All month long I have been talking about how to survive the holidays. This time of year is amazing- full of energy, presents, friends, and family. But it is also stressful for a lot of people. If you are feeling the stress, you are not alone. My last newsletter was one of my most popular newsletters! Here it is in blog form: “How to Survive the Holidays” .
How To Survive the Holidays
The goal of the holiday season is not to “eat healthy”. I don’t know about you but I hate those “healthy holiday articles” that suggest walking away from the dessert table. I love chocolate and that advice is certainly not for me. My personal goal is to eat food in a mindful way that makes me feel good before, during, and after a meal. Eating to the point that makes me feel satisfied and happy, not restricted or too stuffed.
1. Enlist the help of your friends, family, support system, and of course- me your registered dietitian. Sometimes it takes an army of supportive people around you to get you through this stressful time of year. Speak up and let everyone know how they can help you! Whether it’seating a meal together, going for a walk, or just being a phone call away, your personal team should be there for you when you need it most.
3. Be mindful. Are you eating Christmas cookies just because they are there or are you eating them because they taste so good? What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Do you even like cookies or do you prefer a cup of hot chocolate? Dig deep to ask yourself your “worth it or not worth it list”.
4. Listen to hunger and satiety cues (if they are working in your own body). Try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. What does it feel like to be hungry? What does it feel like to be full? Take note of this now and put it into practice.
5. Eat a high-fiber, nutritious breakfast each day. Whole grain cereal, skim milk and fruit or eggs and toast are great options. This jump start will help get your metabolism going, and will also help decrease emotional eating in the afternoon or nighttime.
6. Keep healthy snacks with you when out shopping, or out running errands. Keep a healthy granola bar or trail mix pack in your purse (or even in your car), that way you can stick to a healthier choice when hunger hits.
7. Drink alcohol wisely. A simple beer or wine is usually a much healthier choice than a mixed drink full of sugar. Choose water or club soda with lime at parties to alternate in between drinks (sometimes it’s more about holding a pretty drink rather than the drink itself).
8. Bring a nutritious dish to parties as a way to thank your host but also to honor health. Bring something you know is a comfort food but also safe for you to eat if you are unsure about the rest.
9. Exercise as stress relief. Not only will this help you physically, but mentally too. Exercise can be just as powerful as a medication for stress! Try to schedule in short (realistic workouts), maybe 30 minutes a few times a week.
10. Try to avoid the mindset of “all or nothing”. This time of year is all about doing what you “can”. But if you have a “me first” mentality and take care of you, I can almost guarantee you that you will have a happier, healthierholiday season.
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Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”
Start your own healing by downloading her Free Stop the Cycle of Binge Eating guide or her Free Hunger – Fullness Scale.