This time of year can be wonderful. Sweaters, snow, decorating, shopping, lights and spending time with family and friends. But with that wonderful can come stress and temptation at every turn. Is it possible to be successful on the SHAPE ReClaimed program while also enjoying the holidays?
We assure you that, yes, it is possible!
Here are 21 tips for surviving the holidays while on the SHAPE ReClaimed program and beyond:
- Prepare by visualizing yourself passing on not-approved foods. Ponder about how you feel. Disappointed? Longing? Empowered? Confident? Write these thoughts and feelings down and allow this to help you know how to navigate these emotions when faced with temptation.
- Think about what your biggest temptations will be. Is it the stress of being around lots of people? Traveling? Is it Grandma’s fudge and cookies? Do you tend to eat or drink more on the holidays? When you have some answers to these questions, you’ll be able to put a plan in place.
- Make and/or bring a SHAPE-approved dish to a party or gathering. There will likely be other guests trying to stay healthy during the holidays that will appreciate having a healthier option.
- Try SHAPE-approved substitutes or get creative and introduce a new dish to your traditional holiday meal. We have added a new Holiday category to our SHAPE ReClaimed Recipes page to inspire you to make healthy choices this holiday season.
- When people offer not-approved foods tell them you are working towards a healthier lifestyle. Share your experience and teach them about what SHAPE ReClaimed has done for you.
- Sip on hot tea at dessert time. Try festive spicy flavors like Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice or chai (try this caffeine-free variety). Peppermint tea is a great option because it helps with digestion, alleviates headaches and helps suppress appetite.
- Stick to anti-inflammatory options as much as possible. There are a lot of things not on Phase I: FasTrac that still keep inflammation down like sweet potatoes, most fruits, healthy fats and oils, nuts and seeds. This will make jumping back into the program much easier and keep you feeling healthy.
- If you choose to enjoy the meal or indulge in desserts, limit yourself. Don’t continue to indulge for days or weeks.
- Put less of everything on your plate. When you finish, wait 10 minutes before going back for more. You may find you are just as satisfied with less.
- Pick one or two of your favorite dishes and put half (or less) you would normally take on your plate. This way you get to enjoy without overindulging.
- Think about the consequences, positive and negative, of eating not-approved foods. Is it worth feeling sick or bloated? Regretful or disappointed? Maybe yes, maybe not, but decide before the meal and make choices accordingly.
- Say “no” to the foods you don’t really love so you can say “yes” to the foods you love and enjoy the most.
- If you have to bake something for an event, give away ALL of it.
- If you receive treats as gifts, consider dropping them by a homeless shelter, fire station, hospital or police department.
- Be present. Rather than gobbling down everything in sight, slow down and pay attention to what you’re eating, how it tastes and how it’s making you feel physically and emotionally.
- Focus on your family, friends and even strangers. Spend time talking, asking questions, getting to know others better, offering love and support if they’re going through a hard time. The holidays are about so much more than food.
- Start new traditions that don’t involve food. Instead of a cookie exchange, try an ornament or book exchange. Instead of desserts after the meal, play games, do a puzzle, make a craft or volunteer somewhere.
- As you prepare to host guests, turn chores into exercise. Put on your favorite holiday tunes and dance while cooking, vacuum with vigor and park far away from the store so you have an opportunity to do more walking.
- Find accountability buddies and check in with each other throughout the season.
- Get as much rest as you can. This includes sufficient sleep and/or alone time according to your personal needs.
- If possible, consider going away for the holidays or do something else that reduces the stress that is usually associated with this time of year.
You may not be able to do everything on this list, but pick a few that will work with your personality and holiday traditions. You can make healthy choices and start the new year as a healthier you with a little preparation, planning and commitment. And think of how great you’ll feel and how much more present you’ll be!
Check out our SHAPE Certified Holiday recipes for support and inspiration.