Sticking with my Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.
I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.
And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.
And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.
What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?
Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into two environments.
The home environment.
Tip #1. Instead of baking cookies for others, consider other baked goods that you can give as WHOLE THINGS. For example, banana bread, pies, cakes. Most of these are less time-consuming to make than individual cookies, and you won't be tempted to slip in a piece. I mean who's going to give a pie to someone with a piece cut out?
Tip#2. Consider GIVING away things other than baked goods. Fruit baskets are great choices and many people actually welcome them this time of year, when they've been inundated with other junk food. Make your own for a fraction of the price of store bought.
Tip#3. When you are baking at home, those little BLT's add up. Remember, BLT stands for Bite, Lick or Taste. Don't start cooking until after you've had a protein rich meal. Your body will be busy digesting for hours and you'll be less tempted to snack. If baking is an all day event, plan a decent lunch and take a break to sit while eating.
Tip#4. If you will be baking at home or you just have lots of goodies in the kitchen, brush and floss your teeth after every meal. A clean fresh mouth will make those treats less tempting. Consider chewing peppermint gum as well and if possible, avoid the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.
Tip#5. Are you inundated with food related gifts from family and friends? I almost hate to say it, but re-gift. You can appreciate the thoughtfulness without having to "appreciate" it. Pass on the thoughtfulness to someone else.
Tip#6. What's your reason for NOT overindulging this season? If you don't have one, you need to come up with something that will make this a season that is defined by something other than the goodies you can indulge in. With no real reason for sticking to clean eating, you'll be much more likely to convince yourself a little bite here, and a little cookie there won't hurt.
The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them and give away what you can.
It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.
And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.
There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.
There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.
And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."
Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:
- Recognize that just because food is there, doesn't mean you have to eat it. Are you eating because you're hungry? Or because you're bored and you CAN? Before you indulge in anything at the office, take a moment and think about why you are eating. If it's a one of kind treat, offered only once a year, than maybe it's worth the calories. If it's something you could get again tomorrow, why bother?
- TAKE the time to prepare and bring your lunch every single day from now until the holiday craziness has passed. And not just any old lunch - think of some of your favorite, clean lunches and bring those, so you won't be tempted by the trays and trays of sub sandwiches in the break room. Pack snacks too. Things that are easy and portable are beef jerky, string cheese, raw nuts, fresh fruit. Always aim to eat some lean protein and fiber so you will stay full for a longer period of time.
- Handle the food-pushers assertively. When they offer you tempting goodies, look them directly in the eye and say "It looks wonderful and I'm sure it tastes fabulous, but I am (insert one of the following: full, limiting how many sweets I am eating this year, cutting back on in between meal snacks, etc). The key is to be appreciative, but also direct. If they persist, again, look them directly in the eye, and say, " Honestly, first name, I'm _______(repeat your rationale). Leave it at that.
- Lastly, the most simple and direct tip I can give you. Avoid the food. Don't hang out where food is stored or sitting out. You'll constantly have to tell yourself "no" and repeating "no" over and over doesn't actually increase your conviction, it weakens it. It's like exposure to a cold or illness. The greater (more frequent) the exposure, the greater the chance you will catch the bug and give in.
During this “busy holiday season”, it’s important to pull the reins back a bit.
Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for the month.
But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.
Skip the seconds on Christmas Day.
Pick and choose your favorites, whatever you want, but don't go back for a second plate.
Who's with me?
To your best health,