How to Enjoy the Holidays Without Guilt: This season is about celebrating joy with friends and family, not about food guilt!
With the holiday season comes lots of holiday gatherings and parties, which inevitably involve rich food, booze, and sugary treats. Many people struggle with food guilt during the holiday season, but don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with these tips to help you enjoy the holidays without guilt!
First, it’s important to be realistic about the situation. Studies show that the average holiday weight gain is about 1 to 2 pounds – hardly enough to freak out about, so don’t psych yourself out. In my professional opinion, the best approach is to take pressure off of yourself by allowing yourself to eat! You can’t enjoy friends and family if you are starving or worrying about what to eat, so make sure you are fueled and ready to party with these tips:
- Eat regular meals. Don’t try to ‘save your calories for later’ by skipping meals. That can lead to a vicious cycle of restricting and then going crazy on treats later. Instead, eat regular healthy meals, including lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains at each.
- Grab a plate. Even if you are at a party where there are only appetizers or snacks, putting your food on a plate will help you slow down and feel more like you are eating a meal. Survey the buffet table before you start grazing, and pick the foods that you really want to try. Savor your food slowly, and if something ends up not tasting as good as you thought, you don’t have to finish it! Restricting what you really want will most likely lead to you feeling unsatisfied and filling up on replacement foods and booze without ever getting what you actually wanted.
- Allow yourself some sweets. You’ll inevitably end up with some sweet treats over the next few weeks, which is perfectly fine! Allow yourself to enjoy what your body is craving and truly savor it! But be sure to listen to your body. If it wants a cookie, savor that cookie. If it wants a salad, honor that, too.
- Stay active. Yes, it’s a busy time of year and schedules are crazy, but exercise will help decrease some of your stress and clear your head. You don’t have to go to the gym every day, but taking a walk with your family, doing some yoga, or playing with your kids can help ease tension.
- Don’t beat yourself up! The holiday season is no time to feel bad about yourself or your body. So you drank one too many eggnogs or didn’t get your veggies yesterday. So what? You still get to be present in this joyful time, to relax and be kind to yourself just as you would with others.
It is totally possible to enjoy the holiday season without food guilt! Just stay mindful and really enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and friends instead of focusing on food. (And if you find that you tend to stress-eat during the busy month ahead, try these ways to alleviate stress without food.) You can do this, just relax. Happy holidays, friends!