Your health journey is going so well, and you feel great! Your sleep quality is improving, energy is rising, and your health is benefiting from all of the changes you’ve made! But as you look at the calendar, your heart sinks as you see a few upcoming events – holidays, birthday parties, and dinner outings. How will you ensure you stay on track with your health goals?
Truth be told, it can be challenging. Because life isn’t static or stationary, there will be times when you are thrown out of your routine and may find it a bit more difficult to stick to your healthy lifestyle. Situations like when you go to a birthday party and birthday cake is served to everyone or when you go out with friends to a new restaurant and there are some delicious new foods to try can derail you. What do you do when you are on vacation and you just want to leave your cares behind and relax a bit? Or, when every month seems to bring another round of celebrations and events, including all of the holiday temptations! It’s easy to get thrown off your routine and overindulge!
Have no fear because you are not alone! With every health journey comes challenges and obstacles to overcome, but no need to worry. There are a few rays of sunshine in the midst of that decadent “black cloud” of health derailers that can help you make the best decisions during these types of events.
Try these eight secrets to help you fight off the threats to your health journey:
1. Plan for Success: Think about your food options ahead of time and plan your choices to the best of your ability. If possible, choose restaurants that have healthy options on the menu or bring a healthy side dish to share with everyone at a family get together.
2. Keep Your Appetite in Check: In anticipation of an event, hold to your regular meal times and avoid skipping meals as this will help to keep your appetite in check. Plan a nutritious breakfast and eat within two hours of waking to fuel your day. Follow that up with regular meal times. Avoid eating when you are totally starving, which coincidentally is also the time of weakest self-control. Waiting to eat leads to overeating the wrong things due to your extreme hunger. If you are feeling really hungry as you approach an indulgent meal, try snacking on something like carrot sticks or celery to take the edge off.
3. Prioritize Nutrient-Rich Foods: Fill up your plate with nutrient-dense, high quality foods. Colorful veggies like salad greens, onions, beans, mushrooms, whole grains, fresh berries, seeds, nuts, and high fiber foods will leave you feeling full and satisfied and less tempted to overindulge on the treats.
4. Be Intentional: Whenever you choose to splurge, ask yourself, “Is this a deposit or withdrawal from my ‘health account?’” It’s okay to splurge, but plan what you will splurge on. Be mindful and think about what you really want, so you can say no to the things you can do without. That way you can enjoy the yummy treat without going overboard.
5. Focus on the People: Rather than letting the food become the focal point or motivation of every event, holiday, or party, focus your attention on those around you. Start a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Ensure you are sitting next to a close friend or relative instead of next to the buffet or food table! The memories made should consist of the people around you and not solely the food that is present.
6. Split a Meal: Find something on the menu that you can share, so when you do decide to splurge, portion sizes are appropriate. This ensures that you don’t go overboard on calories, but still gives you the chance to enjoy a special treat!
7. Avoid Calorie-Dense Freebies: Items such as bread sticks and chips and salsa are a cheap way for the restaurant to fill you up. There is nothing wrong with some of the freebies, but eating a little often leads to a lot. Before you know it, the entire bowl is empty. These types of foods can also be high in saturated fats and non-nutritive calories that can leave you too full for your healthy main entree. If you are looking to enjoy an appetizer, choose things that are nutrient-dense like a salad, soup, or veggies as they will help tide you over until your main meal is served while providing some great vitamins, minerals, and fiber for your body. Push that calorie-dense appetizer aside or have your server take them away, so you aren’t tempted to overindulge before your meal comes.
8. Hydrate: Water is one of your allies at the table. Drinking more water obviously fills you up which doesn’t leave room for detrimental things. Water is not only a great filler, but it hydrates the cells and provides them with the ability to absorb the proteins, micro vitamins, and nutrients that food will provide. Dr. Michael Picco with Mayo Clinic states, “Water is essential for good health. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients.” Drink up while you wait for your meal to arrive!
So there you have it! With these eight secrets, there is no reason to dread those holiday parties or exciting events. Having a few of these secrets up your sleeve will keep the train moving down the tracks to a healthy lifestyle and prevent any possible derailing. Look ahead at your calendar and circle those events in advance! You can start preparing now to incorporate a few of the tips above to ensure that you are able to enjoy the day, while still holding true to your health journey.
Hello, my name is Wendy Ferguson, my husband and I have four adult children. Two of them are married and have given us five grandchildren: Holland, Wakely, Cohen, Seren, and Noelle. We both went to Rhema Bible Training Institute in Tulsa, Ok and now live in sunny Central Florida which allows us to participate in an abundance of outdoor activities. We love the beach but grew up in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. One of my fondest memories was exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. The time spent hiking vertical mountain trails, or inner tubing down raging rapids, or even snow skiing in frigid temps, have taught me that our Heavenly Father is even more vast then I had imagined, and that He has provided everything we need for Life and Happiness. Learning to respect the blessings that God has provided have made me who I am today. Making health conscience meals packed with fruits and vegetables as solutions to offset fast-food options has created an environment of sustainably healthy living in our family. As a little girl, my mother gave me space for my very own garden, and boy was I proud to eat those vegetables. I’ve worked hard to pass that on to our children and our children’s children. My goal is to help everyone I meet to reach their full potential and become the healthiest person possible body, soul, and spirit.