Have An Anti-Diet Holiday
Every year, November sneaks up on me and then I generally hang on for dear life through the year-end swirl until mid-January. Maybe you feel the same. The holiday season blows in like a blizzard and with it comes extra food, booze, stress and inevitably a New Year’s resolutions to go on a diet and lose weight. For some people, the holidays can be a huge trigger for diet cycling. You’re not alone. Starting at Halloween, I’d be hyper conscious about all the foods that I “shouldn’t” have or I’d count my calories, or I’d think about all the butter in the cookies, or stress about all the wine I’d consume at parties. Instead of enjoying my time, I’d be super anxious about what I was putting in my body. Then I’d compensate by eating less, “saving my calories” and exercising more… and on goes the vicious cycle. Inevitably I’d give up on all the rules and go completely overboard until January. Sound familiar to you?
If you struggle with anxiety around your holiday party circuit and all the extra treats available, I’m here to say you are certainly not alone and it’s not your fault. Here’s the thing... our culture has ingrained in us this frenzied sense of holiday eating and then told us that the only way to combat the weight gain - which I want to point out here is only roughly 1 lb - is to go on a “New Year’s Resolution Diet”. You’ve seen the Jenny Craig ads and the gym deals. It’s a marketing ploy to make you lose your sanity about food. The message is everywhere. Binge and Purge. It really isn’t your fault; it’s not your lack of willpower, or inability to stick to the plan. It’s about your relationship with food. If this scenario describes you, let’s try a new tactic. This year, make peace with food by eating intuitively. Don’t know where to start? Here are our quick tips around how to enjoy your holidays without falling into the diet mentality trap.
95% of diets fail. Why? Because they’re not sustainable. When you diet, you innately deprive yourself. Then you inevitably fail and binge. This holiday season, make a resolution to NOT diet. All foods fit in a balanced lifestyle. Allowing yourself to eat any food or meal you want takes away the anxiety and deprivation state of mind, leading to a much more balanced relationship with food. In other words, when you make peace with food, you take away the feeling of needing to binge.
Have you ever saved your calories by skipping meals or only eaten cucumbers in order to “save room” on Thanksgiving?? This doesn’t work either because it leads to overcompensating at dinner time. Instead of sending yourself into a tailspin at the table, eat balanced meals beforehand. You’ll be better able to control your appetite and your body will be able to better sense when you’re full. Not only that, but you’ll actually because to stop and fully enjoy your food instead of shoveling it in at full speed.
Walk it Out
Family time may be stressful and lots of people turn to food when they’re triggered. Take time for a deep breath when you need it. Recognizing that your cravings may be coming from stress can be hugely liberating. Instead, go for a quick walk around the block or make time to exercise in the morning before the festivities begin. You’ll come back to the table more refreshed and level headed. Not only that but studies show that taking just a 10 minute walk after dinner helps reduce blood sugar spikes and aids gut motility. The faster things move along, the better satiety response you’ll have and also that stuffing won’t feel like a brick in your stomach.
Doing something for yourself can change your whole attitude about the day. If you’re a person that needs their space (and hey, we all do), taking a break or planning a walk is not something to feel guilty about. Remember it’s about quality… not quantity.
Stop When You’re Full
Honor your fullness. Sure, it’s one thing to do that on a regular day, but it can be hard when you have relatives trying to constantly fill up your plate. Sometimes family members think they have a free pass to make comments or judgements about what’s on your plate. They don’t. You can still acknowledge their hard work and let them know you appreciate ALL the food, but you don’t need to eat all of it. Remember that if you are overly full, odds are you won’t be able to enjoy your meal as much. Instead of feeling obligated to overeat, let them know you’ll have more later or ask for a doggie bag.
The holidays are stressful to begin with. Having anxiety around food unnecessarily adds fuel to the fire. Remember to take it one meal at a time and listen to your body. In doing so, you’ll enjoy not just the food, but the whole season a lot more.
In charge of apps this year? Try out our fiber-ful AND flavorful Spicy White Bean Dip. Super easy and full of nutrition.
Spicy White Bean Dip
1 TBSP Olive Oil
4 Green Onions finely minced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lemon
2 15 oz cans White Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 TBSP water
2 TSP Fresh or ½ TSP dried Rosemary, minced
2 TBSP Sriracha or Spicy Chili Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a skillet, heat olive oil. Sauté onions until soft. Add minced garlic, and sauté for another minute, Stir in lemon juice, white beans, water, rosemary, spicy sauce, salt and pepper. Cover skillet and heat for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to food processor and blend until smooth.
Once smooth, place in serving bowl with a garnish of rosemary and olive oil. Serve with warm or at room temperature and enjoy with veggies and/or crackers.