The holiday season is possibly the time when we are the most likely to make poor health choices. Feasts, parties, celebrations, and travel are nothing without FOOD, right? Well...
I've cut out sugary treats until after the new year. And I really didn't think I could do it!
I mean, the holidays are all about food, right?! Well, no. I guess they aren't, really.
There is something amazingly special about eating delicious food with loved ones. The bonding and the memories over meals are incredible, and nourish the soul.
But your soul isn't being nourished by "special holiday traditions" when they happen constantly. The fact that Thanksgiving is 3 weeks away, and Christmas will be around the corner after that has literally nothing to do with whether or not you should be gorging on eggnog and pumpkin bread. It's not a treat if it's frequent.
So how in the world are we supposed to make the holidays special and festive without all the sugary foods? Here are a few ideas:
Decorate Your House
Or office, or desk, or car, or whatever works. Maybe you're "not a decorator." OK, fine. But atmosphere can play a big part in how festive we feel (or don't feel). Surrounding yourself with things (other than food) that remind you of that festive holiday-ness can help satisfy that desire to partake in the holiday spirit.
You can be fancy or simple with this! Slap a few wreaths around the house (either Autumn or Christmas-style!) for a super easy trick, switch up your candles, or invest in a few large, statement items to keep the work load down to a minimum, without sacrificing on the festivity. Nobody really wants to unwrap 12,000 small pieces of decor, right?
Engage In More Holiday Activities
These don't have to take up a lot of time. Go on a walk in the autumn leaves. During Christmas-time, go look at holiday lights. Attend a Handel's Messiah performance, or see the Nutcracker. Watch a holiday movie (or 12). Listen to Christmas music.
Pick and choose the things that you enjoy and forget about the ones that you hate. But definitely look for things that give you that festive spirit without food. It's OK if you've typically indulged in some holidays treats while you did these things in the past. Just try them this time without the food and see if they still hold joy for you! I'll bet they will.
If the only thing about a holiday activity that you liked in the past was the actual food, then it probably wasn't ever a "special holiday thing" to begin with. It was just an excuse to enjoy that treat. Find a few new activities to make some new memories!
This can seem tricky when we're trying to avoid poor health choices, because there will almost always be food involved during social activities! But this doesn't mean you're doomed. Try connecting with people more deeply. It will boost your happiness to feel connection with someone, it will help distract you from the cookies over there in the corner, and it will remind you that the holidays aren't really about food. The food is only meant to compliment the holiday! Not the other way around.
You don't have to connect with people you don't like (although it's not a bad idea to branch out and be kind!). FaceTime with your out-of-town family, hang out with your favorite person at the party, go on walks with friends, have a date with your significant other, or have a family holiday game night. Whatever fuels that sense of kinship and bonding for you.
Still can't think of a bonding experience that doesn't involve food? Perhaps you're not as connected to someone as you thought! You might try to look for some new ways to remedy that!
Remember That December 20th Isn't A Holiday
Somewhere, somehow, the holiday season became pretty much an entire 3 months. That's awesome when it lightens your mood and boosts your happiness for extra time, but it's terrible when we end up over-dosing on treats that make us feel sick, icky, or cause unnecessary (and unwanted) weight gain.
But good news! You don't have to over indulge! You don't "have" to eat those cookies "because it's Christmas." Christmas is only 1 or 2 days! Thanksgiving is one day! It's not actual the holiday that messes us up.
Do you have any holiday festivities that make you feel the holiday spirit whether there's food or not? Do you intend to make them a priority this year?