Plans for the Holidays?

Wow, November is quickly passing by and that means Thanksgiving and holiday eating invitations are just around the corner.  Are you already worrying about how to navigate the food scene so you don’t end up feeling regret once January 1 rolls around? A little planning ahead (and a little self control - wink, wink) can help you get through the biggest eating season of the year with minimal damage.  I know there are more tips online than you can feasibly integrate without ending up on a long term fast (and that is not a fun way to celebrate the season!), but how often to you read what people actually do vs. what they tell you to do? It really boils down to having a realistic plan and sticking to it (yes, that self-control thing once again). 

Food is more than what we eat, it has a big social component and at this time of year I look forward to seeing family and friends as much as I look forward to a good piece of homemade pumpkin pie.  As a health conscious, clean-eating Health Coach, I can make numerous suggestions, but rather than just tell you what you should do, I thought I’d share with you what my plan is.  Maybe you’ll adapt some of these ideas for yourself, maybe you’ll need to come up with a few variations that work for you. The main thing is to have the plan…and write it down!  Even if you veer off course from time to time, you’ll have a road map for getting back on track.   

Here is my plan for staying “food sane” as the last weeks of 2014 slip by:

I will start my day with warm water and the juice of ½ a lemon to detox and to get my digestive system going.  I will eat appetizers with salads (oil and vinegar dressing, of course) instead of large main courses or else I will split large meals with someone else. I will ask for extra veggies instead of potatoes and I will eat my vegetables first.  I will choose foods that have high nutrient content and say no to those that only chase hunger.  I will savor one glass of wine, not two, or at least call the second glass dessert (unless there is pumpkin pie, then it's definitely only one glass).  I will share a dessert, or skip it all together if I’ve had too many splurges during the week. I will choose plants over animals to fill me up and I will stick to my 90/10 rule (see below).  I will add 15-minute walks to my week, even when I don’t feel like walking. I will continue to drink ounces and ounce of water every chance I get.  I will focus on the people I am with instead of the food put in front of me.  I will not let one bad food day derail me for the next.  Each new morning brings a chance for a fresh start; I won’t let that ‘bad food day’ be an excuse to not make changes for the next. In January, after all the holiday madness is behind me, I will do a three day organic juice cleanse to reset my body because I love Ritual Wellness’s program and I want to start 2015 off on a good note.

As I said before, there are dozens of options to come up with a plan that works for you. Make sure stress reduction is included. Stress releases cortisol and high cortisol levels can cause us to hold onto extra pounds and make it difficult to lose weight. Start now and be prepared.  I’m happy to offer suggestions, just send me an email.  As the old saying goes…. “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Don’t let that be you this year!  

The 90/10 plan.  90% of the time, I’ll eat clean and healthy, 10% I won’t worry about it.  Over the course of one week (21 meals) that means I can eat guilt free for 2 meals and 1 snack. You may want to start with an 80/20 plan. Choose your “20” wisely (dessert or wine, but probably not both) – a little self control needed here- and weight gain and guilt are kept to a minimum.