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A Conscious Holiday Survival Guide

Here's an easy strategy to thrive during the holiday season.

“Food=joy … guilt … anger … pain … nurturing … friendship … hatred … the way you look and feel…. Food=everything you can imagine” ~ Susan Powter

This can be such a great time of year. It’s an opportunity to spend time with family and friends whom we just don’t get to see enough during the rest of the year. It’s a chance to reflect on our lives, to be grateful and set new intentions.

I know that a lot of people struggle with food at holiday time. From Thanksgiving through New Years can seem like a constant invitation to eat foods that we try to avoid the rest of the year. People often ask me “how do I get through the holidays without eating too much junk?’ Well here are my top suggestions for enjoying the holiday season without compromising your health. Please read them all because it’s meant to be a complete strategy.

  1. Mindset: Allow yourself some enjoyment. Please, have fun. Eat things that you ordinarily don’t eat. When you go to a party, see what’s available and pick a few things that you want and have them. When you leave the party go back to eating in a more nourishing way. Just because you ate cupcakes or cookies at the party, that doesn’t mean you have to eat those things daily or with reckless abandon between now and New Year’s Day. A lot of people have the mindset that once we’ve eaten several treats that we are somehow “off the wagon” and will pick up a “diet” after the New Year. If that’s been you, consider trying a different approach this year.

  2. Eat nourishing food when you are not at the holiday celebrations: The more you feed your body things that nourish it, the less it’s wants to over-indulge in the treats. This is true year round and especially important at holiday time. Start your day with a good breakfast and eat as well as you can throughout the day.

  3. Don’t go to the party starving: Have a nourishing snack or small meal before you go. This way you can taste the things that really appeal to you instead of grabbing everything in sight.

  4. Bring a great tasting dish with you that you feel good about sharing and eating: If it feel appropriate to you, bring something for the buffet table. Shrimp cocktail is always a hit and people love roasted vegetables. Try roasting some cauliflower in a 450 degree oven until brown. The browning is the natural sugar in the vegetable caramelizing and it makes it delicious. For a more luxurious treat, toss with a bit of truffle oil at the end. This will give you something that you know you can eat a good amount of as a foundation and then you can add in. Your host will appreciate the contribution.

  5. Don’t drink too much: Not only will drinking too much leave you feeling lousy and add to the holiday weight gain, it also impairs your judgment when it comes to food choices and can cause you to eat things that you don’t even want. Enjoy your wine, eggnog and/or cocktails but be mindful of how much you are drinking. Try having some water in between drinks, this will keep you hydrated, less likely to feel hung over and help you to drink less.

  6. Try to increase your physical activity. I’m signing up for extra exercise classes this week and next. If I can’t make it to class, I’m going to walk places instead of driving. Just get moving whenever you can, it’s so good for you in many ways and will help you to feel and look better.

  7. Get enough rest: Your body needs it. I find when I’m tired, I want to eat more and often I crave things that I don’t usually eat. Especially during the holiday season when we have extra stress on us, make sure that you are sleeping and taking breaks.

These are my top strategies for enjoying the holidays. I hope that you use them to have a great holiday season and if you feel like you need some support, visit www.TheConsciousPlate.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nicole Shealey December 16, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Great advice, Randy! I'm sure you've lifted the spirits of many who struggle with this yearly.
Randy Rabney December 17, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Thanks, Nicole.

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