You can practice moderation even during the holidays.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year with family, friends and of course… food. We look forward to this season for a reason. Not only is it a time to celebrate and be together with loved ones, but it’s a time when we break out all the stops and indulge. No matter if your weakness is pumpkin pie, latkes or Christmas cookies, there are things you can do to navigate holiday celebrations and still feel on-track when January comes around.

Below are five steps that can help you (and me) stay in control over the holidays!

Know Your Must-haves

Nearly every family has a handful of favorite recipes that make the holidays special. Whether it’s your Grandma’s stuffing or your friend’s homemade caramels, think about these must-haves in advance and plan to eat them in moderation. Being too rigid with loved foods can make you feel deprived and tempted to overindulge.

Give Yourself Permission to Say No

Don’t feel guilty for setting boundaries. You don’t need to finish your plate, have seconds or try some of everything. You don’t need to bring leftovers home or participate in a cookie exchange.

Remember that your journey is your own and only accept that which is helpful to you. If you do end up with extra treats in your house, consider giving them away to local organizations who have people working over the holidays. Take first responders or hospital staff, for example.

Choose Your Day(s) of Indulgence in Advance

The holidays last for nearly six weeks, and there are usually countless parties, receptions and events. Look at your calendar and identify which days you plan to indulge. These are primarily special events and family gatherings. Pick one to three events for you to allow yourself to enjoy fully. Stay on your plan for the rest of the holidays, knowing you’ve given yourself permission for special events. Don’t let the holidays become a six-week free-for-all.

Drink in Moderation

Not only does alcohol mean extra calories, but it often lowers our inhibitions around food. Have a drink or two periodically, but make sure to stay in control. Also, remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated!

Give Yourself Grace

The holidays are wonderful, but they can also be stressful and food-centric. If you slip up with your plan, let it go and start over. Don’t let a slip-up make you give up entirely. That will only leave you frustrated when the dust clears in January.

Photo of Elizabeth PaulAbout the Author:

Elizabeth Paul is a passionate member of the OAC Community who also volunteers on the OAC Advancement Committee. She is a devoted mother of two, a Cross fit warrior, a nonprofit professional and a self-proclaimed “all around geek.” 

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