Let’s face it, our society is all about the “all or nothing” mentality. And we’re also STRESSED. So as 2016 comes to a close, we’ve got all this pent up exhaustion that wants to get out- and what better way than at a Holiday Party where it’s treats and drinks galore.
Go crazy, and deal with it next year, right? Um…well, I wouldn’t go that far.
Here’s why…what if you could still have fun, but maintain the level of health that feels best and balanced without all the physical and emotional discomfort?
How would you like to be armed with the tools that will literally let you have your cake and eat it too? What if you could go to a party, not feel like you need to eat the ENTIRE cheese platter and also not stress about restriction and making perfect choices?
Balance, my friends. Sure easier said than done…but here’s some help to support you through it!
1) Don’t not eat all day, so you can eat at the party. Restriction will backfire.
Rules to LIVE BY. I guarantee if you don't eat all day, you will be inclined to eat way, way more later. Your blood sugar and hormones will be dysregulated, so the second you begin indulging at the party your body will assume it’s prepping for restriction again in the near future.
Consequently your hormone, leptin (which regulates satiety) will be out of balance, so it will feel like your stomach is an endless pit that can never be filled up. You know that feeling, and it’s not one you want.
Besides, the food at most holiday parties is already quite snacky, carby and sweet- and those are the types of foods that are designed to make us overeat anyway.
You know that saying, “one you pop, you can’t stop?” Yep it’s true. So it’s a lose lose situation for you if you go into a party absolutely ravenous.
You think you’re doing yourself a favor, but I promise you you’re in fact just setting yourself up to overeat and overindulge instead.
Restriction never works. Resist operating from the place of “all or nothing.”
So the day of a party eat like you normally would! And especially make sure you start your day with a balanced healthy breakfast full of healthy fat and adequate protein.
This regulates our hormones, balances our blood sugar and gives us the nutrients needed to ward off cravings and differentiate from when we’re hungry and when we’re full.
I also recommend eating something before you go, whether it’s a meal or just a snack and ideally a blend of protein and fat…(carbs will find you at the party ;)) Remember, don’t enter into a party ravenous!
Some options? An RX or Epic Bar, hardboiled egg with primal mayo (the best), canned salmon or tuna with avocado, or a small smoothie with some protein and healthy fat (like coconut oil or nut butter).
2) Hydrate hydrate hydrate
You may be thinking, duh Chelsea! But we often forget to do this. Most of my clients admit they go into each day with every intent to drink enough water, but end up forgetting to work it into their day.
H2O is important for every single bodily function. But it’s especially important when you’re going to be out at a holiday party.
You’re probably going to be eating richer food and indulging in some spirits and you’re going to need extra hydration to help your body (liver + organs) gently detoxify all of that.
So the day of and the morning after drink a huge glass of water with the juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon squeezed in. I do this every single morning, but it’s especially important over the holiday party season. Then before you go to the party and when you get home drink another huge glass of water. We often forget to do this after a night out, so pour the glass before you go out and drink it right away when you get home.
And if you’re going to be drinking- up your water intake even more ;)
3) Choose foods that are worth it!
Keeping with going against the “all or nothing” theme, the last thing I want is for you to be so preoccupied with making healthy choice at your party (that likely are far and few between) that you eat nothing and have no fun at all. This is not what I’m saying to do.
I want you to enjoy yourself! After all, isn’t that the point of a party?
A great way to do this is, instead of mindlessly chowing down on a bowl of Doritos or trail mix, pick those treats that are truly worth it…like your Mom’s homemade apple pie or your sister’s famous gingerbread cookies. And really savor them. Cut yourself a break and ENJOY. Notice the taste, texture and deliciousness. Enjoy every bite and each moment. Seriously…
And if you follow the plan in tip #1 you’re not going to be ravenous and feel like you have to eat the entire spread of treats, you’ll in fact be enough clear-minded and your blood sugar will be balanced enough for you to pick and choose what sounds best vs. diving in to everything there head first.
We all have our own gauge for what’s worth it and what’s not. For you it may be sweet holiday cocktails, a decadent dessert or just an extra serving (or 2) or mashed potatoes.
For me, I’d rather have a bar of dark chocolate and a Kombucha instead of a glass of wine and a brownie- because I just feel better physically and I honestly don’t feel deprived either.
So figure out what “worth it” is for you and go with it! Listen to your body.
You’ll find when you start to give yourself this permission, and not operate from the “all or nothing” mentality, it will be easier to find these “worth it” moments.
4) Stand proud in your choices
Like I mentioned above, I’m fully confident in my choice of a bar of dark chocolate and Kombucha over a brownie and wine. But other party-goers may think that’s crazy. And guess what, I don’t really care!
I know my body well enough to know that those are things that still tickle my tastebuds but don’t leave me bloated, inflamed and depressed (yes, foods can cause mental imbalances!)
I think we all have family members and friends that may pressure us into more indulgent food choices or judge us for eating “healthy.” This is super super common. Or we may judge ourselves! I know that used to be me!! I labeled everything as good or bad and was unable to truly stand proud in my choices.
The Holidays are a time of “all or nothing” remember, so it’s quite normal for people to really go for it and eat and drink all of the things. So if we’re the ones that are not…maybe we’re going to look like oddballs. But who cares!??
I’d like to challenge you here…to be CONFIDENT in your food choices. You’ve worked hard to find the foods that work for you and the ones that do not. It’s OK to stand up to pushy family member and friends because your choices are coming from a good place.
If they offer you something you really do not want (maybe something that isn’t “worth it”) kindly say no thank you, or that you’d feel better physically without it. If they really push, you can even go into details and I promise they’ll back out. But really if your family and friends care for you, they’ll get it and the moment will be over.
I know this can be quite daunting for some, so I’m here to empower you and help you through it. You can do it!
5) Health isn’t about what you do one time, it’s what you do most of the time
I love love love this piece of advice. It’s something I heard while in nutrition school, and it really helped me. Again, it’s in line with rebelling the “all or nothing” mentality. It’s about balance you guys.
You may take my tips and you may not, and whatever you decide is cool with me. I want you to have a fantastic holiday season filled with love and happy memories. If that means going out and over-indulging it. FINE! It’s really not about what you do one time, it’s about what you do most of the time.
So eat protein and fat the next morning, drink more water, and take care of yourself- go on a walk, do a youtube yoga video and get on with it.
The LAST thing I want is for anyone to beat themselves up! Move forward with your healthy lifestyle the next day and be on with life.
Comment below with your thoughts on this post!!
XO- Happy Holidays!