Last week I lead a workshop for the awesome employees at ING Financial Services, LLC called, Holiday Eating Survival and Recovery, with tips and tools to get back on track this holiday season and into the new year. I wanted to review some of the bullet points to share with you this week and next as the temptation continue to lure you in.

  1. Don’t starve yourself… ever: Many people, in anticipation of a big party with delicious treats, will refrain from eating during the day in a fruitless attempt to “save calories.” Here’s the problem with that: You’re setting yourself up for a binge-fest. Your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows, but more prominently, your inner caveman comes out. What this means is, when you are hungry you tend to crave three things: fat, sugar, and salt. When our ancestors would scavenge for food, these were hard to come by in nature. At a holiday party (or even at your office), they are bountiful. When we are hungry we can’t think straight and we’re more likely to eat EVERYTHING around us. So don’t starve yourself… ever. Got it?
  2. Take one bit…or two… or three: Research has found that our pleasure is dramatically diminished after the first bite, and again after the second bite. So go ahead, indulge in that first bite, but maybe leave it at that– after all, now you know it’s not going to get any better. You’ve maximized your pleasure.
  3. Eat what you LOVE: I mean this in two ways. 1) If you know there’s a dish you absolutely LOVE when you go home, then eat it! But maybe use tip #2’s advice and just take 1-3 bites, then EAT for ENERGY. This way you get to enjoy the food you love and feel better after the meal. 2) All “healthy” food doesn’t have to taste good to you. So instead identify veggies that you LOVE and focus on making a dish that you can fill up on.
  4. Choose your booze wisely: Avoid all sugary mix-ins, sugary sodas, and juices. Instead opt for dry(er) red wines or clear liquors (my go-to is tequila on the rocks with lime)– maybe you’re more of a gin or vodka person; Drink water in between and during drinks, and if you want a mix-in always opt for club soda, NEVER tonic water which has sugar in it. Also, if you know you have a habit of drinking whatever is in front of you, try holding onto a club soda with lime– no one will know the difference, you won’t get harassed, and you’ll get hydrated along the way.
  5. Be gentle on yourself: Plan in time to relax and catch up on sleep– the bears are doing it so why don’t we? Avoid the post-holiday guilt trip and instead look at it as an opportunity to get curious with your body and how it responded to different foods, etc. You can always get back on track, and this is the beauty of being human– we take a step back, we take a step forward– ideally two forward or ten. The important thing is to keep moving.

Happy holidays everyone, and sending love, health, and happiness to your and your families!

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