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10 Strategies to Enjoy Your Favorite Holiday Foods and Stay Balanced

By November 23, 2015Nutrition Information

thanksgiving-food-catering-Denver-Spices-CafeThe holidays are here and none of us like being deprived of our favorite foods and drinks that are part of the enjoyment. It is stressful when we feel we can’t eat the foods we enjoy. The stress alone will shut down our digestive system causing us to get out of balance and gain weight.

So how can you savor and enjoy the foods and parties throughout the holiday. keep your digestion flowing with ease and not go up a pant size?

You need some strategies

Stragegy #1 Eat mindfully

As human beings the more we try and deprive ourselves the more we rebel. We don’t like to be controlled. Therefore, I am proposing you allow yourself the freedom to eat all your favorite dishes at a holiday party and enjoy them fully.

The key is to eat the delicious holiday foods with awareness.

Letting yourself eat whatever you want at the feast only works if you eat with awareness. The key here is to really pay attention when you are eating those delicious treats. Pick what you want the most and enjoy it fully, savoring every morsel.   Sit down with family and friends, feel love for the people around you and feel the experience of receiving love from them.

Next focus on what you are eating. Taste and savor every bite. Notice the beautiful colors and textures. Don’t just shovel it into your mouth. When you experience your food your brain registers pleasure and is satisfied. You wind up eating less and enjoying more.

Here is a beautiful Apple Meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh to experience mindful eating.

Strategy #2 Enjoy your holiday meals without guilt.

I give myself permission to gain a few pounds over the holiday to take off the pressure. Feeling guilty only makes you eat more. On Thanksgiving Day tell yourself you can eat whatever you want. Start your day with some tapping in the morning to reduce stress and move away from blame and shame. Tapping helps keep you present in your body while you eat.

Stress and guilt are toxic. When you are stressed it is harder to digest your food.

If you feel anxiety during the day go outside and tap. (Aunt Millie may think you are weird if you start tapping at the table) Tapping reduces cortisol which will help you digest better. Don’t’ eat guilt, eat food. Enjoy it, give yourself the freedom to have what you want. Notice how you are feeling when you are eating. How you feel affects your metabolism. If you are panicked, distressed or shameful you can’t metabolize your food well. If you are loving it you will metabolize it fully.

Click here for a tapping script I created for myself to stay centered: Tapping Away Holiday Eating Anxiety.

Strategy #3 Use your breath.

Breathing connects you to your feelings and your body. Take 3-10 deep breaths before you eat, breath between bites and again take 3-10 deep breaths between courses

Strategy #4 Start your day with the juice of 1 lemon

Drink it in a tall glass of water upon arising.   The water flushes out toxins and the lemon alkalizes your body.

Strategy #5 Get enough sleep

Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone called Ghrelin (GRE-LIN) and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full LEPTIN. Not sleeping enough leads to overeating and weight gain. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Enjoy your holiday parties but be sure not to stay up too late or over book yourself.

Strategy #6 Stay hydrated.

Dehydration slows down metabolism. Often we think we are hungry but we are just dehydrated. Drink 16 ounces of water in the morning when you wake up and 8-16 ounces 15-30 minutes before each meal. If you have alcohol, for every glass of alcohol you drink have 2 glasses of water. Alcohol dehydrates you, replenishing your water will bring you back into balance more quickly

Strategy #7 Eat raw fermented vegetables daily.

The fermented vegetables provide an alkalizing antidote to sugar. The beneficial microbes eat up the sugar making it is less likely to harm you

Strategy #8 B Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins have dramatic mood-elevating effects—more so than almost any other nutrient! The B vitamins are critical for efficient liver detoxification I like this brand If you drink alcohol take the vitamins before you go to bed and let them work their magic while you sleep. If you forget, take them immediately upon arising. B-Vitamins are important in aiding the carbohydrate (alcohol) metabolizing process and in dilating blood vessels. B-vitamins will help restore your energy level.

Strategy #10 Exercise (even a little) the next day.

When we exercise our muscles are ready and waiting to receive fuel, especially carbohydrates, to start the repair process. This actually cleans up sugars from your system.

Strategy #11 After the feast or party rebalance.

If you eat what you want and enjoy it thoroughly returning to a lighter fare the next few days should be easy. You should feel satisfied. Eat light the next morning. Focus on eating more vegetables.

Start your day with a green smoothie. Click here for my 7 Favorite Green Smoothies.

Enjoy blended soups to give your digestive system a breather. Click here for some of my favorite soup recipes

Rebalancing the next day will prevent you from gaining weight or getting inflamed.

If you approach the holidays this way you will have more fun. You will support your body and feel less stressed. By being mindful when eating you enjoy your food more and eat less. And even if you do overeat, don’t beat yourself up, let it go and start again the next day. Keep tapping to quiet the critical voice. Be kind and gentle to yourself as the Buddha says…

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”  Buddha

Enjoy the holiday.  Leave me a comment below.  What are you favorite strategies for staying balanced during the holiday?

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