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Geometric Pattern

Navigating the holiday food frenzy with our resident RD and wellness expert

November 17, 2022

The average person gains about five pounds of body weight over the holiday season. With the abundance of desserts, portions a-plenty and dinner after family dinner, it’s easy to see how this could be true. 

To breeze through holiday meals with success, I recommend focusing on the JOY rather than how much weight we may or may not gain. Now I know what you are thinking – easy for me to say! But I encourage you to ask yourself: if you often find yourself overly fixated on how much or what you are consuming, are you able to truly enjoy yourself and be present with family and friends? If the answer is no, keep reading. 

You just want to feel as good as you can – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s all about being able to enjoy your favorite treats without worrying about what you “should” or should not” eat and drink. So, here are my tips to handle the holidays with mindfulness and joy:

Eat what you want at special occasion meals. Take a breath. Release your worries and guilt and honor your hunger and joy. Food brings people together. We all have food dishes that spark up a sense of nostalgia so allow yourself to enjoy these even if it feels indulgent. Feeling guilty over food and drink only welcomes more stress this time of year; try taking a deep breath and letting it go. 

Take small portions of the dishes that don’t excite you (or none at all). Say you love your mom’s stuffing, but your uncle’s casserole… well you don’t particularly dream about it. Your plate is like coveted real estate space and there’s just not enough room for everything! It’s okay to be selective. Don’t settle for anything less than the best. 

Use the days between parties to take care of yourself with nourishing food. Overindulge one day, then get back to the normal routine and healthy-ish eating the next day. And all the days in between. Give your body what it needs with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, water –  all the stuff that makes you feel good inside

Be mindful of how you feel physically and mentally and adjust. This simply means paying attention to your body and considering what you need to feel your best. Maybe it’s a little self-care, downtime, exercise, meditation or rest. Take care of yourself as you would for someone you love; tend to your needs as you would theirs.

Keep moving! If you have a workout routine, don’t let it go by the wayside. Even if the situation isn’t perfect every day, consistency is more important than intensity! Keep that bod moving – you’d be surprised how good a simple 10-minute stretch can feel. 

Make the best of challenging holiday situations. Joy is in the air, but it’s not all joyful for everyone. The holidays can also materialize tough situations and emotions. Let this be your sign to know that it’s okay to say no to events that you know will be difficult for your mental health. But when you have to face the challenges, look for the positive in the smallest of things.