Visualize Your Holiday: How to enjoy your food and NOT feel guilty

November 23, 2016

 

I'm gonna eat pumpkin pie with whipped cream this holiday and I'm going to have some egg nog too! Hurray! I'm going to enjoy my pie and nog guilt-free, without thinking I'm being unhealthy- and I'll tell you why you should too. A number of years ago I heard Yoni Freedhoff, MD, and author of The Diet Fix, give a lecture to fitness professionals on health, weight loss and life in general. He said a lot of things that day regarding nutrition and diets, but there's one thing he said that I remember verbatim. He said "Your BEST weight is the weight you're at when you are living your most healthy life and genuinely enjoying it." Highlight the part that you have to "genuinely enjoy" this healthy life. To me, that means you enjoy the special moments in life, you celebrate when it's time to celebrate and you enjoy in traditions because they mean something to you. Every Christmas my mom and I enjoy a glass of egg nog together, it's tradition. Every Thanksgiving my grandmother makes pumpkins pies from scratch and they are delicious.

"Your BEST weight is the weight you're at when

you are living your most healthy life

and genuinely enjoying it." - Freedhoff

Now, sure I'm a trainer and I'm not suppose to advocate for sugar, fats, etc.; however, I'm not saying I have as much egg nog and pumpkin pie whenever I want. I am saying that I always allow myself to truly enjoy my life in these special holiday moments without feeling like I'm getting off track with my healthy lifestyle.

 

I also know that I like pumpkin pie, so when it comes dessert time, I have planned to take a slice. This way I don't aimlessly peruse the dessert station filling up the plate with small tastes of everything. I get what I like and I get out. 

 

How visualizing your holiday meal allows you to make better decisions

Practice visualization before your holiday meal. This is seeing yourself do something in your mind so that when it comes time to do it you are more likely to do it the way you intended to. Thinking about your holiday meal ahead of time in your mind allows you to practice having the situation go your way so you don't feel bad about yourself or feel defeated later. Set a direction you want to take this year- maybe that means spending more time running around with the kids outside before/after the meal, or maybe that means having one sensible helping of everything you want and not stuffing yourself into a couch coma.

 

It's a good idea to plan to on eating more than once on the holiday. Do not "save" yourself for one big meal. If you have a normal eating schedule that day, you will still enjoy the meal but you will also enjoy the event.

If your big celebrations is at night, commit to having normal eating patterns before the festivities. Starving yourself beforehand ends up leading you to a hunger state of being too far gone

If your big celebrations is at night, commit to having normal eating patterns before the festivities.

Starving yourself beforehand ends up leading you to a hunger state of being too far gone. In this state of intense hunger pangs, one become more tense and restless than usual (and let's face it, at family gathering the last thing anyone need is a bunch of tense people). Urban dictionary calls this type of intense hunger, "hangry" (hungry and angry). Now, when this hungry, as you do get to eat, you will inhale your food and eat until you drop. This type of overeating really zaps your energy, you'll find yourself in snooze on the couch and wake up to feeling like you missed your holiday.

 

For breakfast, have something energizing and satisfying. You will need energy for the day, whether you are going to be the person cooking or you plan to participate in a family game of touch football. Have a light, low-carb lunch and try to integrate raw, fibrous greens into the meal.

If your big celebration is in the afternoon, commit to eating a meal later in the evening. When you mentally give yourself the freedom to satisfy yourself a second time that day, you are more apt to listen to your internal appetite and not overeat.

If your big celebration is in the afternoon, commit to eating a meal later in the evening. When you mentally give yourself the freedom to satisfy yourself a second time that day, you are more apt to listen to your internal appetite and not overeat. When there are an array of dishes in front of you, ask yourself which foods are you really hungry for and which foods do you really like. Sure you may want to taste all of them, but when we taste them all we risk eating beyond what satisfies our stomach. Am I eating more of this food because I'm afraid it won't be there tomorrow?

 

You can take home leftovers from your meal- you don't have to eat until your stuffed- you'll have a great meal for later that evening. Always consider, am I eating this food right now because I like it or because everyone else is eating it? Just because there are chips and/or snacks on the table does not meant you have to eat them. Consciously choose your food. Only eat the chips if you want them, like them or feel like they will satisfy your appetite- not just cuz they're sitting there.

 

Give it a try. Think about your holiday. What foods are you really looking forward to? Give yourself permission to enjoy those items in a sensible manner. Resist the urge to grab food just because it's there. Enjoy festivities in this manner and it won't take away from your healthy lifestyle- you'll be at the right weight for a life that is worth living.

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