Six Tips to Help You Enjoy Holiday Meals Without the Guilt

The holidays are notorious for one big reason: the food.

Everyone makes plans to overeat and overly indulge in plates of turkey, ham, potatoes of several varieties, buttery vegetables, fluffy rolls and multiple slices of pie. Everything is delightful but at the end of the day, you feel uncomfortable. It's tradition! (Right?)

I'm not going to tell you to not eat those once-a-year foods. Nor am I going to tell you that you need to workout before the meal to "earn" your holiday feast.

What I will give you a few tricks to help you not only enjoy all of the holiday foods, but also leave those parties feeling satisfied, not stuffed.

Decorative Pumpkins

Go for Satisfied, Not Stuffed
When you're filling your plate, get a taste of everything! These are once-a-year foods, so this is an incredibly special occasion. As you sit down to enjoy, take your time on the plate. Chew thoroughly and savor each morsel. When your fullness cues start kicking in, stop eating. 

When we stop eating before we're overly stuffed, we will not walk away from the table uncomfortable or full of guilt. We're acknowledging our bodies' natural signals and processes. Enjoy each bite, but stop before you're too stuffed. If you discover you're still hungry, go back and get yourself a little bit more.

Mind the Dessert Table
There will probably be several different kinds of pie, cookies galore, fudge, puddings...and so many other desserts. Find a dessert that speaks to you--one that looks absolutely delicious--and get yourself a serving. Sit down, without distractions, and enjoy it. Savor every bite and enjoy the complexities of the flavor. When you've had enough of the dessert, stop eating. Sometimes a few bites of a dessert will be enough to satisfy, other times, you may want to eat the entire piece. But, above all, enjoy it. 

And when you're finding the dessert that's calling you, bypass the store-bought treats. Sure they may be tasty, but foods made with love are so much better. You know?

Drink Water and Be Mindful of Alcohol
Alcohol packs calories, and I think we're all in agreement that we would rather eat our calories than drink them. If you do want to imbibe, have yourself one drink, but make sure to pair it with plenty of water.

Throughout your feast, drink lots and lots of water to keep you hydrated and to keep the digestive process moving. 

Eat Yo Veggies
Veggies slathered in butter are better than no veggies at all. Seek out the salads, green beans, sprouts and other naturally-green foods that may be on the table spread. Eat those first. Vegetables are loaded with beneficial fiber, which takes up room in our stomachs. You'll get a little fuller faster, and you'll feel good in knowing you finished your veggies first.

Move Your Body Because You Love it
Before big holiday meals, there's a lot of "fit-spo" saying you need to "earn your meal." That's false. You don't need to earn your meal. That's the diet mentality coming out. 

If you're going to enjoy a workout before the holiday meal, then do it out of a place of love, not from a place of self-hatred. Go for a run, practice yoga, lift weights--however you move your body, do it as a form of self-respect and self-care. Don't focus on how many calories you burned and equate that to the calories in a slice of pumpkin pie. 

Give Yourself Permission & Own Your Choices
When you sit down at that table, give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want, and thoroughly enjoy your meal. Regardless of if you eat two slices of pumpkin pie, three plates of turkey or drink the entire gravy boat, own your choices. Make the decision to eat, drink or move whatever and however you want, but own those choices. Take responsibility and accountability.

Combined, these two acts help us avoid the guilt and shame often associated with an overly-indulgent meal. These days were meant to be celebrated, so enjoy them thoroughly. 

And remember, one day of tasty foods will not derail your diet, or cause you to gain 10 pounds overnight. One indulgent meal will not tip the scales. 

Need more tips? Have questions? Let's set up a FREE health discovery call!