First off, there’s something important you need to know about eating on special occasions.
YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO OVEREAT!
I know, it seems crazy to think that a dietitian is telling you to eat too much.
Here’s the truth:
- Our bodies are made to go through feast as well as famine.
- We should feast (“eat too much”) sometimes.
- There will be times that we eat smaller meals. When you’re sick, or just not that hungry.
So there you have it. Permission to overeat at Thanksgiving!
However… please don’t overeat every day between Thanksgiving and New Years, ha! That’s when your special occasion has turned into a habit.
The Facts About Holiday Weight Gain
Many people stress out about all the weight they are going to gain during the holidays. We make jokes about it, and then excuses for why we’re eating what we’re eating, and then blanket ourselves in guilt. Guess what? That’s not necessary!!
The fact is that people actually don’t gain that much during the holidays. I was able to find 2 different studies that followed people during the holidays and the gain was about 1 pound. One. Pound. Let’s not freak out or spend too much mental energy on that!
However, we should definitely enjoy all the wonderful flavors of our favorite holiday foods! Especially if there are kids around you during the holidays. We don’t need to set them up to have anxiety or guilt around holiday meals. Instead, we can teach them how much fun it is to prepare delicious family recipes!
I think that most people who are in touch with their body’s cues for hunger and fullness will actually balance their calories just fine during the holidays. It’s not necessary to count things or avoid your favorite foods.
For people going through cancer treatment, it can be sad and frustrating when the foods that you typically enjoy around the holidays don’t taste right. Or maybe you don’t feel much like eating at all. In these cases, I encourage you to find ways to enjoy the other holiday traditions.
Healthy Holiday Habits & 5 Tips
I do recognize that the holiday season can be challenging to focus on nourishment because on top of the special days, you also have parties at work and with your social life. And then people send you home with extra sweets.
Here are 5 common sense tips to help you with those “between days.”
- Maintain your physical activity!
One of the best ways to make sure your body stays healthy during the holidays is to maintain your physical activity! Don’t let your extra holiday activities crowd these out. You can also make it a point to include physical activity in your holiday activities. Go for walks with your friends as a way to catch up, and also stay fit.
- Keep getting fruits and veggies.
Don’t cut back on the amount of fruits and veggies and nutritious foods that you eat. Your body still needs them, so make sure they are on your plate throughout the holiday season!
- Enjoy each bite.
When you are eating your holiday meals, don’t rush! Enjoy each bite and respect your body when it says it is full. Maybe you eat some of EVERYTHING. Yes, even the desserts! But you might serve smaller portions so that you don’t feel the pressure to eat even after you’re stuffed. You can always go back for seconds if you really loved something and didn’t get enough.
- Drink water.
Your body needs to stay hydrated throughout the winter months. With the heat blowing, and dry air all around, you might not notice when you’re low on fluids. Water is your best choice for hydration, however, if you want a special beverage try a club soda or seltzer water with lemon.
- Focus the conversation on the positive.
Make a point to compliment the cooks on the taste of the food. Keep the conversation on the company, what you’re grateful for and how great it is to be around friends and family. Topics to avoid? Weight gain, how “healthy” the food is or isn’t, and POLITICS! : – D
Have a great Thanksgiving!!