By Janet Levatin, MD, Holistic Pediatrician and Homeopath
The holidays are here and with them come the challenges of healthful eating. Here are 5 tips to keep you on the path to continued good eating and good health through the end of the year and into 2013:
1. Set goals you can achieve. Write down any goals or cues that will be help YOU be successful. Put these goals on little sticky notes and post them in places you will see them often, especially your refrigerator door and bathroom mirror. Reviewing them frequently can have major positive effects on your ability to maintain healthy habits. As Napoleon Hill once said, “You get what you think about most of the time.” If you have one strong temptation, set a goal to work on just one challenge.
Here are some examples:
- Stay gluten-free (or soy-free, or dairy-free) no matter what.
- Avoid all soda pop, including mixes with drinks and sips on an airplane.
- Take only one dessert item at a party – and cut it in half.
- Eat salads for lunch when a dinner party is coming up in the evening.
- As a way to track your progress, keep a diet log of all you eat and drink for the next 30 days.
2. Communicate your goals with family and friends. If you are gluten-free, have food allergies, or just want to avoid excess sugar, let the hosts of an event know your restrictions in advance. Everyone wants to have happy guests, and that way they can be prepared by having foods you can eat. Or, if you are hosting a dinner event, ask your guests in advance if they have any food restrictions. You will feel much better knowing that your guests are taken care of and that you are helping them stick to their diet goals.
3. Offer to bring the foods you can eat. If you have serious food challenges, offer to bring a dish to share that is safe for you, but also tasty so others will enjoy it as well. You will maintain your goals and be social at the same time.
4. Make it about the event and not about the food. So many holiday festivities are built around eating and drinking, and most holiday foods are high in sugar, fat and empty calories. This year create some new holiday traditions that focus less on food and more on activities, games, or interactions. Instead of preparing a sit-down dinner, make the meal a buffet, where everyone can eat the amount they want over time. Chances are everyone will snack and chat, eating less overall.
5. Plan a non-food reward for keeping your promise to yourself. Everyone deserves a reward for accomplishments. If you’ve maintained your weight (or even lost unwanted pounds) and you’ve stuck to your healthy eating goals during the holidays, give yourself a reward. Indulge in a massage, a spa day, a concert, a movie, a theater event, a new scarf, a nice piece of jewelry or a great new book. You have spent weeks taking care of others. Now, it’s time to take care of you!
Instead of setting new habits as a New Year’s Resolution, start now. Enter 2013 feeling great and with your resolutions already solidly in place.