img_7532It’s that time of year again! The holidays have arrived and with them, Holiday parties, pastries, happy hours, you get the picture. I used to use the holidays as an excuse to go completely nuts with my diet. Then it would be my personal mission to join the millions of other people January 2nd who flock to the gym and get on the kale and dust diet, (eat my dust as I run by). By January 20th, I was miserable, and off the bandwagon once again.

This went on for years, until I started working with my health coach and became one myself. I no longer dred the holidays, the temptations, and the thought of kicking my own butt come January 2nd. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore since I don’t treat the holidays any different than I do the other 365 days of the year.

I have found setting expectations helps a lot though, so here are 5 tips that are easy to do, work for me and my clients, will leave you satisfied; never deprived, and just might change your mindset about what the holidays are all about.

Here are my holiday tips to keep you on track:

1-      Focus on the conversations. I used to be so focused on the food at these events that I would forget the whole reason I was excited about the holidays to begin with. They are a chance to really reflect on what we are grateful for and to appreciate and reconnect with family members. I love the spirit of the holidays, the love, the focus on things that matter like family. Food is fun and it’s great to have yummy options but it’s not why we get together and it’s something you have everyday, no reason to make it the central focus.

2-      Bring a side dish you will enjoy. I love this one. Each year I try to bring something filled with veggies. This not only fills me up, and gives my body some much needed balanced nourishment on days like Thanksgiving, but it also gives me an opportunity to turn my family members on to new foods they may not have tried before. I have turned many a family member onto kale, beans, and sweet potatoes over the years. Try my Roasted Sweet Veggies Recipe or my Kale with Mushrooms and Truffle Oil Recipe, they are sure to be a hit!

3-      Go on fill up your plate with everything you want, one time. For Thanksgiving I have a rule. I can have whatever I want, but I can fill my plate just once. There is no going back for seconds, that is what leftovers are for.  I don’t need to eat everything in one sitting and neither do you. I am usually satisfied after about half of my plate is cleared. If the urge to keep eating hits a bit later, I go back to my same plate and eat what is there. I don’t fill it up, and then fill it up, and then fill it up again. I have ended too many Thanksgivings pacing the living room with my arms around my waist, in pain, for me to repeat that one. When I do overeat, I don’t punish myself but I do try to really think about what that feels like, how uncomfortable I feel, so that I don’t repeat those behaviors the next time.

4-      Have dessert, but pick just one. For Thanksgiving I need Pecan Pie. My Mom learned the hard way not to disappoint on this one. I have to have a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream It’s the one time each year I eat Pie and Pecan it must be! No other dessert can compete. I go in ahead of time knowing this so that I don’t mindlessly eat all of the other desserts knowing it will all come back to the pecan pie anyway.

5-Be Grateful-this is such a great time of year. There are many people who are alone today, be thankful to be surrounded by friends and family. Be grateful to have some down time to enjoy your life for a few days. You only get a finite amount of Holidays to make memories with the people you care about, don’t waste them totally fixated on something that doesn’t really matter.

What are you grateful for this year? I’m grateful to have married the love of my life. I’m grateful that we are in the process of purchasing a home we will raise our family in. I’m grateful to my parents who have been a sounding board to us every step of the way. I’m grateful for my amazing friends. I’m grateful to be in training to become a yoga teacher. I’m grateful to you for reading this post and supporting me! Thank you for that.

Happy Thanksgiving! Have an amazing time wherever you plan to be!