Preparing to Indulge and ENJOY this Holiday Season

Happy November!
With Halloween behind us and the holidays in front of us, tis the season of sweets, traditional foods, and a deviation from our normal routines. These fun, festive times can sometimes be overshadowed by the pressure to lose weight. I get a lot of questions about how to bounce back after an indulgence and how to prepare for a big meal, and I thought I would share some of my practices pre and post meal.

Before a big meal:

1.       Don’t starve yourself or “save up” calories before going out.

 Arriving hungry and depleted from not eating all day will make overeating inevitable. I used to think that I could eat sparsely during the day, to offset the eating I would do later. This made me feel lethargic and grumpy, not able to enjoy my time with friends and family, and after the meal, I would be overfull and guilty about all I had just scarfed down. It was a lose-lose situation for me. Instead, I focus on eating whole foods, a balance of carbs, protein, and fat for my meals and snacks leading up to the big meal. Keeping your blood sugar balanced makes you feel more in control of your hunger and empowers you to make conscious food choices at the dinner table.

2.       Remember what you are there to enjoy. Food is just one component of a large family gathering.

You are seeing family and friends that you don’t get a chance to see on a regular basis. Try and live in the moment and enjoy the time you have together. One night of eating more or eating differently than you would at home does not mean all your hard work goes out the window. I like to think of our bodies as a well-oiled machine. They can whether the ups and downs of overeating and undereating to keep you at your natural size. This is a great post about that philosophy:

3.       Portion your plate with ½ the plate veggies/salad, ¼ plate of protein, 1/8 plate carb like potatoes, rice, grain, etc., and 1/8 plate fun food like dessert.

Understand where your calories are coming from and choose your indulgences. There is no need to restrict yourself completely! I generally like to follow this structure for my plate, so that I get in some of the nutrients I need as well as the chance to enjoy the yummy seasonal foods I love. Cue the Pecan Pie!

Check out the blog tomorrow about what to do after a hefty meal.

Salima Mangalji