When you’re trying to stick to a clean diet over the holidays, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out. You don’t want to skip your favorite dessert, or say no to drinks with your friends, or be the person ordering chicken and broccoli at a family dinner out.
At the same time, you don’t want to wake up on January 1st and realize that you’ve eaten your way through the holidays without a second thought...and now you’re further away from your goals than ever.
So, how do you find the balance between enjoying the holidays and mindlessly overindulging?
Today, we’re talking about how to avoid excess sugar—without deprivation, unhealthy restriction, or guilt.
INDULGE IN MODERATION
When we completely restrict ourselves from enjoying our favorite treats and snacks, it often leads to uncontrollable cravings, overindulging, or binging. So, instead of declaring certain foods “off limits,” choose an attitude of moderation. If you’re at a special event or celebration, maintain your diet as well as you can...but also enjoy a small scoop of ice cream or a few bites of chocolate cake if you’d really like to.
LIMIT MINDLESS DRINKING
Here’s the thing—you don’t want to know how much sugar can be found in fancy holiday drinks (no, really, you don’t want to know). Before ordering your next festive cocktail or peppermint mocha, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry...or if you just want to be sipping on a drink for fun. If the former is true, consider going for some nourishing food instead. And if the latter is true, get an herbal tea or a sparkling water instead.
FILL UP ON HEALTHY FOODS
If you’re heading to a big event in the evening, make sure to nourish your body with healthy food all day long. Sometimes, there’s a temptation to restrict yourself during the day in order to “offset” the heavy food you’re expecting to be served at a dinner party. But, in reality, daytime restriction will just make you hungry (or hangry)...and lead to overindulging later in the evening. So, during the day, focus on eating plenty of protein, greens, and healthy fats. Then, when you arrive at the event, you’ll be able to make healthy, mindful choices since you’re satiated, not starving.
KEEP YOUR FOCUS OFF THE FOOD
Worrying about calories, carbs, and cravings all season long isn’t going to help anything. In fact, if you’ve got food on the brain all day long, you’re even more likely to give into your cravings and consume too much sugar...since it’s all you’re thinking about! So, during the holiday season, keep your focus on what really matters: connection, love, and celebration. Let yourself enjoy connecting with people at social events and festive gatherings—without obsessing over your diet goals—and you might find it’s easier to stay away from the dessert table that you’d expected.
At the end of the day, remember that food is just food! It doesn’t have to control your emotions, your choices, or your mood. And you can enjoy a wonderful holiday season while also mindfully focusing on your long-term goals and intentions. Happy holidays!