Love Your Body Monday comes this year right after Thanksgiving weekend when you’ve probably just finished off the pumpkin pie with whipped cream—maybe for breakfast—and you’re wondering if you can lose that extra five pounds before the Christmas parties start next week. My first party is actually this Friday, December 2, and then away we go for the next month!
Don’t become discouraged and beat yourself up. After all, you only get Mom’s dressing and Grandma’s apple pie once a year, but you can’t continue that trend all month—especially if you’re on a medical diet and you’ve been making great progress or you just started reaching a goal. Don’t throw caution to the wind just because it’s the holidays and you’ll start over again in the New Year . . . chances are you won’t.
Give Your Body the Gift of Health
When I was a Registered Dietitian working in hospitals, they didn’t close during the holidays because people still got sick, they still had heart attacks, or insulin reactions, or any number of illnesses. I remember having to work one year on Christmas Day. So it doesn’t make sense to think I’ll just take a break from what I know I should do for this month or this party or this big dinner…because your body doesn’t care that it’s Christmas or Christmas Eve or the office party. Your body is going to react just like it would in the middle of January or June! So think and eat like this:
I must treat my body right every day, and when I overindulge, I must get right back to my normal regime the next meal.
You have to have a plan. Pray about how to deal with the tempting food you’ll soon be encountering before you encounter it. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment on what to eat, how much to eat, what to cook, how to cook it, and what to indulge in and what to avoid.
Sometimes I take a bite of something and it wasn’t as tasty as it looked, so I stop eating it. Or if it was good, I let that bite satisfy me. I peruse the selections and pick a couple that look the best . . . not one of everything!
Sometimes we plan to pace ourselves, then toss out the plan, and berate ourselves the next day when we get on the scales, or blood sugar or blood pressure is up—remember salty foods raise blood pressure.
Helpful tips and please share in the comments any you use:
- Get on the scales daily so you know if your weight is fluctuating. If you wait until you notice weight gain in your clothes, you’ll have a tough time losing, and may just buy bigger clothes. If you’ve gained, avoid desserts, eat smaller portions, and eliminate bread, butter, and what I call “empty calories”—sugar, honey, jelly/jam, chips, junk food, soft drinks, alcohol.
- Maintain your exercise regime. If you don’t have one, start! Even though the holidays can be crazy, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Exercise helps with stress, gets the endorphins pumping, helps your heart, and burns calories. In bad weather, join a gym, walk laps around a mall, or invest in exercise equipment (hint: ask for Christmas).
- Take a green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing to a potluck so you always have something healthy to eat. On buffet/potluck lines, take a small spoonful of foods you really like with one caution: Jell-O salads are high in sugar and fat. Don’t go back for seconds.
- Have a small piece of the one dessert you like the most. Or take tiny bites of several. If one isn’t as good as it looks, don’t eat it!
- Let your stomach guide you. When your belt or waistband tightens, STOP eating.
- If you love bread, have a small piece, no butter. Skip store bought dinner rolls.
- Eating out, draw a visual line down the middle of your plate. Eat half and ask for a to-go box for a tasty lunch tomorrow.
- Drink water! Avoid punches, juices, soft drinks, and alcohol.
- Enjoy stuffing or mashed potatoes without gravy. Avoid “sauces.”
- Don’t add extra salt or butter.
- Plan to start the New Year with a group of friends studying God’s plan for how to live a healthy life. I’ve written a study for First Place 4 Health that would make a great Christmas gift to get you started: God’s Best For Your Life.
Cooking Healthy for the Holidays
I used to spend a day or two in the kitchen making cookies and candy. Then I realized I was the one eating most of it! Now, I pick a favorite one or two and make recipes healthier:
- No shortening! Substitute coconut oil or butter.
- No “vegetable” oil, use coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or applesauce.
- Half the amount of sugar. You can substitute Stevia for the other half or use all Stevia.
- Use 2% milk, almond or coconut milk.
- Substitute whole-wheat flour for some of the white flour.
- I don’t use white flour, but use NAMASTE gluten-free Organic Perfect Flour Blend that I get at COSTCO, which can be used cup for cup for white flour with no other changes required.
- Put one stick unsalted butter and 1/2 cup olive oil in a blender or Cuisinart and use lightly as a spread on toast, rolls, veggies, potatoes as a soft “butter” spread.
- When making cookies with the grandkids, send the goodies home!
Keep the True Focus of Christmas
Remember Christmas parties aren’t about food! They’re about fellowship as you thank God for all His blessings and the greatest gift of all: His Son Jesus Christ.
I appreciate your desire to live the best life you can for the Lord and to love His gifts to you of Jesus Christ and your precious body.
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT
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