My clients often speak tentatively about their upcoming parties or events. They are a bit sheepish describing the amazing restaurant or family chef, expecting me to caution them not to overdue. So they are often surprised when I say “That sounds fabulous, enjoy.” or “Be sure and check out the wine list, I hear it’s great.”
Life is about enjoyment. It’s about experiences. And food and drink are some of the most commonly shared experiences we can have, especially around the holidays. Many of the traditions we enjoy are focused on food. So how do we navigate the minefield from Thanksgiving to New Years and still stay healthy?
- Say YES, to the events you really want to attend, decline the rest. If you feel ambivalent about attending, you will certainly feel conflicted about what you consume during the event.
- If you are invited out for a meal, remember it is only one meal. Maintain your normal pattern the rest of the day. There is a tendency to skip breakfast or lunch to “save up” for dinner, but that usually back fires. It’s more difficult to make good choices when you’re really hungry.
- During a dinner party or event, choose items that you really want to eat. We often eat what we think we should eat, and then eat what we want to eat. Keep it simple, eat only what you really like.
- After the event, return to your normal healthy routine. If you don’t have one, get one!
- Unless you have food sensitivities or allergies, go ahead and indulge in those most prized treats. If you only get your grandmothers sugar cookies once a year, enjoy a couple. If cranberry relish is a favorite, now is the time. If Christmas Day lasagna is a family tradition and you love it, great.
- Slow down and really taste your favorite foods. Notice the flavor and texture, revel in it. No guilt, pure joy.
- If you notice that an old favorite doesn’t taste as good as you remember, don’t finish it. Perhaps the memories associated food may have been what you enjoyed, more than the food itself.
- Realizing that you are free to eat what you like can reduce the stress of attending parties and events.That’s the same stress that often causes us to overeat.
- Eat with intention. Pause and set the intention to enjoy the food, let it nourish your body and warm your soul.
- Feel gratitude for the food and the hands that have prepared it. Your hosts are sharing their best with you. Appreciate the thought and gesture, even if it is not your usual cuisine.
- Skip the regret. When you look back on the evening before, remember the conversations, the time spent with friends and family and the wonderful meal with pleasure. Regret will not change what has already happened. You are always free to make alternate choices next time.
If you set the intention to enjoy this holiday season and all it has to offer, your behavior will be consistent with your plans and expectations. That is the perfect recipe for joy.
To your best holidays ever,
PS, if you don’t have a healthy routine that you can return to between holiday events, click here. We still have time to put a plan in place.