Sigh... The week of Christmas has finally arrived. Sugar cookies, fudge and candies fill our dreams as we plan our holiday menu. The grocery store has special displays of all the holiday goodness that is really just too tempting to pass up on. In fact, there is SO much food around the holidays, we might as well plan or attend a dozen or more celebrations! We wouldn't want to miss out on Aunt Sally's glorious ham and cheesy potatoes! And who could forget Grandma's Velveeta fudge! These things ONLY come around once a year. We have to try them ALL!!
Bah Humbug! I am going to go ahead and be the Scrooge of all Scrooges when it comes to holiday eating. You don't need to try them all. You don't. It is that simple. Can you try a few? Of course! I am going to try to give you a holiday survival plan that will not only help you to maintain your weight (or better... drop a pound or two!) but also give you confidence for future holiday gatherings (or nightmares!)
Tip One: Remember the Reason for the Season
What is the reason behind all of the gatherings? The reason is that a Savior was born and He was the best gift humanity could ever be given. He is the reason we celebrate. The reason for all of the celebrations isn't the food. Sure, traditions are nice and these foods bring back memories of our childhood but they aren't the reason we celebrate. My grandma has made delicious peanut butter balls and fudge and pickle wraps and ham for every Christmas of my entire life. But the reason we all get together on Christmas Eve is to remember the gift that Christ is to all of us. That little baby that was born so many years ago was sent to save me and He saved you too!
Tip Two: Enjoy Your Loved Ones
Is anyone else guilty of this? I used to get so excited about what food was going to be served that I would look forward to that more than the time with my loved ones. I didn't realize it at the time but in hindsight I thought more about those dang pickle wraps that seeing people I hadn't seen in months. Now the pickle wraps are good but no food can take the place of the spectacular people in my lives. I used to get so full that I would want to curl up on the couch and take a nap, rather than enjoy my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends! This holiday season, put your loved ones first. Make it a goal to connect and chat with all of your loved ones before you head over to the appetizers. Enjoy the conversation at the dinner table instead of focusing on the food on your plate. Play a game with your loved ones before dessert. Make time with your loved ones a priority over food.
Tip Three: Eat Ahead of Time
This tip totally didn't make sense to me last Christmas. I was only a few weeks into my journey and I didn't understand why you would want to ingest calories before the celebration. Why in the world would I want to waste some of my calories on an apple and a turkey sandwich??? I want to save EVERY last calorie for deliciousness! That didn't go over so well. You see I was starving by the time we arrived at my grandparent's home. I ate a bit of the main meal (ham, potatoes, etc) but I really wanted to save my calories for the goodies. I ate lots of goodies that afternoon. My other grandmother had her celebration on Christmas day as well (it is normally on Christmas Eve) and well, she has other goodies that I wanted to try. I once again had a tiny bit of the main meal and made sure to save a lot of room for the goodies! I totally lost control of my eating. I was sooo hungry before we went and the sugar from all of the goodies did not even touch my hunger. So I ate more and more junk to try to fill me up. I was sick the next day.
I have learned from this experience. It really does help to eat a small healthy snack/meal before the celebration begins. On Christmas Eve, I will eat a light breakfast before we get on the road, balanced lunch (probably around 300-400 calories) and an apple for my snack before we head over to my grandmother's home. I won't be tempted to eat foods that aren't really appealing to me (think crackers, cheese, sausages, chips) before the meal and will make healthy choices during the meal. I will also not be tempted to eat more than one dessert after the meal! I will have the same plan of attack on Christmas Day.
Find the last three tips on my new website!