Create a Winning Holiday Plate

Holidays can bring stress because there are cookouts + gatherings that make us feel worried about “staying on track”. Contrary to what you see online or hear from others, I won’t be telling you how to burn off those holiday calories or how many burpees it takes to make up for the sweets you ate. I won’t make you feel guilty or ashamed for enjoying yourself. 

The reality is: holiday eating makes up a SMALL percentage of our diet throughout the year. A few holiday meals aren’t going to ruin your progress, we promise. But what will impact your progress is your mindset regarding holiday eating + getting stuck in a cycle of shame and guilt.

When you allow yourself all foods (without labeling them as “good” or “bad”), it is much easier to eat in moderation and not feel like you have to eat everything in sight. Here are our tips to build a balanced plate:

  1. Add protein. As you’ve been learning so far throughout the program, protein matters! Adding protein to your plate can help you feel more satisfied and satiated. Aim for about ¼ of your plate to be protein.
  2. Fill up your plate with veggies! Find some sides that contain color. Aim for about 1/3 of your plate to contain some color.
  3. Fill the rest of your plate with your favorites.

Once you’ve built your plate, enjoy it! Savor the moment, the flavors, and the company around you. If you find yourself hungry for another plate, take some time to drink some water and allow your body to begin to process what you just had. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself about 15-20 minutes before heading back for more. This allows your brain to become aware of what you ate and develop sensations of your fullness level. 

After enjoying your delicious meal, go ahead and have your favorite dessert (if you want it!). Have a piece of whatever you love. Practice the same method of allowing time between finishing your dessert and going for more. 

BUT if you happen to eat more than usual on a holiday, it truly isn’t the end of the world. Aim for better, not perfect. Here’s how to navigate moments of overindulging:

  1. Recognize how you feel + why. Why does this cause so much stress? What is the worst that can happen from eating 1 too many desserts?
  2. After giving yourself a moment to feel, acknowledge that it is valid but remind yourself the only way to move past it is to move forward. Remind yourself- every time this has happened before: it has been okay.
  3. Drink some water. After indulging, you may feel more thirsty which then impacts how you feel towards your body.
  4. Continue on as you normally would. Eat your regular meals, with color + all macronutrients.
  5. Set up a game plan for the next time this happens: when are you prone to overindulge? how can it be minimized? how can you move forward when it happens again?

 Overindulging happens + I promise you it isn’t the end of the world (even though it feels like it)! If you eat a little extra than planned, don’t freak out. You aren’t alone! Remember: food serves a much bigger purpose than just physical. It is okay to eat your favorite holiday foods. Maybe it is a recipe from a family member that you only get once a year. Maybe it is a food that brings back fond memories from past holidays. Food brings us together, enjoy it in the moment.

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