All the Cookies

We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving and the official kick-off of the gluttony season! If you’re at all like this little fat kid, you’re looking forward to all those family favorites at the dinner (and dessert) table. But maybe you’re NOT looking forward to feeling guilty, bloated, and a little heavier come January.

Here are a few of my thoughts on how to get through the holidays without trashing your health or feeling like you missed out.

Have a plan

This is a good idea in every food situation, but it’s especially important during the holidays. It’s really easy to make an exception for that “special occasion”, but when every office party, church meeting, school function, break room cookie tray, and holiday party become a reason to eat poorly, it’s really hard to get your eating back under control.

The next time you know you’re going to a party or meeting that’s bound to be all sugar, try the following:

Eat beforehand

Never assume there will be healthy options. If you show up to a dessert and appetizer party without eating dinner first, you’re bound to eat two dozen cookies without hesitation.

Stay busy

Keep a glass of water in your hand, and actually talk to people. You can’t eat too much if you’re mouth is busy having meaningful conversations with people.

Be picky

Is it homemade? Was it made from scratch by your Grandma? Did an actual elf make it? Some things are totally worth it but donut holes from the gas station are not.

Take a minute

Literally. Stand there. Take a breath. Think about it. Do you actually want that cupcake? Did you regret filling your plate, but now you don’t want to waste food? Did you take a bite of something that looked amazing, but it turned out to be the most disgusting lemon cake ever made, and later you and your friends had to take said cake outside and blast it to pieces with M-80s? No? Just me? Ok. The point is, sometimes we eat more than we need or even want. Honestly ask yourself if it’s worth it. And if you thought it was, and it turns out it wasn’t, stop before you eat the whole thing. You’re a grown up. You’re allowed to change your mind.

Don’t be the victim

You’re not on a diet. You choose to eat in a way that fuels your body, and makes you feel good. If people ask (and they will) why you’re not eating something, or they try to talk you into dessert, find a gracious way to decline. Don’t say things like “I can’t” or ‘I shouldn’t”. For some reason that seems to come across as a challenge to some people to drag you down. They'll say, “It’s just a cupcake.” “You deserve it!’ NO. Just, no. Say “No. Thank you” and change the subject.

Don’t go into detail about feeling fat, or what gluten does to your brain, or complain about having to be accountable to your trainer. You'll just make others feel guilty and you’ll ruin the party.

Contribute

Find a few recipes you like that are less sugar, no gluten, no dairy. Try out these recipes ahead of time, and have a few in mind next time you’re asked to bring something. Maybe you’ll even start a new tradition.

Remember why you’re there

Parties and family dinners are about friends and loved ones. Focus on making good memories. Play games. Eat slowly so you can enjoy your food. Take pictures. Share memories. Relax. And try to keep it to one slice of Grandma’s pumpkin pie.