If you seriously struggle with disordered eating, are in active recovery from addiction, or are dealing with any other issues, this post may not be for you. But…if you’re sick of the pro-diet, restrictive culture that consumes us even at “the most wonderful time of the year,” then you’re probably in the right place.
Every year at this time, I cringe-read headlines like “How to Stay On Track During the Holidays” or “How to Avoid Temptation at Holiday Parties.” And every year, I write a snarky-but-serious response.
This year is no different.
At the holidays, there is “temptation” everywhere. Workplace potlucks, cookie swaps, dinner parties, and a plethora of indulgent treats all over the place.
Where there’s a festive celebration, there’s a cocktail…followed by another…and then a giant slice of cake.
If an active, healthy lifestyle is new to you or if you’re celebrating recent weight loss or success at intuitive eating, the holidays can be especially stressful. I get that, I really do.
But if your holiday schedule revolves around how many calories each event may add to your intake or whether you may miss a series of WODs or a 10-mile run, you deserve peace of mind and freedom from such thoughts.
How to Handle Temptation During the Holidays
So how do you handle temptation during the holidays?
Easy. Embrace it.How do you handle holiday temptation? Easy: embrace it. Click To Tweet
When else do you get to surround yourself with family and other loved ones, indulge in a variety of seasonal delicacies, and enjoy parties, light displays, gift exchanges, and a host of other traditions?
Probably never—except right now.
The holiday season is about joy. It’s about sharing. Nurturing. Giving. Experiencing the moments.
I honestly believe that you cannot fully experience the wonders of this time of year if you restrict your food intake or set your exercise routine to unnatural levels.
It’s one thing to avoid a holiday cocktail party because you’re trying to maintain sobriety and aren’t quite ready for such an environment—in fact, I commend and respect you for that type of self-awareness and commitment. But if you’re avoiding cocktails because those calories mean you’ll have to skip breakfast and cut portions at lunch and dinner, then you’d be wise to seek professional help.
If you don’t quite trust your intuition around food and booze, then try these tips.
Bring a healthy side dish to your holiday potluck.
Been there, done that—and probably will again in a few weeks at our Christmas party. When I saw that our Thanksgiving potluck at work was full of casseroles and carbs (all wonderful things!), I opted to bring a simple and light cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad. Trust me, I had samples (and second helpings) of everything else, but the salad was refreshing. Having one or two healthy options may ease your mind.
Carry a water bottle with you
If you’re afraid of drinking too much, keep a water bottle on hand. Drink plenty of water and make a point to alternate alcoholic drinks with full glasses of water. Or, if you want to avoid drinking altogether, offer to be designated driver or sip some mocktails (seltzer with a splash of cranberry juice was my go-to when I attended weddings and such while pregnant).
Taste everything you want to taste
…But take full servings of only your favorites. That way you get to taste all the delicious treats at parties and potlucks but don’t have to gorge yourself into misery.
Mix your workouts with your fun (or chores)
One of my favorite new traditions is going ice skating downtown with my hubby during Christmas. It’s so much fun and it’s definitely a mega calorie burner. If you’re lucky enough to actually experience a snowy, wintery wonderland, get some exercise shoveling snow. Walk extra laps at the mall while shopping for gifts. Chase your little one in the snow while having a snowball fight. You can get your blood pumping and sweat pouring while having fun or getting other stuff done.
Remember the New Year is right around the corner
If you do eat too many sweets or imbibe in too much booze, just remember you can rest it off and start fresh in January. I’m not a big “pie in the sky” resolutions proponent (I advocate a healthy mix of moderation and indulgence all the time), but I still believe that the New Year is a perfect time to create good habits and set reasonable goals. Just don’t beat yourself up!Practical ways to handle #holiday temptation. Spoiler: just enjoy it! Click To Tweet
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- How do you stay active during the holidays—or do you tend to take it easy?
- What’s your favorite tip for enjoying the treats but not overdoing it?