I totally get how hard it is to always stay on track during the normal weekdays; but what about a holiday weekend and what about the summer months where it’s a constant reminder of our current results? I wanted to share exactly what it is that I do and how I have stopped thinking I had to be either “good” or “bad” on my plan. The secret is to find balance and to have a plan in all that we do.
Do you have to be perfect? I have to say that I don’t really enjoy this word as it only makes us feel like a failure. There is absolutely no such thing as a perfect human being. LOL We all trip and fall and following a meal plan with a normal life is a recipe for not being perfect. But the irony of it is that being imperfect is part of finding our success long term.
Say what? Right?
This is what I’ve learned over many years of trial and error and feeling like a failure over and over again. You can follow any meal plan that fits your body’s needs and succeed. There is no magic “one way” plan. Today I will share my simple strategy for success over a holiday celebration without feeling like a failure or as someone who has to be deprived in order to succeed.
- Stay Hydrated. This is really the easiest thing to do and something we tend to skip over when we aren’t as focused on following a plan or being “good”, right? When you wake up every morning, holiday mornings and every other morning every day, drink at least 1/2 – 1 liter of water before you eat breakfast. Drink the water immediately as you are already dehydrated from hours of sleep and no hydrating in those hours. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, squeeze some lemon or lime juice into your water or cut up some fruit and herbs and place into a large pitcher, filled with water to create infused waters with fun flavors.
- Plan your meals when not at the event or celebration. If you are planning to attend a party or festivities, make sure to structure your day’s foods around the event. I like to start the day as every other day and eat my breakfast. I then plan in snacks and other meals that I’d eat normally at home in order to keep my body fueled and on track as usual. I also pre-plan what I’ll have at the event. If I don’t know what foods will be available, I will always bring something that I know I can eat if nothing else fits my needs. Obviously you’ll want to enjoy fun foods and drinks but being mindful and mentally preparing yourself for the day will only guarantee a better result.
- What to choose at the event. The next step is to understand exactly what to choose when you’re at the party or event. If it’s a buffet style meal, walk around the table at least 3-5 times and take note of all the available choices. There are more than likely many options of foods that you don’t even like but in our culture of indulging, we tend to just eat everything placed in front of us because we feel that’s a necessity. It’s not and stop eating what you don’t like. That’s rule #1. The next step is to fill your plate primarily with veggies and protein. Be mindful of the amount of dressings and sauces you place on your veggies or meats. Finally, choose the 2-3 options of foods that you truly love to eat. It may be foods that you don’t ordinarily allow yourself because you’re usually following a plan to eliminate high fat or high carb foods. At the event, choose your favorites and limit the choices to no more than 3 items and serve yourself a regular portion serving size. Don’t just put a dollop of mashed potatoes on your plate if you want a full serving. You’ll only leave feeling deprived and that opens up problems long after you leave the party.
- Eat dessert! Simply put, I love sweets and if I am at a party and there are sweets available then I’m all in! But I like to follow the rules of eating one serving size and enjoying it in public, with a fork or a spoon in front of others. Why is this so important? Because we will take our time to enjoy the foods or treats and not scarf them down mindlessly and automatically eat more in response to just getting that “fix” of the treat. Be mindful, enjoy what you love most and leave the rest for everyone else.
- Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than 2. Yes, you can. You are an adult and have the ability to limit your alcoholic drinks (if you choose to imbibe) to no more than 2. Go ahead and have your favorites without worrying about the amount of calories, sugar, etc. If it’s something you rarely allow yourself then go ahead and enjoy it in front of others. Above all else, have dignity in yourself and your body. When you’ve reached your limit of 1-2 drinks, choose to drink something that will look like a drink and feel like a drink by pouring club soda or sparkling water into a fancy glass and spritzing with some cranberry juice or other flavor and voila…it will almost seem like you’re drinking but you’ll feel so much better in the morning. No guilt and no headache. Enough said.
- Get activity into your day. You don’t have to plan in a typical workout if you are in the mindset to “chill out” but make sure to schedule in more movement into these days. Take a walk with your dog, your loved ones or by yourself listening to some motivational words of wisdom on your phone. Go for a bike ride, take a hike, go for a run. Meet some friends and enjoy fun activities that feel like socializing but get your heart pumping too. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do…just do something instead of sitting on your butt all day.
So there you have it. Simple steps anyone can do to enjoy the holidays and still wake up the following day without remorse or guilt or bloating that stops your heart. Have a healthy, fit and festive holiday! You are worth it and more!