Something as fundamental as nutrition should NOT be complicated and should focus on a simple, habit – based approach. You don’t have to be perfect right away…or ever – in fact, if your goal is to be perfect – you won’t reach this goal, I guarantee this. Practice does NOT make perfect, practice makes one better and more aware! Do you have a plan for food consumption at gatherings? Have a plan! Identify areas where you splurge or fall off track. If you need help with this, we can help you talk you through this step to make sure you can succeed! Here are some strategies to use while thinking of a plan. Talk to someone about your plan – verbalizing a plan will help set you up for success.
- In regards to a plan for portions, stay on a plate method plan & try to stay on time with regular meal times to refrain from snacking throughout the entire gathering (although this is very tempting – we know – we’re all human!). If it’s a later supper time than usual, snack on veggies or nuts and seeds, rather than dessert treats or chips. If chips are a tempting snack treat for you, buy some baked sweet potato chips (as an idea).
- Know WHY you are trying to stay on track with food during these gatherings. If you have no reason other than “you think you should”….well that’s a step in the right direction. Reasons might include: You’ve been on a healthy track for a few days or weeks now and you don’t want to feel like you are starting over after thanksgiving just because you didn’t stay consistent during the weekend. OR maybe this is a great opportunity for you to see how far you’ve come with your nutritional habits! …reasons should always be personalized to your story.
- Bring your own healthy snacks or sides! Especially if you are unsure of what type of food will be at the gathering(s).
- Communicate with someone who is not at the gathering to keep yourself accountable. Text your accountability partner what you ate every time you ate something. Another idea would be to take a picture of what’s on your plate and send it to your accountability partner.
- Holiday plates might be bigger than regular plates. Draw attention to that! Try to stick to 9” in diameter with plate method!
- DO NOT SKIP YOUR MEALS ALL DAY LONG TO HAVE A BIG MEAL AT THE GATHERING! DON’T WORKOUT THE DAY OF, JUST TO EAT JUNK LATER! You WILL over eat and it takes your body so long to catch up with it! It also will make you feel awful (physically) and maybe emotionally, too.
- CUT YOURSELF OFF after you’ve finished your meal – toss your plate or put it in the dishwasher. *We have to remember that our brain is 15 minutes behind our belly!* Usually we eat fast at these gatherings – it might have taken about 2-3 days to cook everything for a thanksgiving meal, and it typically only takes 15 minutes for it to be eaten. If you are still hungry after your first plate method meal, go for a walk and decide “am I really hungry? Or am I just eating because there’s so much (free) food available!” If you come back and your tummy still needs more food, take another helping of veggies. If you’re still not satisfied, go for protein next!
- Tune into your body’s hunger cues. Talk with people around you. Drink water during your meal.
- HAVE A TREAT…and move on. Don’t stay by the treats. After you eat the treat, go and mingle with family and friends, don’t keep the treats in front of you. Tune into intuitive eating.
- If there’s a full table of desserts and you really want more than one kind of treat, that’s fine – split each treat into smaller portions and or share each treat with a friend. Don’t put yourself in a position to restrict yourself from treats and then indulge when your will power doesn’t hold.
- Practice mindful stress management. Every person handles stress differently. Some use food as a coping mechanism (lack of food or over consumption of food), others like to exercise (sometimes to a fault – recovery and rest are part of a healthy lifestyle, others might have a combination of all of these, and others might use alcohol.
- ALCOHOL – is popular as a beverage for social interaction at many social events. On a nutritional level, KNOW YOUR DRINKS. KNOW THE ALCOHOL SUGAR AND CARB LEVELS. Bring your own beverages that you know will have lower sugar content. Have a 1:1 water ratio with any alcohol consumption. This will help you pace the drinking as well as re-hydrate while you’re dehydrating your body with the alcohol consumption. Try not to drink on an empty stomach.
- Alcohol is a popular form of stress management – we see this quite often with moms or business owners, especially with COVID – 19 and the impact it has had. In fact, it’s become fairly normalized for people to have a few glasses of wine (or bottles of beer) to wind down from the busyness and stress of each day! Is this something you are aware of? (No judgement – at all, just a simple question to get you to think about it.)
If you are someone who has struggled or is struggling with alcoholism (this is very serious), and you’re trying to avoid it, communicate this with the gathering host and guests – feel free to ask them to respect this portion of fellowshipping. If they refuse, you might also be given the option to hang out away from this person when they drink their alcoholic beverage. If they drink during the meal, sit in a spot that puts them and their drink out of your direct sight.
- After the gathering, meditate on where you succeeded — this doesn’t mean you were perfect, but look for bright spots! Something as simple as “I chose to drink water instead of drinking pop as per usual!” is an amazing accomplishment.
Your health is not just based on having a grip on your nutrition – making sure that you have a holistic approach (Nutrition, stress management, sleep, exercise, support system, lifestyle) to living your life, is going to help you live a life that you desire and deserve to live!
Do you have an accountability partner to help you manage your stress in life? Friends? Family members? Coaches? If not, I’d like to challenge you to find someone to help you grow in areas you want/need to see improvement in.
Know that we, at Stone Brook Strength, care about you as a whole and we love helping people towards living their best, healthy life. If you need someone you can trust to help you, send us a message! We are here for you.