Yes, I said whining, not wining, and yes, I said lie.
I am already hearing concerns from many about holiday weight gain and bloating from overdoing the holiday cheer.
We still have two weeks to go until those New Year’s resolutions get implemented. Why not do yourself a favor and turn up your holiday health plan now? All is not lost – there’s plenty of time to make some tweaks to your approach to get through the holiday season with little damage done.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to say no when faced with homemade traditional sweets or special cocktails at a celebratory event. Who can turn down Aunt Martha’s annual cookathon cookies, Grandma B’s creamed potato dish or Uncle Morty’s secret recipe eggnog?
But here’s the trick – you can have all of those. Just prioritize which makes your mouth water vs. which you’re consuming out of obligation, and then balance out those yummy choices with some healthful ones.
It can be challenging to turn those edible traditions away for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. My first choice would be for you to flex those “just say no” muscles and kindly decline. It’s empowering and feels good and you should experience that.
However, if you absolutely positively cannot decline, then don’t. Instead, lie. Yup, I’m encouraging you to lie for your own greater good and the greater good of your health.
I happen to be a terrible liar. I immediately feel guilty, start to babble and back pedal. Not, however, when it comes to consuming something that I know is going to make me feel terrible.
Luckily for me, I have a husband who likes almost anything so I can push stuff on to him and he’s happy to oblige.
So here’s my dirty little secret. When offered that (fill in the beverage), I graciously take it. I then pretend to sip it, and ultimately head to the bathroom and pour it down the sink. Sometimes I’ll put it in my husband’s glass (yes, he is an enabler), or if no one looking pour into the kitchen sink. Or sometimes I’ll pour out most of it and fill the rest with water. Once that covert operation complete, I get whatever it is I really want to drink. If asked if I want another, I just say “how delicious the first was, but I only allow myself one such treat (we must save some for the others of course!),” or that I’m going to alternate (and then don’t). Then I quickly change the subject and move on to another topic.
The same is true of nibbles. I put it on my plate, fiddle with it and then either put it in my napkin or pocket, share it with the hubby, hide it under something else or slip it into the trash. I may take a bite and leave it visible and say “Gosh, I already ate so many of that/those I cannot eat even one more bite.”
Ultimately, I end up eating the treats I love, and skip out of the ones I don’t without offending. I then surround those with a nice protein, veggies, fresh bread, etc., ultimately having a more healthful meal which fuels me instead of makes me feel bad about “going off.” When you eat a meal that has protein, fat and fiber, you will feel full and will be less likely to over indulge. It also helps if you go into the meal well hydrated!
As we often discuss with our corporate clients, making thoughtful choices or replacing a few questionable choices with smart ones can make all the difference. Small changes make big differences, right?
Below are some of my favorite tradeoff tips:
- Decide where you want to indulge, and where you will exert self-controlFor example, eat only vegetarian and whole food appetizers, so you can indulge on dessert later. Go for the hummus, guacamole, and mashed avocado with spices, vegetable or bean dips, raw nut clusters, or lighter cheeses instead of fried foods, super salty chips, or cream-based dips.
- Move away from the appetizer table – if you stand there chatting, you’ll likely overeat. Instead, stand in a cozy spot in the room, or walk over to greet someone you haven’t seen in a while and focus on the conversation instead of the apps.
- Avoid piling every item on your plate during the first pass at the table. You can always go back for more, so start with a small amount on your plate and eat that mindfully and joyfully.
- Chew instead of gulp. My husband eats a whole hunk of cheese in one bite, while it takes me about 4. Eating in small bites will make you feel satisfied and like you’re getting more.
- Water is your friend, use it! If drinking alcoholic beverages, alternative it with a glass of water. Your head, stomach and health will thank you!
- Plan an activity instead of focusing on the food. A soccer match, board game, group hike are all great ways to spend time together, and support each other’s health goals.
- No good choices available at your holiday gatherings? Offer to bring a healthy side dish. Make something special you enjoy, and that won’t add to your waste line. Try this easy detoxifying Apple Cabbage Salad from Happy Eats Healthy.
What is your favorite holiday tip? C’mon tell me the truth.
With a straight face,
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
P.S. Looking for a gift to help fulfill you or your loved ones 2016 resolutions? Contact me about the upcoming 2016 Virtual Well-Being Reset Program. firstname.lastname@example.org