Moderation Is the Equation: How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays
It doesn’t seem to matter what holidays you celebrate—everyone wants to eat over the holiday season. Studies have shown that the average adult gains between 1 and 2 pounds from November to New Year’s Day. Although this may seem insignificant, it can be enough to add up year after year.
How do you get family to realize the entire year’s harvest doesn’t need to be consumed during the months of November and December? Meditation, spreading out holiday-related events, and making get-togethers more active are just a few ways to stay healthy this season.
Spread Out Your Events
Try to spread out the parties and get-togethers, instead of visiting several households on the same day. It’s difficult to moderate when you visit three homes on Thanksgiving.
If this is an event where the cooking is shared, start a Facebook group page to better organize the dinner and ensure there are plenty of healthy options. Each member can discuss what they are bringing to allow a wide variety of colors and choices rather than an overload of starches. You can also use this page to:
- Share recipes after the holidays.
- Discuss future family feasts.
- Keep each other motivated for winter workouts.
- Ask your family to eat during Pitta time (10 a.m – 2 p.m.). Digestive fire is at the strongest point during this time.
Bring Action to the Party
Holiday gatherings often consist of sitting, eating, talking, drinking, and more eating. We often find ourselves sitting for longer periods of time because we enjoy the conversation. Your legs want to move, the food is on the counter, and off you go for food you’re are not even hungry for. This year, try some of these actions with the family to reduce the march to the kitchen.
- Yoga: A light yoga session is fun, healthy, and may spark future interest for the newbies. YouTube has a variety of classes to help you plan your own yoga session.
- Take a walk. You may be surprised at those who will join you.
- Bring a board game. Although you’re still sitting, this can provide some excitement and victory movement. Plus, it’s better than just eating.
- If you have a gaming system with dance or movement options, pack it along for the trip.
Try a Pre-Meal Family Meditation
Many families give thanks before their holiday meal; why not add a meditation to your pre-meal ritual? Try to hold a pre-meal meditation about 30 minutes to 1 hour before sitting down for the feast so you’re not competing with hungry guests distracted by the sights and smells of food.
Follow these three tips for a successful pre-meal meditation session.
- Keep it short. 10 minutes is enough time to settle the mind and encourage those who are new.
- Use mantras such as healthy digestion, nurturing, calmness, and balance.
- If you don’t feel comfortable orally guiding the meditation just sit in silence and explain to everyone that they will just repeat the mantras to themselves.
Indulge Without Going Overboard
Sticking to a healthy plan is important. However, depriving yourself of certain foods can have negative results. Restrictive eating can lead to binge eating as well as disliking healthy foods by associating them with something you ‘have’ to do.
When it’s time to pile food on your plate, eat what visually appeals to you, or you know you love without guilt clouding the mind. Try these final tips for holiday eating:
- If smaller plates are an option, use them. You’ll fill larger plates just because room is available. Second trips are better than overeating on the first round.
- If you’re trying something new, only take a bite-size portion.
- You fall in love with your aunt’s new dessert and even though you’re too full to enjoy it, you’re tempted to have a second portion. Instead of grabbing the last bite in fear of not eating it again until next year, revert back to the Facebook group page. Ask her to post the recipe for those who can’t wait another year.
- Be careful and aware of vocabulary. Speaking as though you have already gained weight sends signals to the mind and body. It can become easy to go right along with the crowd after a delicious meal to say phrases such as, “Oh… I just gained 5 pounds.”
As you begin to incorporate more healthy practices into your life—whether during the holidays or during everyday life—your mindset will start to shift, and you’ll begin to not only choose more nutritious foods, but actually enjoy them, too