Celebration is wonderful to look forward to, but how do you mentally prepare to keep it all in check? Mindfully celebrate with these 5 helpful tips from health coach and nutrition Expert Nancy Sidnam.
We spend so much time and effort trying to eat healthy throughout the year, but once in awhile a celebration or social event will come up and, suddenly, it’s like all bets are off. What if I told you it was possible to stay mindful, eat the foods you enjoy, and celebrate without going overboard along the way?
Here are five ways to set yourself up for success at your next gathering:
1. Start your day with nourishing foods.
While your taste buds are busy celebrating, it’s important to make sure your body is still getting the nutrients it needs to stay energized and healthy. Strive to start each day with a solid, balanced breakfast. Include whole grains, some protein, a little healthy fat, and a big serving of fruits or veggies.
If you’re going to a party or social event later in the day, have a healthy snack or small meal before you go. That way you don’t have to stress about what you will or won’t eat, and just focus on being with family and friends.
2. Slow it down.
Planning to fill up your plate with a little bit of everything? Go for it! But put your fork down after each bite and let yourself taste all of the delicious flavors. Too often we don’t even enjoy the food that’s in our mouth because we’re too busy loading up our fork with more. Eating slower also gives your stomach more time to let your brain know that it’s had enough. That way you can stop before reaching the “I’m so full I need to unbutton my pants” stage. Nobody likes that stage.
3. Don’t try to “save room” by skipping meals.
Planning to eat less food throughout the day to make up for the extra food you’ll be eating at that party later? That seems to make sense, except that this plan pretty much always backfires.
By the time the party rolls around, you’re so crazy hungry that you just want to eat everything in sight. That’s when you end up consuming way more food than you had “saved” room for. Instead, eat small meals and snacks every 3-4 hours throughout the day. This will prevent you from feeling compelled to make a dash for the buffet as soon as you walk in the door.
4. Make water your new best friend.
Did you know that salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate the body when consumed in excess? Yup, all those things that we like to indulge in can wreak havoc on us internally. Too much of any or all of them can cause headaches, tiredness, muscle cramps, dry mouth, and even dry skin! Be sure to step up your water game to balance it out, especially if you start to notice some of these symptoms.
5. Stand your ground when you’ve had enough.
Did you ever learn the broken record technique as a kid for dealing with peer pressure? It really comes in handy when you’re being pressured about food, too! If someone says to you: “I want a second piece of pie but can’t eat the whole thing. Will you split it with me?” or “I’ll go back for seconds if you do,” don’t fall for these lines! If you don’t want any more, say no. If you’re full, say no. If you don’t like it, say no. You know your values and your limits better than anyone else, and you can’t be afraid to stand your ground!
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Nancy Sidnam, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and health coach helping young women in their teens and 20s create brighter, healthier futures. Through her wellness coaching practice and The Wellie Project community she has created, Nancy inspires young women to take charge of their lives. Nancy focuses on helping them recognize that no matter what circumstances they are facing, it is possible to be healthy, happy, and confident. Learn more about Nancy at The Wellie Life.