Dr. Nedeau shares how she eats guilt-free during the holidays.
I don’t bake, but my mother-in-law does. Every December, she spends days prepping, mixing, and rolling dough until hundreds of family-secret, Christmas-time-only cookies appear. The cookies are smeared with raspberry preserves, dipped in chocolate, or tossed in powdered sugar. It’s a tradition that can’t be passed up because of calories or fat content.
So, how do I, a physician who passionately preaches the benefits of vegetable-based, low-processed, gluten-free eating, manage these situations?
No. I don’t curse my mother-in-law for sabotaging my health. I don’t avoid family dinners where the only green item on the plate might be a dollop of wasabi, green fabric that floated in from mom’s quilting area, or a stuck-on piece of wintergreen gum that survived the dishwasher cycle and landed back on the dining table.
Here are my 4 strategies for eating guilt-free during the holidays:
1. Maintain the basics
During the holidays it’s easy to fall away from good habits completely. I recommend maintaining a near-normal bedtime (or at least sleep duration), physical activity, nutritional balance, and basic restorative self-care activities (deep breathing, yoga, prayer, meditation, music). Our bodies need routine and balance to maintain good health, so keep good habits going, and your return to normal life after the holidays will be “cake”.
If you over-indulge in sweets, a fatty meal, too much wine, and never make it out of your jammies or off the couch, it’s okay! I highly encourage do-overs! Acknowledge your choices, don’t feel guilty, and start fresh when the next opportunity arises. Choosing what you eat, drink, and how you spend your time means you have control. And that means you can make a different (maybe better) one next time.
Remember there is no limit on do-overs. Try not to let one bad meal turn into a 7-day stretch of bad, unconsious eating (unless you choose that option without guilt). It’s never too late to start over.
3. Ask this question
I came home from work today to find that our friendly neighbors had dropped off an apple caramel pie! (I live in the best town!)
In the past few days, thoughtful friends, family, and neighbors have left us wonderful treats: two tins of homemade Chex mix, 3 varieties of organic fruit preserves, a loaf of homemade bread, a variety bag of Ghiradelli truffles, a box of fine meats from Omaha Steaks, and a bottle of pinot noir.
Here is the question I ask myself after my first taste- Does this ____ complete me?
If the honest answer is a vivacious OMG, YES!, then I continue eating. If my answer is less than this, I consider stopping after the first taste (or second) and am willing to wait for the delicacy that will be worth every calorie. (p.s the apple caramel pie was worth it)
4. Savor the moment
Lastly, during any family gathering, I always try to focus on the reasons for the celebration, the people around me, the conversations, and the memories we are creating together. Highlight the people, festivities, and beautiful food, rather than the activity of eating.
NIBBLE, SAVOR AND SIP!
So, back to the traditional Christmas cookies… Despite gluten and dairy intolerance, I dove into the goodies without hesitation and savored every nibble as if those buttery sweet nuggets were the last yummy morsel on Earth. OMG, YES! No guilt here. Guilt would have robbed me of the tradition and experience that is in every bite of the annual homemade Christmas cookies, and that type of experience is worth all the calories.
Now, go enjoy your time with family and friends, and eat guilt-free this holiday season!
What to do if the holidays are over and you can’t get back on track?
Please contact Dr. Nedeau with Bloom La Vie Health! Dr. Nedeau has advanced training in endocrinology and metabolism and can help you reach your health goals!
To learn more, schedule a FREE 15-minute initial consultation here.