• Tricia Arriagada

How to Enjoy The Holidays...Guilt Free!

"A healthy lifestyle is not a life sentence...it's a life choice. You can have your cake and eat it too!" These were the thoughts Melissa Knowlton shared in our team meeting last week. We live in a culture that's obsessed with numbers on the scale, calorie counting, and avoiding carbs. Trying to live up to such unreasonable standards does not set us up for success. It sets us up for shame, guilt, and failure, when we can't live up to these standards. Everyone knows its harder to eat healthy and stay on track with exercise around the holidays. It's not the holidays themselves that cause us to get off track but it's the sabotaging thoughts and "all or nothing" thinking that takes us down this road. Do you have sabotaging thoughts that derail your health goals? If so, all you need to do is first notice the thoughts then change the narrative in your head. Here are some examples: "I've already blown it so I will wait until January to get back on track" New thought: "If I overindulge around the holidays I can recover and get back on track right away" "I won't be able to enjoy myself if I have to eat healthy" New thought: "Even though it may be hard in the moment, I will feel so much better mentally and physically if I make a healthier choice" "I have to eat what others cook for me. I can't change the way I cook or I will disappoint my family or let them down" New thought: "I need to think about how some traditions are working against me and how I can change them. Even if others are disappointed they will get over it and begin to accept my choices" What's important is to notice "all or nothing" thinking and notice these sabotaging thoughts. When they come up, start to tell yourself another story. Eating one bad meal is not going to make you gain weight. Focusing on making healthier choices most of the time will allow you to have your cake and eat it too. Ditch the shame and find your healthy balance.

Make Your Thanksgiving Meal A Little Bit Healthier This Year You don't have to take extreme measures to stay healthy during the holidays. Making a few simple changes will make your meal healthier.

  • Turkey: Stick with the white meat and leave off the skin.

  • The gravy: Reduce the amount of fat you add to your gravy. Here's a trick! Add an ice cube to your meat juices. The fat will collect around the ice cube and you can spoon the extra fat out easily.

  • Stuffing/Dressing: choose a healthier version. Stuffing made inside the bird soaks up the fat from the bird and sausage stuffing also adds extra fat. Here is a variety of Healthy Stuffing recipes to choose from. Click Here

  • Potatoes: Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, make roasted potatoes with olive oil.

  • Pumpkin pie: You can make a much healthier pumpkin pie if you leave out the crust. Try crustless pumpkin pie. Recipe Here.

  • Green bean casserole: It's really all about how the green beans are prepared. Instead of making a casserole make plain green beans instead.

  • Sweet potato casserole: If it is made with butter and marshmallows you know its unhealthy. Try roasting or baking your sweet potatoes instead.

  • Pecan pie: It's made with so much sugar and fat to hold it all together. It's best to just stick with the pumpkin pie.

Just remember it's hard to balance daily life with all of the other obligations we have to fulfill around the holidays. There is no doubt it's stressful so cut yourself some slack. It's better to choose two things to focus on rather than trying to do everything perfectly. What area do you think will make the greatest impact during the holiday's: drinking more water, moving more, getting enough sleep, or eating healthy? It doesn't take much to maintain where you are or improve how you feel. Just keep it simple!

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