Great Job! You have been working so hard on changing to healthier habits. I know it hasn’t been easy and there have been a few slips here and there. I do hope you remember not to beat yourself up about them. We are all human after all. Stressing over slips can be more harmful than the slip itself.
We are now heading into a season of “nutritional landmines” … yup it is Christmas time once again. A month full of sugar plums, candy canes and gut stretching meals. If you have attended one of my classes you will know that nutrition is often more about family, community, connection and emotion than it is the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs & fats. This is a time to enjoy feeding yourself on the non-food level. You can enjoy all these events, without wearing armor, with a little preplanning.
Here are a few tips to help you tippy toe through the season of mistletoe and merriment:
- Practice self-care first thing. Start the morning of a holiday outing on a centered, healthful note. Show yourself some love with meditation, a work out, a green juice, setting an intention—whatever is going to set the stage for a mindful day.
- Plan for pushy relatives. Every family has at least one: people who are concerned about what is and isn’t on your plate. You can stay on the path you know is right for you without sounding like a jerk—simply decline unwanted food gracefully and graciously. Bonus: Bring a nourishing dish or two. This is a fantastic way to ensure that not only are you getting in some nutrients and supporting your health (and filling up your plate for those concerned family members), but you’re supporting the wellness of loved ones as well.
- Deck-out your table. What better way to enjoy the moment than to spruce up the decor and surroundings? Play upbeat or soothing music, light some candles, spray some non-toxic scents. Even if you’re not hosting, you can offer to help with the settings. Being part of the set-up process connects us to the ritual and with our tribe.
- Remove distractions. Be mindful! No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, etc. Scrolling through your feeds makes it all too easy to miss the deliciousness of the foods on your plate and conversations around you. These things deserve your attention, and you’ll be happy and more fulfilled to have given it.
- Don’t pick; make a plate. It’s undeniably easy to lose track of your intake when bites of food float straight from the serving dish to your mouth with no plate in between. If you want to sample the spread, go for it. Just make yourself a plate, and sit your cute little butt down to enjoy.
- Use smaller dishes and glasses. Another sneaky way that more pie and wine make it into our bellies is via oversized plates and glasses. When possible, choose the smaller dishes and glassware to keep an eye on your serving sizes. And don’t forget to haul out the good stuff. You know, the set your grandma gave you that’s too nice to use? Well, you can’t take it with you!
- Survey the spread before filling up your plate. I do this before I buy clothes or gifts, too. I have to get the lay of the land before I commit. By getting a sense of what’s available, you avoid heaping on excess mounds of B-grade offerings because you didn’t realize the can’t-miss items were at the end of the line. This way, you’ll build your plate with intention.
- Pile on the plants, but don’t skip your favorites. Those once-a-year dishes and family-favorite recipes are often the best part of holiday eating! Load up on your veggies, but don’t feel like you can’t have your aunt’s famous apple pie as long as it aligns with your food philosophy (for example, although I might have more sugar than usual at a holiday shindig, I’m personally still going to pass on anything made with animal products). If you can mindfully indulge, go for it. (But heads up: If you feel like it may throw off your healthy habits for weeks to come, you may want to pass.)
- Sit away from the food. Try to avoid sitting within arm’s reach of the food table. That way, you can’t munch mindlessly for hours on end—you’ll have to consciously make a trip back to the spread if you want a refill.
- Slow down and chew! It seems so simple, and yet with all the holiday hullabaloo, it’s so easy to forget that basic (essential) part of noshing: chewing. Take your time and chew, chew, chew, honey. Your tummy doesn’t have teeth, so it’s up to you. Plus, chewing allows you to taste—and appreciate—what’s on your plate so much more (not to mention digest it better!). Also, try to pace yourself as you work through your plate. Put your fork down between bites. That’s right. Drop it. Take a breath. Jump in on a conversation. Relax. You may find you need a lot less food to feel satisfied if you take your time to feed yourself on the social level instead of shoveling it in.
- Don’t “EAT ALL THE FOOD”! If you do go overboard, do not berate yourself and fall into the “Well I blew it! I might as well go big or go home” mind-set. Get back on track asap. You will feel better for it. Remember the holidays are about giving … be sure to give yourself the gift of understanding and acceptance.
Okay, my dear, are you feeling more prepared and empowered now? I sure hope so! Using the tips above, you’ll be able to fully soak in the pleasures of the season, while avoiding zoning out or overdoing it.
Cheers to fully-present holidays!
Keeping it RAW ‘N Green