play well together. Even if you can resist, you probably will not be happy about it. Eat a high protein snack/meal before you go, even if there will be a full dinner. That way, you can pick and choose and not really need a lot to eat. If you know there is going to be plenty of protein for dinner, as in, ham, meatballs, turkey, etc, still eat something before you go. Trust me, it helps with resolve.
While there, load you plate with PROTEIN! Any you can get your hands on. Don’t worry about the fat, just stay away from the carbs and EAT PROTEIN. Protein is very satiating and even if you ‘cave’ later with dessert you won’t be able to eat as much.
If you are unsure of what is being served, bring a huge protein based salad or dish to pass. Something you love and can eat your fill of. Or, bring a huge salad or veg type dish to pass and fill your plate with that and take samples of whatever else is served. You will have already had your fill of protein before you go and the salad or veg will take up some serious space in your belly.
Bring a cheese and meat platter to pass and munch on this during appetizer time. Bring a delicious creamy and cheesy low carb dip with veggie sticks. Pepperoni chips with dip is also a great option.
Okay, now it is dessert time. The table is filled with various desserts, pies, cookies, brownies, etc. Now what? Well, first of all, know that it is all garbage to your body, no matter how much love was put into it. No matter how many memories you have with this particular dessert. That helps a bit, until you get real close, then, often, emotions take over and before you even know it you have stuffed three of your favorite cookies in your mouth and you don’t even remember it happening.
One thing I ALWAYS do is bring my own dessert. I have accumulated several beyond fantastic sugar-free, low carb desserts that I LOVE, not just like, but LOVE. Many I would even rather have over a sugar laden dessert any day of the week. So, make something special and bring it and eat all you want of it, especially if it keeps your face out of the pie, or cake or éclair.
You will NOT feel deprived should you choose to not imbibe in the desserts. Now, here is where you can make a grown up decision. I am not so legalistic to say that one should never, ever eat Grandma’s Banket that she makes once a year and has since before you were born. Depending on where you are with your relationship with food, you could choose to have a piece, or you could decide not to. You are grown up, you can make these choices. YOU have power over food, not the other way around. There most definitely is a time to just enjoy what is before, knowing there may be some consequences, but you have counted the cost and made a decision.
Here’s the cool thing, though, your ‘sweet tooth’ has been satisfied by your own special dessert that you likely will only eat a little bit of your beloved treat. If you have not had something you love, you are liable to be very, very crabby in resisting and feeling so deprived, OR, you will simple enjoy a few bites and have no real ramifications from the slight indulgence. YOU can choose!!
Remember, while food seems to be so central to our culture, and not even for the food and traditions sake anymore, but mass volumes of garbage, often times, simply to have MORE, it is the people you are with that are of utmost importance. You really can enjoy the people and the food be just something you share. Plan to make it about who you are with and how you can love them and serve them versus being the first in line for what you have been waiting for since last Christmas. It’s just food.
After the party? Do NOT feel like you ‘blew it’ no matter what you ate and do NOT let it derail you for the rest of the day or weekend or rest of the year. Even one horrendously off plan meal will NOT make you fat, thwart your health goals or make you a bad person. Now, several meals turned into weeks will put a serious damper on your goals, but not one meal! Keep it to that one meal or that one treat. Wake up the next day, make yourself a bit plate of bacon and eggs and move on. Period. Do not try to undo, punish yourself or feel guilty. Move and eat well!! Go for a walk if it will make you feel better, but pity’s sake, just move on and eat well.
Treat yourself like someone you love. Take care of you, you are worth it. You deserve to be free, to be healthy, and to make wise choices. And, it is perfectly fine to enjoy a treat, you hold the power on whether that treat turns into an all-out binge with ensuing guilt and condemnation, bloating, water gain, and blood sugar crashes or it is just one meal in time with not a lot of ramifications. YOU get to choose. Realize that. It’s powerful to know that you do NOT have to succumb to weeks of eating poorly.