Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain. ~Dave Matthews Band
Mindful Readers, the holidays are upon us! I wrote a post on holiday planning for LIving Harvest, and decided we need one too. It might seem too late to plan, but it's never too late. The holiday season is infamous for fun, food, weight gain and exhaustion. They have a funny way of stirring up emotions that cause us to lose control - so whether you are frantic, ecstatic, lonely, or all the above, know that you are not alone. Here's your guide to coasting through the holidays and enjoying them guilt-free (or as close as possible).
Restaurants and retailers have been planning on maximizing our caloric and wallet consumption for months. With a good game plan in place, you can take advantage of the festivities and coast into the New Year feeling fabulous.
What to do - Plan Your Holidays Mindfully
- Identify the triggers that make you binge. There's a lot of food and drink around, and people tend to stuff themselves with it. What is it that gets you going? Is it that there is a lot of tasty food and you just want to hoard it and eat it all? Do you not want to disappoint the people that made it? Are you feeling lonely when everyone else is having fun? Are you going through a rough time? Are you feeling a loss? Do you feel broke during this time of seeming abundance? All those things are ok. You are not alone - a lot of people feel that way, even depressed. Just figure out what makes you binge before you start eating. That way you have a fair shot at recognizing it so you can stop yourself when you're surrounded by excess.
- Keep your calendar up to date. Slot in all the parties, dinners and events you have.
- Look at all the events you have on your calendar, and figure out what you need. Hostess gifts, bottles of wine, potluck dishes, costumes? List what you need for each event and get it the weekend (or the day) before so you don't run around and stress out right before the party.
- Plan your non-party meals. Look at your calendar, and when you see an event, make sure you plan healthy meals before and after. Big Thanksgiving dinner coming up? Have oatmeal or yogurt and ground flaxseed for breakfast. Keep all your meals healthy except for the blowouts. Get out your steamer and start steaming vegetables!
- Plan your eating & drinking strategy. You'll be surrounded by food at the office and at parties. Remember your triggers? Think about them and have a taste of the goodies - no need to stuff your face. Big party coming up? Create your party strategy. Try an hor d'oeuvre every half hour and go back to three of your favorites. You do not need to eat more than one dice size of cheese. Really. The same thing with dinners. Try a bite of everything, then get seconds on your favorites. No thirds!
- Keep a food log. Recording every bite is THE most effective way to avoid excess calories.
- Plan your exercise. Look at your calendar and schedule in exercise. Yes, it's cold outside, and yes, you're tired from staying out late partying and wrapping presents. So what? You need to exercise to keep your energy up and to burn off all that food and drink you're consuming. Be nice to your body and just do it.
It may seem like a lot of work and time, but I promise that planning will save you time and stress. And it's not nearly as much work as it seems. It's the nicest thing you can do for yourself during the holiday season, and it will make the holidays even better!
- Eating strategies for events
- Eating mindfully while traveling
- How to steam food
- Wait a second - I did this same post last year for Thanksgiving! It might be better.
- Post for Living Harvest on holiday planning
What I ate: 2 coffees with raw milk, 8 oz raw milk, 1 hardboiled eggs, vegetable juice, 1 persimmon, macadamia nuts, 1 guava, dimsum: 3 veggie dumplings, 3 shrimp dumplings, steamed tofu, tofu veggie wrap, sticky rice, fried noodles & lobster, Taiwanese zong zi (sticky rice in bamboo leaves), sauteed spinach, hot chocolate, 40 oz. water
Exercise: Ran 4 miles