How to Eat your Favorite Holiday Treats without Guilt - Movement-Rx

How to Eat your Favorite Holiday Treats without Guilt

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Many of you have voiced worries about weight gain over the holidays, which is entirely valid, given that the average holiday weight gain is about 1 pound, though it can certainly be more. But depriving yourself of one of the best parts of the holidays (the food!) is NOT sustainable or recommended.  

Chef Nikki led a presentation addressing exactly this, in a 30 minute recorded session titled “Mindful Eating at Holiday Events” that you can watch for a full understanding of how to eat all of your favorite holiday treats without guilt or weight gain. We’ve also summarized 3 of the highlights below.


#1. Prioritize water and make a game plan for alcohol

Water: Go into your day, your events, and your parties prioritizing water, or water with electrolytes for extra hydration power. Alcohol tends to dehydrate us, and while it doesn’t make sense for most people to abstain from alcohol, staying hydrated while you drink is key for keeping your body healthy and lessening the misery of a hangover.

Alcohol: Determine which fun holiday drinks you’ll ACTUALLY enjoy, and choose these over drinks that you feel you’re drinking out of obligation. For example, if you don’t really LIKE the spiked eggnog, don’t drink it! Find a holiday drink that you’ll get some real enjoyment out of, one that will feel satisfying for one or two drinks.

In that same vein, reserve this time for special holiday drinks only— if you can get your craft beer at any time of the year, the holidays aren’t really the time to be prioritizing their consumption. The holidays are special, so MAKE them special.


#2 Eat NORMALLY throughout the week

It can be easy to fall in the trap of either going all out “since it’s the holidays” or on the opposite end of the spectrum, “saving up” for a party by not eating all day, or fasting the next day. Neither of these will create the conditions for our bodies and minds to remain on an even keel as it will create wild swings in blood sugar that will leave us ravenous.

Chef Nikki suggests enjoying yourself at a holiday event and then returning to your normal eating habits throughout the week. Even one party per week won’t completely derail your health.

What WILL derail your health is if you take that one night and expand it through the 6 weeks of the holiday season by “holiday eating” even when you’re by yourself or when you’re at work. Or, you may derail yourself by getting stuck in a binge-restrict cycle for the holiday season, which isn’t a mindful place to be eating from and doesn’t provide us with enough nutrients to feel well.


#3. Protein and produce is king!

It’s easy to find protein at holiday meals: shrimp, turkey, ham, cheese, or beans. There are also often sources of produce that can help your body feel nourished- think veggie trays with hummus dips, green bean dishes, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and more.

After you make a base of produce and protein, sprinkle in your favorite treats. When we say favorite treats, we mean the things that will bring you the most enjoyment, not the things that you eat just because they’re there.

This is an exercise in mindfulness, not a exercise in restraint. Practice presence for your meal experience, and you’ll find much greater satisfaction in the things you consume.



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