This week marks the start of the holidays, and no matter which version of a traditional Thanksgiving is happening for you this year, this time can mean the additional stress of extra food, extra drinks, weight gain and progress lost.
Let us assure you, we have dealt with the same thing!
But we have found a better way to approach the culinary joys of the holidays, and we are pleased to share them with you!
It’s Valeo‘s annual “holiday meal spiel!“
Firstly, let us remind you that every culture throughout history has gathered around food. Food is far more than fuel – it’s feelings and fellowship; it is tradition and celebration; ritual and remembrance.
Secondly, it is far more important what you eat between Christmas and Thanksgiving, then it is what you eat between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It will take several days of intentional overeating to derail an otherwise consistent diet.
Choose joy! Choose celebration! No guilt. No shame. Then, choose to get back to normal!
For those of you who are looking for a few practical tips to outline some positive behaviors toward food, we have included our favorites below:
◦ Don’t hedge around your favorite treats, only to eat everything BUT the pumpkin cheesecake… And then you eat the pumpkin cheesecake anyway. Remember, this is a “sometimes” occasion. You are going to enjoy yourself, guilt-free, and then the pumpkin cheesecake will be gone! Skip the “not worth it” foods and savor the “yup, worth it every time” foods.
◦ Prone to snacking? Choose proteins and vegetables between meals. Foods from these groups are fibrous, filling and don’t contain a lot of calories, relative to the space they take up in your tummy. Choose a little bit of guacamole for some healthy fats but don’t hover over the dips and dairy. This is where the calories can add up.
◦ Be the jerk who brings a veggie tray. See previous tip. We mention this only because we typically celebrate Thanksgiving with family in Wisconsin, where sweet potato casserole and fried cheese curds are the only two agricultural crops. Seriously. 🙂
◦ Limit alcoholic beverages. Alcohol contains a lot of energy (aka calories), offers zero in the way of nutrition and lowers your inhibitions, leading to more eating and drinking. Enjoy a drink or two with delight. Then be done.
◦ Aw, nuts! Nuts are sneaky. Full of great nutrition and healthy fats, nuts are also loaded with lots of energy (calories). One cup of cashews is about 800 Calories, at which point you might as well have just had a Big Mac meal. And no, it doesn’t work any differently if you eat them a spoonful at a time.
◦ Move around! On days you plan to attend (physically-distanced) gatherings or host, physical activity will spike your metabolism and reduce stress! It doesn’t need to be rigorous. Go for a 20 minute walk, furiously clean the house, or employ us to do something more creative for you remotely. 😉
That’s it! Those are our TOP tips for battling the bulge this holiday season. And remember, it’s just that – a season. Savor each sensation with family, friends and food – gratitude over guilt.
Oh, and that post-meal nap? It’s not the tryptophan. You didn’t eat that much turkey. All that food needs as much help as it can get to digest, which is why you passed out in the chair after dinner. So…just in case you missed it –
the Lions lost.
– Coach Mike