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Balancing Act: Enjoying the Festive Season without Sabotaging your Healthy Diet

Madhu Haval
December 13, 2023

The holiday season is a time for joy, connection, and, of course, festivities that revolve around hearty meals. While these events are filled with merriment, they can also present a nutritional balancing act, especially when social pressures can appear to derail your healthy eating goals.

Coupled together, all those festive parties and the stress the holidays can bring, may take a toll on your overall wellbeing from November to New Year’s. Luckily, with a few strategies, it’s possible to maintain your healthy habits throughout the holidays and beyond without feeling deprived. 

Setting the Stage for Success.

As you approach a festive gathering, think of it as a grand stage where your wellbeing takes centre stage. Setting the scene for success starts with a mindset that values both the celebration and your health. Before diving into the feast, take a moment to remind yourself of your health goals. This mental preparation will serve as your compass amid the temptations.

Know Your Triggers.

 Understanding your triggers is a crucial aspect of maintaining balance during the holidays. Whether it’s the aroma of grandma’s famous lasagna or the sight of your cousin’s grand dessert, identify the foods that might lead you astray. Knowing your triggers empowers you to make conscious choices and set boundaries that align with your priorities.

Mastering the Art of Boundaries.

Boundaries are your secret weapon. Politely declining extra servings or seconds doesn’t equate to rudeness; it’s an act of self-care. Be assertive yet gracious in communicating your boundaries. A simple “No, thank you, I’m full for now” can work wonders.

If relatives insist on piling your plate, use humour to diffuse tension. A light-hearted “I’m saving room for dessert — it’s my favourite part!” can deflect pressure while keeping the mood relaxed. Remember, setting boundaries is not a rejection of family traditions or expressions of love.

Building a Balanced Plate.

Approach the buffet table with the finesse of a seasoned navigator. Before loading your plate, take note of healthier options and fresh, vibrant choices. By opting for lean proteins, colourful vegetables, and whole grains, you will create a balanced and nutritious base. If you’re worried about portion control, use smaller plates and take it slow while eating. It can take some time for your body to recognise being full.

Collaborating with Family and Friends.

Share your journey and the positive impact of your dietary choices with your loved ones. This transparency can reduce the pressure to conform to less healthy options. Suggest incorporating healthier twists to traditional recipes or preparing dishes together. This not only promotes shared responsibility but also creates a supportive environment.

Managing Social Pressure and Alcohol.

Don’t succumb to societal expectations, especially when it comes to drinking alcohol. Politely decline without feeling pressured to participate. Opt for non-alcoholic alternatives, like sparkling water with a splash of juice, to stay festive without compromising your health goals. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Recognizing the Bigger Picture.

 Amidst the festive fervour, remember that social gatherings are just one day of your health journey. If you find yourself grappling with food guilt, recognize that it’s a small part of the bigger picture and you can always get back on track again. Embrace the joy of the season, savour the connections, and acknowledge that a single day of indulgence won’t overshadow weeks or months of mindful choices.

Here at One You we encourage balance throughout your health and fitness journey. Join us today using https://bit.ly/OneYou-WM-RBKC

Written by Cassandra Glaister (Mental Health Weight Management Specialist)