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Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: 7

In this episode, we'll talk about the temptation to eat in a different way during the holidays. Whether you decide to eat foods you normally do or not during the holiday season, it's important to go into the holidays with a plan that matches your goals. We'll address holiday weight gain and some strategies to combat it. Of course, getting sugar and carb cravings under control by changing the way you eat will also make weight maintenance much easier!

Articles mentioned:

What is Ultimate Wellness, goal setting exercise
Five C's to Create Better Habits
Low Carb Pumpkin Pie
Exercise and Oxidative Stress
Introduction to Meditation
Low Carb Bloody Mary Mix
Dry Farm Wines
Mindful Eating

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Cheryl McColgan Hey, everyone. Hope you're having a wonderful day. I am Cheryl, as you know, if you've been listening to the podcast for a while, and if you haven't, welcome to the Heal Nourish Grow podcast where we talk about all things health, wellness, low-carb nutrition and things to help you improve your life at least a little bit every single day. And what I wanted to chat with you about today is how not to gain weight during the holidays. [chuckle] So every year, around this time, we start to indulge a little bit more, myself included, and that can be a time with family and friends that's so wonderful. And so many of us, with what has been going on in the world in the last almost two years now, is a time to really celebrate and enjoy ourselves, and quite often in many cultures, at least in the American culture for sure, that revolves around food and around alcohol and around cookies and indulgences in all sorts of things that you might not eat on a regular basis, especially if you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

So Because as you know, my background and training is in psychology and addiction studies. I wanted to share with you some ideas and some strategies about how to… I'm gonna put this in air quotes, for those of you that aren't watching the video. So if you're listening on audio, this is air quotes, “stay on track during the holidays”. I kind of don't like that phrase because it insinuates that you're not kind of mindfully making decisions all the time. And that is definitely part of what we're gonna talk about today. So I think you can approach the holidays in two ways. So number one, if you're in maintenance mode, you can stay the course and stay at maintenance calories, stay with your same activities during the holidays as much as possible, and maybe plan for over-indulgences, and we'll talk a little bit about that in a short amount of time here. And the other strategy is, if you are in weight loss mode for the holidays, that's fine too, but it's gonna require a little bit more dedication and planning than usual.

Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

So there's a few ways that we can approach that as well. So first of all, you know how we say, “What's your goal?” So determine what your goal is during the holidays: Do you want to, number one, maintain your weight or avoid holiday weight gain, do you want, two, continue trying to lose weight, if that's your goal; or number three, do you not mind if you gain, say five pounds during the holidays, are you fine with that? And if the answer is that you are, that's a choice too, so you can always make your choices, set your goals, and I highly recommend you do this kind of mental goal setting for this one. This does not require a big…you know how I'd like to have that plan on my page, what is ultimate wellness, and it goes into a goal planning practice that is more about what are your goals for kind of your whole life in a way really.

But you work back from 10 years down to the present day. Well, for this exercise, I just want you to mentally think about that when you reach January 1st, how are you gonna feel if you put on five pounds or 10 pounds, or when you reach January 1st, how are you gonna feel if you continue to lose weight, or January 1st, how are you gonna feel if you maintain your weight? Is that gonna make you happy? Will you be sad that you didn't need any losing? Think about all that in terms of what are your goals for the holiday season, and that is going to determine how you approach these strategies and how you approach the entire holiday season. And you can really still have a lot of fun and indulge and not gain weight during the holiday season. So let's talk about that.

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How Your Goals Can Affect Holiday Weight Gain

Holiday Weight GainSo there's a lot of events, maybe not as many this year as in years past, there's different kinds of foods that are going to be available that you might not eat on a regular basis, so again, knowing what your goal is going into this, it's… Look at the amount of activities that you have, look at the amount of special events, look at the amount of parties, and if it's a whole lot of them, your strategy really might revolve around taking specific ones, if you know… For example, one of the events might be Thanksgiving in America here, it's always around the third, fourth week of November, and it's a place where it's typically all about the food, and if you're going to be joining with family, something might be like your grandma makes your favorite pie every year, or something like that, but meanwhile, you've been living the keto lifestyle Or you're trying to lose weight and you're thinking that pie is not your best idea if you want to avoid holiday weight gain.

Well, if you don't have diabetes, and particularly if you've been keto for longer term, occasionally eating something like that is not going to really have any ill effects or long-lasting… Cause any long-lasting problems, if you're diabetic, then you might be skipping the pie or making a low-carb pie, or a low sugar pie, but if you're a normal kind of… I'm again, using air quotes, if you're a “normal person” and you love pie or you don't wanna hurt your grandma's feelings, and you know that that's something that's gonna come up, then make a choice. So this is one of my five C's to creating better habits, right? There's another video about that on my YouTube channel, if you ever wanna check that out. But you're gonna make a choice, a conscious choice to, for example, have a piece of your grandmother's pie and just have one.

Depending on what your goals are, again, if you don't mind gaining a little weight, maybe over-indulge a little bit more, if you wanna stay on your weight loss plan, then keep it to one piece of pie and make grandma happy, then maybe there's a holiday party that you're going to… And you know that there will be a lot of things there that might not be so good, for example, alcoholic mixers that might have a lot of sugar, our choices on food that don't fit with your goals, so… Sometimes when there's an event like that, and it's not really going to, it's not gonna hurt anybody's feelings. Nobody is gonna be watching you as closely as if you're at a table with your family, right, so if you're in a pool party, it's not as obvious to people what you are or are not eating, and it's one of my tips to never really… You don't have to talk about that, you don't have to explain your choices to anyone, you don't need to give any excuses about why you're not having the pie, or why you're choosing the crudité platter with the veggies over, say crab puffs or whatever it is. [chuckle]

Don't Bring Extra Attention to Your Food Choices

You don't need to explain yourself to anybody, the more attention you bring to it, the more distress it's likely to bring on. So for at parties, one of the tips that you could do is to not go to the party starving, particularly if you know what kind of party it is or what kind of food, or is it gonna be a full dinner, take all of that into account, but because when I go to parties or events quite often, the protein portion is relatively small, and I tend… I will not… And again, there's nothing bad or wrong with this, it's all about making choices, I make the choice that I don't wanna eat the mashed potatoes on a given night, and I don't like them that much to start with, and I'm not gonna eat them just because they're there, so if I know that I'm going to an event and the protein portion is likely to be small then that I might eat something before the event also that helps you go in, you're not starving if you are gonna have alcohol… You have a little something in your stomach.

Consider Eating Healthy Before Going to an Event to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

So there's multiple reasons why that's a good idea, it could be something like… soup. There's lots of studies that have shown that soup really reduces appetite if eaten prior to a meal, same with salads they that just get some volume in your stomach, or just think out of the box snack or a small meal, just can mean literally a smaller meal of anything that you would normally eat. It doesn't have to be a specific type of food or a specific snack, quote unquote, snack again. With the snacks, a snack doesn't have to be like a snack food, it can be a piece of chicken breast or it can be a piece of cheese, something like that. So if you're going to the event and you've made your choice that you wanna kinda stay on… Those are some strategies that you could use for that. So again, knowing your goals going into these type of events, again, it depends on who you're spending time with, are there gonna be any hurt feelings and sometimes, hey, if it's for your health and you're diabetic, people need to understand that these choices that you're making…

I mean, sometimes it's okay, or maybe even necessary to be a little brutal with them like, yeah, grandma, I could eat that piece of pie, but I'm gonna risk having my foot amputated because I have diabetes, so maybe it doesn't need to be something that harsh, but you get my point right. That Sometimes people need to be reminded that there is this really good reason for you doing what you're doing, or if it's just about losing weight, you might say, “You know Grandma, I really love your pie, but right now I need to be focused on losing weight because I'm really unhealthy, and I am worried that I might put myself at risk for some viruses this winter if I don't lose some weight.” So There's a lot of ways that you can say things to people. And again, it depends on who it is what the situation is and if your goals include avoiding holiday weight gain.

Find Healthier Alternatives for Your Favorite Holiday Foods to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

So there's also… I think I mentioned maybe you bring a low-carb pie or something like that to an event, so finding substitutions for your holiday favorites is another great way that you can kind of… I gotta find a better way to stay on… Try to Stay on track. I don't even like that phrase but to do something in alignment with your goals, whenever I say stay on track, it's meaning making mindful choices about things that are in alignment with your goals and that'll help you reach your goals, so finding substitutions for holiday favourites, for example, I'm not a huge pumpkin person myself, but I have a recipe for low-carb pumpkin pie over on the website, it's it does have a crust.

The crust is tricky to just to be honest with you, I had to do it over about six or seven times when I was photographing it, because almond flour is very difficult to not have brown a lot so that the crust tastes delicious, but getting it to look just right there's a few little tricks to it, and that is included in that recipe, of course, but that's an example for you, you might offer to be the one that brings the pie most people if you don't tell them, won't even know the difference. They might know the difference about the crust because there is no great substitute for a real flour crust, I hate to say that, but it's true, but I'll tell you what is also very delicious is just making the filling without the crust, it's very much like a custard you know, it's got eggs in it, it's got all that. So you can just bake it in a pie plate and have sort of like a crustless quiche pumpkin style, right? 

Keto Recipes for Holiday Favorites

So there are things for these substitutes that you can bring, same thing with dressing, turkey dressing, it's typically made, out of bread, you could make it out of a keto-friendly bread, if you eat those or you could make something different that has those same seasonings and flavours in it, for example, just take out the bread and take any recipe, for example, in the South, the one that we used to make a lot, which was my favorite, was oyster dressing, so you could take the recipe for an oyster dressing and instead of putting bread in there just use cauliflower instead, and you're still gonna end up with a great side dish that gives you that same flavor profile, but that doesn't have all the carbs in it, and of course, I'm focusing on carbs, not everybody here who is listening to this, or at least I hope there's a few people out here listening to this that are just interested in it for knowledge, and that aren't yet living the keto low-carb lifestyle or they haven't discovered why it might be healthier for them yet.

And of course, that's one of the reasons that I'm doing this podcast is that so that I can share that information with a wider audience, not just preaching to the choir, not just talking to people that are already involved in this community and this way of eating, but really sharing the benefits as to why it's healthier for you and better, and I guess just not to go too far off topic here with what I'm trying to help you with with strategies for the holidays, but one of the reasons that it is better, I think if you look at the standard American diet, any… No matter what style of eating people choose, whether it's vegetarian or just whole foods, or paleo or keto or low-carb.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Reducing Sugar and Processed Food

Almost anybody thought leaders in those spaces would agree that everyone, almost everyone, except for people following these special whole foods diets eats way, way, way too much sugar and way too much processed food, and that's one thing, whether you're vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, everybody can pretty much agree on that point, so whatever diet you're doing now, if you're still relying on a lot of pre-packaged foods or foods that have you know any food where you read the ingredient list and it's got 20 or 30 things, that's not really anything that is helping you feel healthier and more vibrant. So enough said about that. For now, we'll have plenty of opportunities to address that in the future, but let's move on to the next point, so for keeping in alignment with your goals for the holidays and avoid holiday weight gain, I would say the next thing is to stay active, and so whatever that means for you and whatever you're doing now, just trying to maintain that schedule during the holidays because holidays come with a lot of stress as well. And so whatever you do for movement on a daily basis… And here's another thing that if you've been around my content for a while, you probably have heard me say before, but it's such a misnomer, this whole eat more… Or eat less exercise more thing is just really rife with problems.

Movement for Mental Health and Cardiovascular Health

What movement is for… Movement is for muscle strength, movement is for heart health, and movement is for mental health, so it's not really… In my opinion, a lot of activity and exercise that we traditionally do is not about weight loss, and the reason I say that is because typically a lot of people, once you increase your activity levels, your hunger levels increases too. And so if you haven't gotten a handle on your eating, exercising so much more is not really going to do that much for you, and it's important to do the right type of exercise as well, so overdoing cardio creates oxidative stress in your body and it creates inflammation, which can lead to injury in your arteries, which creates plaque eventually, and cardiovascular disease, and it's…

The link between inflammation and cardiovascular disease isn't talked about nearly as much as it should be or could be, but so not doing a ton of cardio, if you're a runner, and I get it 'cause I was for 17 years, and you run marathons and you just love that and that's what your life's about. I'm not gonna tell you to stop, but I'm just gonna ask you to consider that it's not necessarily something that is in line with optimal health, and I've heard multiple people talk about this, so whatever it is you do to stay active, whether it's taking walks, whether it's doing yoga, playing tennis, whatever it is, try to stay on your schedule with that as much as possible, now again, there's all these activities and events that might intervene, but keeping to your schedule will help you lower your stress, it'll help you just mentally be in charge during the holiday season, 'cause it could… There's a lot of…

Stress Relief for the Holidays

There's just a lot of things during the holidays, right, like the family interactions and the extra stress of gift giving and all of these things, you're gonna need a stress release, and this might also be a good time to consider doing short meditation practice, if you haven't already, and I'll have another episode solely devoted to that at some point, but it is one of the best things that you can do for your brain and for stress, and there are so many wonderful apps out there now that do guided meditations. Excess stress can defintely contribute to holiday weight gain.

In fact, that was one of the questions I had posed in my introduction episode was, should I do some short guided meditations for you and I could do them specifically towards goals of, for example, weight loss or stress or whatever it is, if you throw out those ideas to me, contact me and let me know if that would be useful. I'd be happy to do that because if you didn't hear this before also, my introduction episode, I've been into yoga for a very long time, over 25 years at this point, and I've been an instructor for over 11 years, I think it is now, so meditation is definitely something that I have knowledge about and that I can share with you if that's something you would like so always reach out and let me know.

The other thing that I added to my tip list when I was thinking through this over the holidays, and I have definitely been very bad about this lately. And that is hydration, and so you're going to be potentially more active doing more things, eating foods that don't necessarily align with your regular choices, maybe some more, as I mentioned, alcohol indulgence, so really using water to your advantage. So water is gonna help with a lot of things, as you already know, it can quell your hunger, it keeps you hydrated it makes your skin look nicer all the things that you're gonna want when you're doing holiday events, and it's easy to forget 'cause you're running around a lot more and you're busier, so just be mindful to make sure that you get enough water each day, usually it's about half your water… Or half your body weight in ounces of water is what you wanna shoot for, so for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you're gonna go for about 75 ounces of water a day.

A little more is fine, but there's no reason to go overboard 'cause there's also such a thing as too much water, and it's called hyponatremia, and it is unlikely to happen, but it can happen in certain cases, so just enough water, it doesn't have to be an excessive amount in an end to thirst. If you're thirsty, obviously drink, that's a good sign, but if you're not thirsty, you just go for that minimum amount of water and that's gonna help with your hunger, and again, all this the lovely skin benefits and everything that I mentioned. We already talked about possibly eating before events, depending on what it is, that might be a strategy.

Weight Loss During the Holidays?

Also, again, let's revisit this idea of weight loss during the holidays or just to avoid holiday weight gain. It might be a good time to take a break from that because your body can really benefit from diet breaks anyway. So if you've been working really hard all year to lose weight, this might be a time for the next, I would say from Thanksgiving to, let's call it new year year's, so it's six, seven weeks, right a six, seven-week period, to just commit to maintaining and eat at your maintenance calories throughout the holidays. So that'll do a few things for you. Mentally, it'll free you up a little bit so that when you're at these events or family gatherings, you're not stressing out constantly about how much you're eating and eating at maintenance means that you're gonna go to… For example, you can use the calculator on my website, you'll go to the calculator, you'll put in your weight, your activity level, all those things, and you've seen these a million times, it spits out what number it thinks, the calories you need to maintain. And so that will give you a few hundred more calories each and every day that when you're going to these events, you have a glass of wine or something, you're not overly stressed out about it.

Diet Breaks are Great Mentally and For Metabolism

The other way that you could approach it, if you wanna continue to lose weight during this time, is to take diet breaks just on a weekly basis. So for example, you might eat at your regular deficit, which I never recommend more than 25 percent deficit when you're trying to lose weight. There's a number of reasons for that. You don't wanna slow your metabolism, you don't wanna overly stress your body, you don't want to keep bumping yourself down lower and lower calories, so pretty soon you're hardly eating anything and that can affect your metabolism long-term, so that's why it's a really good idea to do these diet breaks. So one way that you can do that is, as I said, do it on a weekly basis. So say that you have two events during a week, say you have a party on Tuesday, and then on… Or you have a party on Saturday, and then on Tuesday you're getting together with some family for some kind of holiday gathering, so that's two days of your week. And typically when I have people do this, I would have you do your diet break over the weekend, 'cause that works the best for most people, but during the holidays, you might have other things like that work event on a Tuesday night that you might need to think ahead and figure out this whole calorie balance thing.

So on the other days of that week, you'd eat at your normal deficit, 25 percent if you're being aggressive, maybe 20 percent if you are being less aggressive. And so eat at your deficit on all the other days, and then on that Tuesday and that Saturday, you eat it maintenance or you may slightly go over, and that's okay. Because, again, giving your body that diet break occasionally and shaking things up with the number of calories you're eating keeps your body guessing and is more likely to keep your metabolism going at a high level. So again, there's those couple of options for you over this holiday. Again, decide on your goals and if you're still trying to lose weight, that's fine too, it's definitely possible, it's just going to require maybe some more planning for you. And the reason, also going back to diet breaks, the reason I recommend on the weekends, it's just easier. So during the week, you're kind of quote-unquote, “sticking to plan” or you're being good, or whatever you call it in your head. I try to stay away from those kind of labels, just from a psychological perspective, I like to always say “I'm making choices that are in alignment with my goals.” So you don't wanna put good or bad labels on things, is what I try to avoid personally, but that will let you, like I said, stay in alignment with your goals over the holidays, whatever those are, but being mindful about it is really key.

Community Support for Weight Loss

Another thing that you can do to try to stay in alignment with your goals over the holidays is to enlist your help from friends and community, and the community is another one of my five C's that are to create better habits, is finding a community of like-minded people, wherever you find that is so important. So it could be if there's other people in your family that are also on a health journey and they have similar goals to you for the holidays, enlisting their help or being around them for the holidays, or checking in with them on a regular basis, having someone to be accountable to is really helpful. A lot of studies have shown how when you're in a group setting for weight loss or for groups like AA, things like that, the community aspect is really huge, so even if it's finding an online community that is doing the same way of eating that you are or that has similar ideas to you, those are all very helpful, and maybe finding what I like to call an Accountabilibuddy. [chuckle] That is not something that I made up and I'm gonna actually tell you where I heard it or saw it, and you'll laugh but, if you've ever seen South Park [chuckle] it's one of the episodes where… I think, it's been so long since I've seen it, but I just thought that was such a cute phrase. So find yourself an accountabilibuddy for the holidays and that'll help you stay on track with your goals.

The managing stress thing, I did already mentioned a couple of times in a couple ways, so it's staying with some kind of movement. I like to think of the movement piece is at least a couple of times a week, maybe there's just something that you do for exercise just to kind of get it out of the way because it's easy and it's what you've chosen, but if you can find something that makes you joyful, some kind of joyful movement to practice once a week. That is really useful. So for me, it happens to be dancing in my kitchen [chuckle] and whenever… I'm cooking over the weekends and we usually will turn on the Sonos and my husband plays DJ, and we have some songs, and I always try to find at least one song that moves me to do a little shake shake. [chuckle] It doesn't have to be dancing for you, but it could just be any kind of movement makes you joyful. Maybe it's yoga, maybe it's tennis, maybe it's running. Whatever it is, try to work that in once a week, that'll help with both stress levels and staying active to build strength and keep your heart healthy. So again, those are the reasons I think of exercise, not for weight loss or to avoid holiday weight gain.

Can I Drink Alcohol and Lose Weight?

So I just wanted to revisit the thing about alcohol again. So if you're going to parties, particularly for people that are not in a low-carb low sugar space, mixers are notoriously high calorie and full of sugar. These mixers and alcohol in general contribute to holiday weight gain. So if you go to those parties, there's a couple of options for that as well. You might bring along your own sugar-free or low-calorie mixer, if you're one of the lady's you might be able to sneak it in your purse and not have to tell anybody about it, or you could bring it to your host and just say, “Hey, I've really been enjoying this lately, I thought I'd bring some for my cocktails, and if you wanna try it, here's a couple extra.” Something like that. It can be things like Zevia is a stevia sweetened cola or whatever you wanna call it. Just soft drinks. So there's cola flavour, there's Cream Soda, Root Beer, they have all kind of the traditional flavour, so if you like any of those things as a mixer, you could just get a sugar-free variety. There's also a couple of great brands that I've run into lately, and I'm forgetting the name, but I'll put it in the show notes, it's a brand that does a great low carb Bloody Mary mix, which is awesome for the holidays. And of course, sparkling water is always your go to. No calories. Sparkling water or regular water or alcohol straight, but I don't recommend that, especially if you are doing keto or low carb, because alcohol can affect you a little bit harder when you're doing low carb.

So I would say something like, a vodka soda is definitely my go-to. You could put a little squeeze of lemon or a little squeeze of lime in it for some flavor. Other alcohols that don't have carbs are most whiskeys, I would say. I live in Cincinnati, and so we're very close to Bourbon country in Kentucky. And bourbon is traditionally, not have any sugar, but I will tell you that when I have drank some of the Kentucky bourbons, there is a sweetness to them that I don't think comes from just the barrel, I think that there could be some added sugar or carbs in there, so that's just something to watch out for. But generally vodka, tequila are great. Also most wine, as long as you're not going with a sweeter wine, most wine is relatively low carb, but it can still add up. Most traditional wines will have five… Anywhere from three to five grams of carbs in it.

Champagne's actually one of the lowest carbs you can go, as long as you find a brut nature or ultra brut, ultra brut's very hard to find, so is brut nature but brut you can find very easily, and champagne is usually no more than two carbs per glass. So if you really wanna go all the way to low carb, you know you've heard me talk about it before, and that is having some Dry Farm Wines and if you go to my link,, you can get an extra bottle for a penny, but their wine is all tested to be less than one gram in the entire bottle, and that's what I've been drinking the last few years for the most part, it's not always possible when I go out somewhere, but I often bring it with me if I'm going to a holiday party, I'll bring it for my host and just say, “Hey, ” and it's true, “I've been drinking this for years. I love this wine, it's got no sugar. You wanna try it with me?” Something like that.

You could bring it along or just have it at your house and go with the lowest carb options at a party, and again, keeping in mind that if you have, whatever your goal was, if you've chosen that you're fine with gaining a little weight for the holidays, maybe you have the regular wine or an extra drink or two and you don't worry about it too much. If it's losing weight, I would say stick… Alcohol definitely have some other things that it can affect. So it might affect your judgment, it might make you a little more snack-y, all of a sudden, you might start going for some food that you don't wanna eat. So just keep all of that in mind. It's all a balance, and it's… all these goals that you made are also changeable depending on how you're feeling, but just know yourself, and so if you know that if you make this goal and then you can talk yourself out of it too easily then maybe be a little bit more strict with yourself, but knowing yourself is really the key to all of this stuff, knowing yourself as the key to knowing whether you can just have one piece of regular pie and that it's not gonna throw you into a tailspin. So if you know that about yourself, if you know that if you off-track like that one time that is going to possibly wreck you for weeks or really interfere with the goals that you have for yourself, then maybe you don't do that. To avoid holiday weight gain, you'll definitely want to avoid excess alcohol.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

If you're a person that knows that you can just have just one of something and stop and not have all these kind of cravings for the next couple of days after that, then enjoy, enjoy something that you like over the holidays and that makes you feel good and that is very tasty. And just be mindful while you're eating it as well as much as possible, so not standing up and just mindlessly eating stuff at parties or events, but really, especially if you're going to eat something that you don't normally allow yourself to eat and it's a real treat. Just chew it slowly, savor every bite, really be mindful about the whole eating practice, and if that's something you're interested in, there's an article on Heal Nourish Grow about that as well, Mindful Eating. Mindful eating can help you avoid holiday weight gain.

It's kind of like a 101, the basics of that, how to get into it, all the aspects of it, how to get started, and that is something that whenever I do choose… And again, not that I think that's bad or wrong, everybody's a little different, I just don't crave that sort of thing very often, but when I do or if there's a special thing like for example, when I went to Italy, a couple… This all pre-COVID, obviously. But a couple years ago, and I had already been low carb keto for a while, but Italy, and in particular, Naples Italy, has the best pizza in the entire world. So while I was there I got a pizza, I hadn't had pizza in… I don't even know how long, but I ate, I think two pieces. Really chewed them thoroughly. Thoroughly loved it. It was absolutely delicious.

Being Mindful About Foods You Choose to Eat

And by the way, only do this if you don't have issues with gluten, I mean on a regular basis, I don't eat any gluten at all, but I don't have any serious problems with it, so this was okay for me, but it might not be okay for you. So I ate my two pieces of pizza, and then I scraped the toppings off the rest and I went about my life, I mean, it was not the end of the world, but I am one of those people. I know this about myself, I could do that. And it didn't make me have a bunch of cravings the next day, it didn't set me off track for the rest of the trip, mostly I just ate meat and vegetables like I always would. And that was all fine. So again, knowing yourself in these situations and when it's special and what's worth it. There are so many things, so much food out there, particularly mass-produced food at parties and packaged food that's just not worth it. If you really are mindful and taste it and eat it, and pay attention while you're doing that, you'll find that there are plenty of things you're like, “Yeah, it's just not that good, so it's not worth it.” So save your intake for very nourishing, nutrient-dense foods, things that you know that are delicious and that you love like some lovely, juicy Ribeye, or if you like a good chicken salad or whatever it is for you, eat those things. Eat those things that make you feel good, and that you really do enjoy to avoid holiday weight gain.

And so if one of those things happens to be a piece of Christmas cake or something like that, and you know that you can do it without going off the rails, then enjoy it. Make that choice, again, it's all about choices when you're doing new habits. Mentally make that choice that “I'm gonna have this piece of whatever it is, and I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy it, and I'm gonna taste every bite, and I'm gonna chew it and I'm just gonna love it.” And just go on with your life then after that. It doesn't have to be this crazy thing about like, “Should I cheat, should I not?” It's make choices, and then you've gotta learn to accept those choices once you've made them. So learn from these things. Also, if you do that one time, you thought you were okay with that choice and it set you off on this three-day carb bender, or it made you feel bad, or all those things. Learn from it. So even if you have a time when you do one of these things and you consider it a mistake or you wish you wouldn't have done it. Just learn from it. And that's it.

So anyway, I hope this was helpful in some way if you want to avoid holiday weight gain. If you need advice or other strategies for getting through the holidays, you can always reach out. As always, I would love for you to please leave us a review on iTunes, it helps other people find the show if you rate it and show your comments. It's hard sometimes to get seen, especially as a new podcast. So if you're enjoying what you're hearing, please leave a review. Let me know how I can help. Let me know what topics you wanna hear more about. So enjoy your holidays, I hope they are wonderful and filled with delicious food and family, and a few events to whatever degree that is safe for you in your life right now. But I will talk to you again next time. And again, have a wonderful holiday season.