Falling Off the Saddle...Food Edition
Oh, the holidays. Why does all the food threaten to ruin all our healthy intentions?
If you read my last newsletter (and even if you didn’t), you’re familiar with the feeling of falling off the saddle. And hopefully, you read through it to learn that even if you do f*&k up once in a while, all is not lost.
Now that we are in full-fledged holiday time (read: parties, food galore, parties, temptations, parties, weak willpower) it’s not uncommon to stumble or fall again.
And your best-laid plans to eat sensibly, stay on track, and declare victory against the vicious vicissitudes of the holidays are suddenly, undeniably, challenged. Because no matter how hard we plan, and how much we promise, it can happen.
But the sharp turn of your well-intentioned eating habits doesn’t have to throw you off course and send you into the depths of despair.
You can celebrate the holidays and stay healthy at the same time - and enjoy some treats along the way - without even falling off the saddle. Here’s how:
Don’t arrive hungry. My husband can’t understand why, if I’m going to a party or out for dinner, I’ll eat something about an hour before I go. I’ll tell you what I tell him: Because I don’t want to arrive ravenous and eat the wrong thing or eat something I don’t even like. Taking the ‘edge off’ with a small snack like a cup of popcorn, a handful of nuts, a slice of cheese, or peanut butter on some whole grain crackers or bread can help you eat sensibly once you arrive.
Eat sensible meals throughout the day. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch, thinking you’ll save all the calories for later. This only sets you up for failure and overeating. Make sure to get fiber and protein in each meal, which will help fill you up and sustain you into the night. Here, some high-fiber foods from the Mayo Clinic, and high-protein foods from Harvard Health.
Stay hydrated. Yes, it is possible that you can mistake hunger for thirst. That’s because many of us have weak thirst signals, and when we’re feeling weak, irritable, or headachy, we may automatically assume we’re hungry. But remember, those are also strong signals that we need to hydrate. (Public Service Announcement: It’s not a bad idea to alternate alcoholic drinks with water, since alcohol tends to dehydrate you - and it is the dehydration that causes the wicked hangover you suffer the next morning.)
Give yourself permission. Deprivation and guilt (almost always) backfire when it comes to eating. Our brains and emotions play weird tricks on us, wanting and craving more of what is “forbidden.” Allow yourself to eat what you’d like. Just keep portions reasonable and pace yourself. (Some people do have “trigger” foods that send them spiraling out of control. If that’s you, steer clear of those, but allow yourself other treats.)
Watch your alcohol intake. That happy, loose feeling you get when you drink? Well, it also makes you lose control when it comes to food. This may not be a popular notion, but it is the documented truth (sorry). If you don’t want to give up the booze, here are a few tricks: Sip slowly. Since your body absorbs alcohol faster than you metabolize it, taking your time will slow the alcohol’s effects. Another one: Order drinks with ice, which will dilute the alcohol.
Psst…be on the lookout in early January, as I reveal U.S News and World Report’s annual Best Diet rankings 2024 rankings - including six newly-evaluated diets!
Things I like; things I covet…
When regular ice cubes won’t do, why not go for roses and diamonds?
These UGG chenille socks look so cozy, and the sparkle gives them an added holiday feel, don’t you think?
This time of year, I can’t use enough hand cream, and look for it in every room of the house. This one by L’Occitane looks especially nourishing and yummy with its shea butter and verbena scent.
Since I’m always freezing in the winter, this infrared sauna blanket that the company Higher Dose keeps sending into my feed speaks to me. But I fear once I go in, I may never want to come out!
Happy Holidays to all of you, and wishing you fun, love and peace!
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