We are approaching the most wonderful time of year. The crisp fall air is rolling in, the leaves are changing color, and pumpkin patches are popping up around us.
However, for many of us anxiety is rising with the first glimpse of the holiday candy aisle at the grocery store (which, by the way, will be ever-more prominent between now and Easter). With the cold weather approaching we are not spending as much time outside. In addition, holiday planning is officially “in process” as we are arranging gatherings with friends and family. As is custom, these gatherings center around food and drinks. What we often forget is how we will feel in the wake of these events, as our pants seem to fit a little too tight and our blood sugar levels begin to elevate.
Recent correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine reminds us that this is the lightest we will weigh all year. However, hope does exist! Practicing mindful eating is a proven technique to manage weight and disease states. Here are a few quick tips to help us be mindful and feel empowered to face the upcoming holidays; and stay healthy in the process.
1. Make your new years resolutions now (before the carnage begins!) – Setting goals and saying them out loud can be a powerful practice. Find a safe and trusted friend or relative who you can chat with about any health related goals you might have. For example, sign up to train for a 10k or half marathon. Another goal could be to maintain your weight throughout the holidays. Reward yourself with a new pair of jeans or boots on New Years Day to celebrate reaching your goal.
2. Pre-game (and I don’t mean alcohol) - Before going to a party, have a light and healthy snack, so you are not tempted to overeat and indulge when arriving at a party.
3. Make ONE balanced plate – Whether it’s a thanksgiving buffet or a cocktail party, be mindful of the plate that you make. Making one balanced plate and walking away from the food table can help us keep track of exactly how much we have consumed. On a similar note, instead of filling up that second (or third) glass of wine or Mistletoe Martini Punch, grab a cup and fill it with water. We are often more focused on our conversation instead of what or how much food or beverage we are consuming.
Being mindful about our food and beverage intake before going into the holidays can allow us to approach holiday gatherings with confidence. Knowing we have a plan in place enables us to not wake up with guilt or regret the next day…or at our next doctors visit.
Post inspired by an October 2016 article published in the NY Times.
-Blog Contributor, Laura Zimmerman Dietetics Student, Consumer & Family Studies, SF State.