5 Ways To Prepare For Holiday Eating
Tis’ the season to be Jolly!
& tis’ also the season to get off track and binge on your mom’s pernil, tía’s broccoli casserole, or your grandma’s pasteles en hoja.
This is also the season of less sun, more food, seasonal depression, loss of motivation and lots of holiday parties that end up sending so many of us off the deep end - so I totally feel you if you've felt like you're lacking motivation and haven’t been consistent lately.
This is the time of year when most of us tend to fall off because it’s cold as all heck and there’s food EVERYWHERE.
It happens every year... It’s the day before Thanksgiving! & we’ve got our food seasoned, our salon appointment booked, our outfits on fleek!
BUT then you catch yourself, the day of, a few hours before, running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
Still cooking that lasagna, painting your nails, doing your hair, your makeup, and rushing to do last minute errands.
No wonder we forget to eat all day!
& then, when you get to the party you want to eat everything in sight.
Before I get into my 5 tips, I want to remind you of your mindset.
Alcohol, treats and food don’t just magically appear during the holidays and then disappear.
Throughout the year there are a ton of other holidays and excuses we make for why we can’t eat healthy:
5 De Mayo
St. Patrick’s Day
4th of July
Should I go on?
There’s always a reason to overindulge in America and in our heads - we’ve been told that this is okay and we internalize it.
Protecting your mindset is going to be important within the holiday season.
Here’s what you should keep in the forefront of your mind:
How you want to feel
What you want to feel
When those things aren’t at the forefront we can often self-sabotage.
I’m here to remind you that you can do this.
You just need to get to a place where you’re able to build your confidence back up, your will power, your discipline and your feel ability to say NO.
The confidence to remember that you are in control of your life.
Once you address your mindset, you can really start honing in on the behavioral aspect that’s been really driving you to self-sabotage for so ling.
Before I continue, I want to make one thing clear: this is not going to be a post that encourages deprivation — quite the opposite actually.
Keep reading :)
#1a. Do Not Skip Meals
I heard a quote the other day that read, “How you practice is how you play the game.”
Which relates so much to health and fitness because if you have been practicing healthy habits all year long, you should have an easier time incorporating that same lifestyle into any holiday.
According to a recent study I read, the average American consumes over 4,500 calories and 200g of fat on Thanksgiving DAY between snacks, drinks and dinner.
That's A LOT of calories on one day.
Most people make the mistake of starving, snacking and gorging on the holidays.
Studies have shown that fasting or nibbling can lead to extreme overeating, overindulgence, anxiety, regret, and shame.
Too many of us give up good habits when your time is short but stick to your regularly scheduled program (as much as possible.)
However, if you start every day with a big full, complete breakfast we should be planning to do the same thing on the holidays.
Many people skip lunch and dinner during the holidays because we want to “make space for dinner” but that’s actually what’s causing you to eat like a savage in the first place.
#1b. Meal Prep
Instead of skipping your breakfast, lunch or snacks that day I encourage you to meal prep the night before!
The holidays bring enormous to-do lists. Add the most important person on your list = YOU.
Put yourself first and make the commitment that you won’t fall into the same traps you did last year.
Start your day off with a balanced breakfast and throughout the rest of the day think about (and practice) eating somewhat similar to how you usually eat.
This is where the practice of discipline will come in for you.
Make sure you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you usually eat breakfast, don't skip it. If you've gotten into the habit of meal prepping your lunch and dinner - keep that up!
Decide what you're going to eat in advance and to keep it manageable, create your meal log the day before. Schedule your time out the day before and prep your meals in advance so that all you need to do is grab and go.
#2. Start Your Day With a Workout
Remember that the goal here is not to add on more stress into your day but instead giving you a positive adrenaline boost and reminder that you don’t have to binge eat on the holidays. Consider what you’ll have going on in that week or that day - for example, will you have family visiting? Will you be traveling? Will you be somewhere that you’ll have access to a gym? All of these things are questions you should ask yourself before you decide what your workout will be for the day/week.
My suggestion is to wake up super early and get your workout in bright and early. Do something you like: a bootcamp class, Yoga cycling, Zumba, lifting - whatever floats your boat.
Decide how long you want to dedicate to your workout. 30 min to - 1 hour is ideal and then challenge yourself to do it no matter what!
This will help you build your discipline and the positive accountability to yourself.
#3. Decide Which food You're Not Skipping
For some reason, we become delusional during the holiday season and think that willpower is going to be enough to withstand the draw of holiday cookies, candy, pastelon, coquito and every other holiday food you love.
Don't be silly!
You’re SUPPOSED to indulge. So how do you not overeat on so much good food this holiday?
DECIDE which foods you have to have that only come around during the holiday (stuffing, sweet potato pie, pastelon, etc.) before the day gets here so that you don't waste calories on foods that you can have all year long.
Instead of hoping your willpower is going to get you through the holiday season, pick the foods and holidays (in advance) worth indulging in.
Be Choosy! Don’t eat something just because it’s there. (Yes, I’m talking about the 5 slices of apple pie you’re looking at.)
The point of doing it before the day is to free yourself of the mental energy when faced with the nagging anxiety that comes with overeating. Do you love your aunties mac and cheese, the apple/ sweet potatoe pie or brownies?
Good - that means you're human. Allow yourself a measured amount, and feel empowered when you pass by the chocolate brownies.
#4. Portion Control
During the holidays, it can be easy to overdo it on your portion sizes. Eating mindfully will also help you with portion control.
Several studies show that those who engage in mindful eating practices are less likely to gain weight. One way to eat mindfully is to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognize your body's signals of fullness and consume fewer calories.
The people who eat large portions tend to gain weight more easily than those who don't.
The best way to overcome this is to eyeball your food or eat off smaller plates. Remember you don't need to have 7 servings of rice or lasagna. Have 1 or 2, enjoy it and keep it moving.
#5. Plan to make/ take some healthy sides or desserts
One of my favorite past times is remixing my favorite traditional dishes into healthier versions.
Myleik Teele had an excellent tip for making or taking a healthy holiday side dish on her Podcast.
I have a homemade apple pie that I’m known for at my house that I love to make. I use it as double duty - 1) I get to cook something healthy 2) I get to use this time to spend with my family and teach them while I do it.
P.S. If you want the recipe - comment below and I’ll add it to this blog post.
Something else Myleik shared in her podcast that I think is such a helpful mindset shift for all of us is:
"Instead of eating everything in site over the holiday plan to make of take some healthy sides this year. You can Google tons of healthier Thanksgiving eats this year and now is the time to start planning for that. There's nothing like feeling proud of yourself for not doing the most when you technically have a pass to do so. It reminds me of the idea of teaching ourselves to do the right thing when we don't necessarily have to because no one's watching. One of my favorite quotes is, 'Success is what you do when you think no one's watching.' Will you do the right thing if you aren't being babysat? Your own personal success depends on YOU."
If all else fails, and you can’t remember any of these tips this year remember this: Enjoy the holidays & all things in moderation.
Your success is up to you!