Does December have to mean a derailed diet and a holiday belly?
Year after year, December is a month of festive gorging. We’re not even at the midpoint of the month yet, and people are already feeling the holiday pooch start to form.
While we encourage you to let loose and enjoy the odd treat, derailing your diet too much in the next two weeks is only going to lead to feelings of shame and regret as you're Auld Lang Syne-ing up a storm on New Year’s Eve.
5 tips to avoid a diet disaster this Christmas
Being “too busy this month to workout” is a lame excuse. We all know being busy just means, “I’m choosing not to prioritize this.” Are you too busy to remember to pee when you wake up in the morning? Didn’t think so. Think of your gym routine like you’re morning pee: Non-negotiable.
Here’s a recipe for delicious gluten-free, dairy-free bliss balls. The only sweeteners in these tasty balls are dates and a bit of maple syrup. For the most part, they are full of healthy fats. Doesn’t mean you should have 12 of them, but they’re quite rich and made with whole foods, and will keep you satiated against those other more detrimental cookies in the line-up.
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut + 2-3 Tbsp for coating
- 1 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp almond milk (or dairy-free milk of choice, or water if you really have to)
- 1-1.5 tsp peppermint extract
- Put the walnuts in your food processor and pulse until well chopped.
- Add the dates and pulse again until mixed well.
- Add the cacao, ⅔ cup shredded coconut, peppermint extract, honey and 1 Tbsp almond milk. Pulse until combined. Add 1 more tbsp of milk if needed (you should be able to roll into balls easily.) Add a little more peppermint extract if you want an extra minty flavor.
- Form into 1" balls
- Keep refrigerated
Avoid the Christmas Party Sabotage
When you’re surrounded by endless finger foods, it’s hard to know how much you’re consuming. Instead of attacking the never-ending flow of hors d’oeuvres one-by-one all night and eating standing up, grab a plate and fill it with a reasonable amount of food. It’ll help you monitor how much food you’re actually consuming and might prevent the binge of the century.
It’s OK to cheat over the holidays, but it’s best to come up with a plan. Christmas dinner is likely going to be one night of guilt-free eating and maybe drinking. But knowing that you have a big meal coming up, you should try and plan for that by limiting your starchy foods the days leading up to and following your festive feast just incase you go for third helping of mashed potatoes or stuffing. But not every Christmas event or meal has to be the greatest feast of your life. Knowing you have a cheat meal around the corner the next meal, or the next day, may keep you more in check during your other meals, or snacks, of the day.
Stop with the guilt trips
What we’re asking you to do is hard. Harder for some than others. If you do mess up, let it go! Registered Dietician Jennifer Broxterman of NutritionRx (www.nutritionrx.ca) likens it to brushing your teeth.
“Everyone has forgotten to brush their teeth here or there, but you normally don’t beat yourself up about if. Not brushing your teeth once doesn’t lead to a spiral effect of not brushing your teeth for a week. But that often happens with food. Someone ‘cheats,’ and then this spirals into a week of bad eating,” she said.
So remember, don’t skip your morning pee, and don’t beat yourself up if you forget to brush your teeth this Christmas.