Well, I’ve been awake for all of 10 minutes and I have already inhaled two pieces of Sees candy. While I wish I could say this is a record, it’s pretty normal around this time of the year in our household. The holidays are like a giant tornado that blows through your house and leaves sweet sugar destruction everywhere you turn. (And by sweet sugar destruction I mean delicious sweet treasures that you won’t be able to turn down.)
When my Aunt Kathleen, my cousin William and I went on our hike in Torrey Pines two days ago, we talked about the diabetes tsunami that is currently washing over our nation. Something that really bothers me is reading advice columns, books, or articles by dieticians and nutritionists with advice on how to maintain healthy eating habits during the Holidays. Most of the advice is fantastic and they lend a really crucial insight into developing and maintaining healthy eating habits but something that is never addressed is what to do, or what it feels like to be in a room with cookies, cakes, sweets, and chocolates and actually not being able to think about anything but the delicious treasures. How it isn’t as easy as just saying, “I don’t need one,” “I’m not hungry,” “Pass,” or “I’ll just have two.” Or when I read, “Have a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. You aren’t hungry you’re dehydrated.” 20 minutes and 10 glasses of water later I’m still ready to body slam a dozen cookies. “Eat mindfully and slowly.” When I do that I don’t enjoy my food I just focus on the fact that it feels unnatural. They never address what to do when you actually can’t think about anything but the sugar cookies in the other room.
In writing it sounds so easy! You have this goal you are working towards and it would only make sense that you would remember all of your hard work and remove yourself from the situation. That’s not how it works. It’s pretty much impossible not to be consumed with need. So what do you do when temptation comes knocking on your door?
1. Go fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats wherever you can.
If you are going to be hitting the treats hard throughout the day, make sure you are eating a balanced meal everywhere else. It’s easy to just throw in the towel and say, “Go big or go home.” Don’t go big when you go home, enjoy the treats but avoid the junk during meals. Then you get some sort of a balance.
2. Go do something active.
Something that helps me if I get a craving for something and can’t kick it, I grab a soccer/football/baseball/dodge ball or even sidewalk chalk and I round some people up to get outside. Or I make my cousin go for a run with me. I physically remove myself from the situation. It’s not the perfect solution but it helps! Go for a walk or go outside.
3. Be open about it.
Take the shame out of the fact that you are afraid of over eating. It happens! Everyone over indulges during the holidays so just because you feel like it’s only you, it’s not! Tell your family and friends, “Hey I am trying to eat better and cut back on the sweets.” It will bring some accountability and for me it helps me not feel anxious about it. It’s a load off my chest.
4. Keep them out of the house.
You know the houses that are able to keep a bowel of candy out without everyone devouring it instantly? I always thought that was witchcraft because in my house the candy would be gone within an hour. We actually have a rule that if anything is left out, it’s fair game. Don’t bring anything home or after the holiday’s are over, give it away. Try not to keep it after you don’t need it around.
5. Maintain or establish a routine.
This is really helpful. I recommend getting up first thing, having a piece of fruit like a banana or a yogurt, and going for a walk, bike ride, run, or go to the gym. Do it every day during the holidays. If I know I am going for a run, I won’t eat junky food because junky food pre run results in a bathroom situation. In the suburbs, there are no public restrooms so I know if I eat the chocolate, I don’t get to run. So luckily I have that to keep me in check. Maintain or establish a routine and stick to it! It’s a perfect head start into the New Year and it helps keep a little stability during the hectic holiday season. (And you don’t feel as guilty about that third cookie.)
6. Portion control at every meal.
Portion control, portion control, portion control. The best way to put this into effect is to avoid oversized plates and bowels! The portion sizes in our country are out of control. No one knows how much food they should actually be consuming. Do yourself a favor and spend a week actually measuring your food and understanding just what a portion of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains are. You’ll be STUNNED. Then pay it forward and tell your family and friends. We need to do something about it because it’s one of the reasons the obesity epidemic is happening. We need to wake up and dial it back. Re-train our brains and eat proper portions.
Lastly, enjoy the treats! If you have a cookie, you have a cookie! Don’t kick yourself if you “cheat” or if you overindulge. That moment is over and now just keep going forward. There’s always time to make healthier choices, you just have to remember to keep with it. Luckily Christmas is over and we are halfway through the Holidays.
How do you keep your sweet tooth in check during the Holiday's? Share in the comments section below, I'm curious and in need of more tools for my tool belt.
I’m off for my morning run! Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.