The holiday season can be especially challenging for those who wish to eat healthfully. But your health goals should not fall by the wayside each November until well after the New Year begins. Employing these helpful strategies can allow you to follow through on your commitment to improve your health and achieve your overall goals.
Plan Ahead – Follow through with your commitment to eat healthfully. You will gain more confidence if you think through what you will eat and stick with that plan. You are more likely to do something consistently if you decide to do it well in advance of being challenged. If you go to a gathering and have decided to wait and see what they are serving, you will more likely go off your diet than if you plan ahead. Staying true to your commitment does not mean you have to test yourself when you are at your weakest. It is about putting plans in place to circumvent the pitfalls that you know you will encounter along the way. The best way is to plan a few days in advance so you won’t have to make difficult food choices later.
Be Prepared – Some people find when visiting relatives over the holidays it is helpful to stay in a hotel with a small kitchenette. They then find a local grocery store to buy a few staples like canned beans, fresh produce, fruits, seeds and nuts so that they can throw together rather simple meals and don’t have to be reliant on eating out. You will walk away from the experience feeling like you have done a really good job instead of feeling regret. Those of us who travel for work do this a lot because we recognize the hardship of finding healthful food in an unfamiliar place.
Create A Safe Zone – At home, make sure your kitchen is a safe zone. Work to keep your pantry well-stocked with healthful Nutritarian foods. Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand, cook soups and stews in large batches and freeze extra for when time is tight, pre-wash and chop vegetables on weekends so cooking during the week is easier, and when going to the grocery store, make a specific shopping list and pledge to stick to it.
Eat Before You Go Out – Don’t go out hungry. Eat a Nutritarian meal at home before you go out and you’ll be less likely to graze on unhealthy items at a restaurant or a party. Or offer to bring a healthy dish with you to the party for everyone to share. Others can taste your recipe and you will be guaranteed to have something you can eat. My patients say these two strategies work, and I find that those who employ them are more likely to successfully stick to their diet.
Don’t Be Alone in Your Health Goals – When we are alone in our decision to improve our health we are more likely to sabotage ourselves. Tell as many people as possible to create some accountability. Use the Dr. Fuhrman Member Forums to create a support group. Reach out and communicate with others to gain the support you need to be at your most successful during this holiday season. These member forums provide access to people who really understand what you are trying to achieve and are willing to help you navigate issues you may encounter along the way.
Give Yourself the Gift of Support – Reach out to a professional who can offer concrete advice on how to navigate the delicate balance of socializing when you have food issues. Support is available throughout the challenging holiday season from our food and nutrition counselors. They are a great resource in dealing with special occasion and daily temptations. Our team offers a support package for anyone who wants help dealing with food cravings, bingeing and other food-related issues. Let someone who understands offer solutions so you stay committed to your health and wellness goals throughout the holidays. Those who sign up will receive a weekly 20-minute phone call with a counselor, in addition to email exchanges, access to a private, clients-only discussion network, among other helpful resources. The Support Package is available by calling (908) 237-0200 Prompt 2 or (800) 474-WELL (9355).
What situations have you encountered that are challenging? Share the strategies you have used to help you meet the demands of the holidays without sacrificing your health? Leave a comment to let us know!
Kathleen Renner, L.C.S.W. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with significant clinical experience working in the mental health and substance abuse fields. After undergoing further training with Dr. Fuhrman and his clinical team, Ms. Renner has developed a specialty in food addiction counseling. She also has completed Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritional Education Trainer Program (NET). She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, motivating individuals to improve their health. Kathleen has worked with addiction in all age groups and in various settings, including individuals and groups. She holds the title of Food Addictions Counselor in Dr. Fuhrman's SUCCESS Program.
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