Holiday Eating: It's About Enjoyment, Not Guilt

IMAGE When the holidays roll around, it usually means we are in the midst of holiday cookies, cakes, stuffing, sauces, and hams. Trying to eat healthy foods can be difficult during this time of year, making some of us feel guilty when we veer from our usual meals. But should we feel guilty? And should we substitute reduced-fat goodies for traditional holiday fare? Of course, there are ways to be sensible, but sometimes it's nice to drop your guard and go for the gold. If you walk the line most of the year by eating a balanced diet, holidays may be the one time can let yourself stray.The bottom line, ultimately, is that we need to eat. If you think about it, food and social interaction go together. Food is almost always shared, whether it be with your best friend or your family. During the holidays, we are surrounded by people where we eat, drink, and catch up on the latest happenings. Face it, you're not in this for nutrition, although it's a bonus if you can pull a good meal out of the buffet line. When you approach the table, your food choices should be yours alone, and you should eat the way you want without feeling any shame afterwards.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

If you think you'll waver too much, set a goal. Be reasonable and remember to focus on what you did accomplish. Beating yourself up is a waste of time and it will make you feel bogged down and overwhelmed. After all, the holidays can be stressful enough.Try to prioritize what you need to do. Grasp a hold of your inner child and realize that it is okay to be a bit selfish with your time and your diet. The truth is, you cannot do everything and be everywhere. Figure out what is most important to you and follow through with it.Consider the difference between fact and fiction. You know that gym memberships are going to be advertised through December. They will talk about holiday weight gain and inactivity, while topping it off with some guilt and shame. The real question is, do people really gain up to 10 pounds during this time of year? You may be surprised to find out the answer is a resounding no. Many studies show the average person gains only 1-2 pounds during the winter holiday season. The issue is that most people do not shed that weight, and it adds up over the course of several years.What does that mean for you? It means you can breathe a bit easier and think about how you would like to lose that pound or two, or maybe even not gain it at all. There are ways to navigate the endless sweets, gravies, and sauces, and still maintain your weight. You have heard it a million times, and it applies here: everything in moderation.

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