Consistent healthy holiday eating

This is the time of the year when it's so easy to make bad decisions with eating choices.
But I'm not talking about devouring a dozen pieces of Halloween candy in one sitting, eating an oversized portion of Pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream or choosing 3 holiday cookies for an afternoon snack.

Nope, I'm talking about dieting.
A diet is a restrictive way of eating, designed to help you gain control over previously unhealthy eating habits.

Although it may sound like exactly what you need around the holidays, a diet is a big change in your eating routine - it's rapid, it's extreme and it provides temporary results. 

Healthy and mindful eating is a learned habit and once achieved, it makes it possible to enjoy the holiday season without guilt, anxiety or fear. 

A few tips come to mind when it comes to eating healthy around the holidays. 

1. Don't be locked down to one style of eating - having freedom with your eating choices will keep you from the overindulging and binging that often occurs from food restriction. 

2. Have a plan - it sounds so simple but if you have a plan as to how you will navigate holiday parties and events, you will be more likely to feel in control over your food choices. It's encouraged to include some treats in your plan as this strategy teaches you how to indulge responsibly. 

3. Don't exclude, include - trying to control/limit calories in order to save room for the off-limit, bad or calorie dense foods will backfire. It always has and it always will. When a holiday meal (or dessert) is in your near future, be sure to include healthy foods in your diet (which also will help support good immune system and metabolic health) to help promote satiety, stabilize blood sugar and steady your energy prior to your indulging eating experience

4.  Think long term, not short - short term thinking is why you feel like a failure when you indulge. This is no way to live your life. Instead, think long term so that you have a clear path as to how you will maintain a healthy body composition and your good health throughout the holiday season. Note, a clear path includes indulging as one or three spread-out occasions of eating a little more than normal will not keep you from reaching your long term health/body comp goals. 

5. Patience with body composition - your ability to stay consistent with food choices throughout the holiday season will enable you to feel great in the New Year. Don't get discouraged if your body doesn't look the same as it did a few months ago and certainly don't convince yourself that the holidays is the time to have the "why bother" attitude because you are already doomed for failure with all the bad food choices. Be patient over the holidays as your motive for healthy eating should be to keep yourself healthy - not for a look. 

Far too many people become irrational around the holidays, assuming that the only way to survive the holidays (or to feel better after a big meal) is to follow a diet strategy (ex. juice, detox, avoid carbs or starve yourself). 

The holidays are a special time of the year to be around family and friends. 

Not a time for deprivation and dieting.

While the holiday food choices are irresistible, the best approach to consistent healthy holiday eating is to remind yourself that one meal will not keep you from maintaining great health or reaching your body composition goals.
Learn to eat in a way that makes you feel better after you eat, than before you started.