Santa or Healthy Holidays: Which one is a myth?

a-delicious-and-healthy-holiday-dinner-L-6Qe36xNow, religion aside, (as our family is made-up of a Nazarene/Jewish/converted Catholic which leans Agnostic and an Episcopalian/Spiritualist and is constantly searching) I use the euphemism of Santa Claus as a non-religious example of what the winter holidays have become to many of us: a time of excess for the point of being excessive.

The conundrums of the season:

“I can’t live my healthy lifestyle during the holiday season because there are too many temptations.”

“It’s only a few weeks and I will eventually get back on track.”

“I do it every year and my New Year’s resolution is when I really mean business.”

These are the internal monologues we have carried along with us with every year past, but the reality is that this time of year is the one where many of us take three steps back and rarely find the strength to get even two of them forward.

Holiday parties are where many of us get tripped-up. Without fail, this can be the toughest of situations to navigate. Add some booze to the equation and the inhibitions tend to go right out the window. How do you maintain the urge to binge?

First, remember your food addictions and their triggers and realize that just one bite could possibly create a snowball effect that can last well through the new year and this can add 10 or more extra pounds if not kept in-check. What to do?

  • Do not leave the house on an empty stomach or you will tend to over indulge. Eat a large, very healthy meal even if you know there will be food provided. Unless you are sure there will be healthy food choices, chances are the buffet or dessert table will be full of less then healthful plates.
  • Stay away from the food stations. Proximity to the table will encourage grazing, which promotes over eating.
  • Offer to bring one or two healthy options and fill-up on them. Especially, with a healthy dessert this can be a game changer. Many of your friends will be grateful and it is fun to strike a conversation about how you made the healthy dish and share your recipes.
  • Focus on socializing as this is the intent of your holiday gatherings. Catch-up with old friends. Reflect on the year. Hearty conversation will fill your soul and keep you from over-filling your gut.
  • Use your own “food-tuition” — your body’s innate way of telling you that you are satiated and stop eating when you are satisfied rather then stuffed. It also is your body’s way of telling you to eat what is best for you and avoid bad food triggers when you have trained it well. I will go further into this term in a future piece.
  • If you are going to indulge on dessert, which can be just fine (if it does not trigger your addictions), first drink a large glass of water and take five minutes then choose two samples and enjoy each bite and commit to no more. I truly believe in the 90/10 rule: 90 percent of the time do what is best for you and 10 percent indulge and enjoy each morsel to the fullest.

Living your healthy lifestyle is not rocket science, but during a time of year when overindulgence is not only accepted but encouraged, your best bet is to spend your time at these events catching-up with your friends, meeting new people, and maybe a little networking to ensure that the following year is a prosperous one.


What do you think?

About Chip Allman, CHHC

Chip is a healthy lifestyle coach and owner of health and wellness company Naturally Fortified. He's a nutrition nerd at heart and plans to save the world one kale "chip" at a time!