OK so society says that the New Year is when we should start on all those lofty goals we set for ourselves, like eating clean. But why wait until then?
Were you happy with the way your New Year’s resolutions turned out in the past? Do you want next year’s resolutions to turn out the same way?
Then do something different.
Forget about what society influences you to do and rather decide to do what feels right to you. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it or you won’t be able to enjoy the holidays unless you wait until January 1st to start making positive changes to your eating habits. It’s all lies. Yes, your brain tells you lies as a result of subconscious brainwashing and subliminal messages. We’re all victims of it and creating positive habits requires conscious cognitive restructuring.
The truth is, there will always be an excuse. There’s New Year’s itself, then that awesome super bowl party, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and so on. All year long. Just imagine how it would feel to be better equipped to handle the temptations of all the other upcoming special occasions if you got through the ultimate holiday season eating clean.
Before you click off this post, let’s keep this all in perspective.
This is YOUR eating clean plan. You make the rules. Stick with the basics but then make conscious agreements with yourself for all the rest. There is no “requirement” to deny yourself any of the flavours of the season or even the occasional treat throughout December. Finding a balance with your “eating rules” is something that is so important no matter what time of the year it is, but especially when temptations are at their highest over the holidays.
Most of us take indulging to ridiculous levels all month long in December – between festive party munchies, massive holiday lunches and dinners, baked goodies and tons of cookies, candy and chocolate for sharing everywhere you look, whipped cream coffees and hot chocolates, sweet cocktails and frothy beers. The opportunities are literally endless.
So set the guidelines down for yourself now – before you get into the thick of the season. And make a commitment to hold yourself accountable.
Here are my Top 5 December “eating rules” – I hope you’ll consider using them yourself or coming up with your very own (and sharing them in the comments!):
- Compensate: When I have a big festive meal or party on the agenda for the day, I compensate with my meals for the rest of that day and the day after, which could mean eating lighter than usual for breakfast and lunch. For me, this usually means eating tons of fresh salad and raw veggies. Plus remembering to carry a few healthy snacks to keep me feeling satiated throughout the day to avoid binging, such as nuts, seeded flapjacks, hummus pots, smoothies, yogurt, etc.
- 80% full portion control: This is always an important factor for keeping things in check, but it’s even more important in December when meals are usually a little bigger and more indulgent. At family dinners or party meals, decide to eat smaller portions and to eat slower. I find it helps me when I keep in the front of my mind that I will be eating until I feel 80% full. When I know I have a limit, this definitely helps me to enjoy every bite of food that much more. Plus, there’s always an opportunity later for a healthy snack if hunger creeps in. (Bust out the lemon hummus!).
- Don’t just eat it for the sake of it: Unless you really love it, don’t bother. Not a fan of mince pie? Then don’t even pick one up. That gingerbread cookie doesn’t taste as good as it looked? Discard!! If I am going for a treat, then I will be darn sure that I am seriously loving every bite of it down to the last crumb.
- Drink consciously: It’s so easy to go out for drinks or to a holiday party and just consume drink after drink without keeping any tabs on yourself. Parties (and the next day!) can be much more fun when you maintain that relaxed and happy “buzz” rather than letting things get out of control… and beyond! Give yourself a limit and drink water throughout the evening. Also, choose your drinks wisely to keep the calories down. A couple of glasses of wine or spirits with sparkling water and a spritz of citrus are my first choices!
- Limit ‘yoself with a mind-set shift trick: When it comes to eating holiday cookies, cakes, treats, hot beverages, etc. don’t just throw in the towel! You don’t have to load up to partake in the holly jolly, sampling is actually much more rewarding. First off, you’ll find that you totally savor every bite. Plus, you’ll pretty much guarantee that you won’t get that bloated and sickly feeling. But probably most importantly, you’ll feel so proud of yourself. This is a very powerful “trick” – a mind-set shift, if you will. When you are faced with that holiday cookie plate, don’t allow yourself to think about how deprived you’ll feel if you don’t get to have 3 of each kind. Instead, think about how happy and proud you will feel when you wake up tomorrow if you just have 1 or 2. Actually picture yourself waking up tomorrow with that feeling. Trust me, it works.
Ready to get a month’s start on those eating clean goals that you set for yourself? Are you with me?
That’s the spirit!
Just imagine how fabulous you’re going to feel this festive season overflowing with happiness, clarity of mind, vibrance and lots of energy to do everything that’s merry during the holidays – carolling concerts, craft fairs, shopping, light shows, ice skating, decorating, wrapping, parties and dancing!
Roll on December!! We got you covered.