How to Avoid Guilt Over Holiday Eating

How to Avoid Guilt Over Holiday Eating

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I just enjoyed a lot of junk food over the course of a holiday week and I don’t feel guilty about it at all, despite my recent weight loss.

How to Avoid Guilt Over Holiday Eating

I enjoyed an early Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, homemade enchiladas for dinner and lunch the next day, boy scout popcorn, and Krispy Kreme donuts.

My husband and I recently took control of our eating habits and started exercising and dropped a decent amount of weight over the past 8 weeks.

I lost 14 pounds and my husband lost 10,000 because that’s just how it goes, isn’t it? (He’s lost about 20)

 So Why Don’t I Feel Guilty After Pigging Out?

I knew my mom would be visiting from out of state just before Thanksgiving so I knew there would be a lot of temptations during her stay, and the holidays that followed.

I love food and making memories, so I’m not going to tell you not to indulge in festive celebrations. No way, Jose’.

I’m just telling you to plan for it.

Though I can tell a difference in my body when I get back to old habits, it’s tradition that we make homemade enchiladas when my mom visits, and we both have a pretty decent sweet tooth.

I knew I would enjoy fattening foods, so I planned ahead to minimize the damage.

I came away at the end of the week without weight gain.

How to Avoid Guilt over Holiday Eating

Here’s my advice on offsetting guilt when you indulge in holiday foods:

1. Plan Ahead For It

When you know you will be having a high calorie meal for dinner, eat a lighter breakfast and lunch. Though what you eat matters and exercise matters over time, at the end of the day it’s calories in versus calories out on indulgent days.

Ideas for a lighter breakfast:

  • protein shake
  • toast with peanut butter
  • apple with peanut butter
  • small bowl oatmeal cooked with grated apple, or blueberries and walnuts for topping
  • protein bar and banana
  • omelet with spinach and chopped tomato, mozzarella cheese
  • string cheese and almonds

Ideas for a lighter lunch:

  • Sandwich on a multi-grain Sandwich Thins roll with lean ham, cheese and mustard, side of cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers
  • Leftovers from lean dinner the night before
  • Multi-grain Sandwich Thins roll cut into triangles to dip in hummus with fresh vegetables on the side
  • cottage cheese and cherry tomatoes, banana, walnuts or almonds
  • cup of soup and light sandwich
  • greek yogurt cup with granola (watch sugar content in granola) and apple or grapes

2. Be Ready To Go On-the-Go

Keep a good pair of walking shoes and a water bottle in the car in a bag. Any bag works, you don’t have to have a fancy gym bag. You might find time to squeeze in a 20 minute walk at the park, or even a 10 minute walk down any hallway or stairs. Any extra steps count and you’ll feel better. Walks have a way of melting stress away.

How to Avoid Guilt over Holiday Eating

Know where the walking trails are in your area. My mom and I planned walks while she was here and it was great to get fresh air, quality time and it helped head off the extra calories we knew we would enjoy later.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be a workout, one day we did two miles at a brisk pace, one day we did leisurely sightseeing, and another day we just watched the kids play outside. Just move.

How to Avoid Guilt over Holiday Eating

3. Keep Good Snacks With You

Keep healthy snacks to take with you on the go to keep you out of the drive-thru lane. It also helps to have healthy snacks in the car for the kids if shopping is taking longer than usual. We also have our own water bottles in the car.

Snacks that work for us:

  • protein bars
  • trail mix with raisins or m&m’s (a little treat is good)
  • energy bites
  • pretzels or pretzel chips with raisins
  • string cheese with almonds (if we aren’t going too far)

4. Think Moderation

Though I did enjoy fattening foods, I did them in moderation. Scale back just a little bit from the norm.

Instead of getting two donuts at the donut shop, I only got one. And I hate half of another one later, instead of two donuts at both sittings.

I loaded up my plate for Thanksgiving with Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheese green beans, yams with marshmallows and a buttered roll.

But I only made one trip when I would normally go for round two. And I didn’t make an extra dessert because we ate chocolate covered cub scout popcorn

5. Focus on the Memories

Seriously, if you go overboard and pull out all the stops, so what. Enjoy the day and enjoy time with family because that’s what counts the most.  In my family and in my childhood, that’s what holidays are for. Full tummies and full hearts go hand in hand in my neck of the woods.

I’m hoping to teach my kids that’s it’s an occasion, not the everyday.

And if you have the kind of family you need to escape from for a bit, well then going on a little walk is the perfect excuse. Every town has a park and a place to walk, or a rec center and the kids could probably use a release too.

Remember Red Light, Green Light? Adults can play that too.

How to Avoid Guilt over Holiday Eating

6. Get Back On Track

It’s no coincidence that New Year’s Resolutions follow the holidays. We all need a little food detox after enjoying so much food, so get back on track.

After my mom made it back home safe and sound, I bundled up and went on a 2 mile bike ride at the high school track nearby. School was out so I had the place to myself and it was great thinking time to help reset before the hustle and bustle of December…

How to Avoid Guilt over Holiday Eating

Where I will do it all over again. Remember, take care of you, the holidays don’t have to be perfect, just give everyone the best version of you.

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