The Simplest Way to Stay on Track During the Holidays: Have a Plan

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly believe we’re nearly in the middle of November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

If you’re not already making healthy eating and exercise a regular part of your routine, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll just indulge in the traditional holiday foods and start fresh in the new year.

But does it truly have to be a choice between enjoying the season and keeping healthy?

Not at all!

Since our habits determine our success, all we need to do is create new, strategic behaviors to replace those which we had in the past, in which we may have made less than stellar choices.

Since some studies(1) show that good habits take on average 21 days to implement, if you start today, you’ll not only be well on your way when Thanksgiving Day rolls around, by the time December 1st is here, you’ll be a pro!

To learn more about my 21 day reboot- schedule a call now!

Below are my top five tips to create successful eating habits, starting now, to ensure you’ll enjoy the holidays while keeping true to your healthy eating goals at the same time:

  1. Plan on eating clean 85-90% of the time.  Rather than telling yourself you’re never going to eat chocolate again,  proactively planning to have those special foods that bring back a bit of holiday nostalgia, even though they might not be at the top of a list of the healthiest foods to eat, allows for that little bit of wiggle room we all need in order to have a balanced approach to our overall eating plan.    Go through the exercise of determining which foods you can enjoy without consequence, plan to have them and say goodbye to guilt!   One client who found he was intolerant to gluten chooses not to have chocolate cake as it would cause GI distress, but instead, opts for a homemade flourless torte.     There’s got to be room for chocolate!
  2. Get moving!  Healthy habits perpetuate more healthy habits(2).    If you get up and get moving, you’re more likely to choose wisely when it comes time for breakfast as well as the rest of the day’s meals.  In addition, if you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a fitness rut, getting active now before the holidays are in full swing will set you up for more exercise success than if you put it off day after day.
  3. Choose which events and gatherings your special occasion foods will grace your plate (or your glass!).  Create a list of all the holiday gatherings you’re going to attend and then begin to single out which ones are actually going to be those at which you partake of the offerings.   An obligatory office party with wine out of a box and a cheese and cracker plate might not really be worth the splurge, compared to an intimate holiday dinner hosted by a dear family friend, during which you may choose to enjoy the most beautiful Cab along with artisanal cheeses from the farmer’s market.
  4. Savor the moments.  From an emotional perspective, having this plan in place can create freedom not only to eat those special occasion foods, but to thoroughly enjoy them.   It’s easy to attach a behavior judgement to what we eat, and the whole point of making this plan is to detach ourselves from this old way of thinking.   You’ve earned it, now enjoy that dark chocolate!
  5. Be kind to yourself.  Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, try not to be too rigid.   If you slip up, assess what happened, think about what you will do next time the same situation arises and then move on.  If you ate three pieces of cake at a neighbor’s holiday party and then realized you hadn’t eaten all day, you can easily see why you may not have been thinking clearly and didn’t make the best choice.   Next time, stay on top of your balanced meal prep and planning, keep your blood sugar balanced and see how easy it is to turn down the dessert tray the next time.

Making good decisions at each meal means knowing what to eat and when to eat it.

For help making your strategic eating plan, connect with me now!

(1) Maltz, Maxwell, and Melvin Powers. Psycho-Cybernetics: a New Way to Get More Living out of Life. Wilshire Book Co., 2010.

(2) Nield, David. “Here’s Why More Exercise Makes You Crave a Healthier Diet.” ScienceAlert,