The truth is that December, and it's many food-focused events, is not the only time during the year where we are faced with the challenge of wanting to enjoy many of our favorite foods without the consequences to our health (and our waistline!). There are many holidays during the year that can present challenges to those of us trying to make nutrition a priority in our life, many of which occur outside the month of December. Depending on your background and which holidays you celebrate, there can be large family events for New Year's, Easter, and Thanksgiving - not to mention birthday's, anniversaries, graduations, camping, summer festivals, and travelling. The truth is, these events are not so much the exception like we pretend they are, but rather the rule, and a big part of life. I have said it before, and I'll say it again. Food, and the events we celebrate that are surrounded by food, are not for stressing over, but rather for enjoying! I believe that 'healthy' eating doesn't just mean eating nutritious food, but rather eating in a healthy way. A way that allows you to provide your body enough of what it needs to work well, not to much of the stuff that prevents it from working well, and just enough of our favorite things to feel satisfied.
The challenge people often face however, is that they don't know how to enjoy special events without feeling like they are in the middle of a tug-o-war between what they think they should do and what they want to do. It's this ALL or NOTHING mentality that I often counsel my patients to avoid. When we feel like we either have to go all in, throw our healthy living goals out the window, and gorge ourselves to the point of feeling unwell in order to 'enjoy' the holidays or, on the other hand, have nothing at all to prevent over doing it, we lose. We lose out on the enjoyment of just being present with friends and family, we miss out on the taste of some delicious family favorites that can stir up warm feelings from our past, and we lose out on practicing healthy habits that fit into our life no matter WHAT holiday or event we are celebrating.
If you want some simple, surefire ways to enjoy this holiday (and the next) without the guilt, keep on reading!