DISCOVER YOUR ZEN
Healthy Eating During the Holidays
OK…we’re celebrating THANKSGIVING this week in the USA. Now I’m not going to tell you that you HAVE to stick to your meal plan. Or that you HAVE to do the exercises I suggested in this week’s workout plan. That is totally up to you. You should be enjoying this holiday with your family and friends, not stressing out about sticking to a meal and exercise plan. However, if it doesn’t cause you stress to stick with the plan, then go for it! Just in case you’d like a little help with getting through the holidays without regretting how far you strayed from the program, here’s some advice…
When choosing recipes for any party you’re going to have, look for recipes that are compliant to your way of eating. You’ll be shocked at how talented people recreate their most favorite foods into compliant and delicious dishes.
If you’re not choosing, the best thing to do is to eat something you feel good about before going, then only have a taste of the special food at the party. Putting one tablespoon of each dish you want to try on your plate isn’t going to ruin your year but it will give you something to do while conversing with the other guests and make you feel less left out.
Know Nutritional Information
When you’re going to be in an unfamiliar location it’s a good idea to study and know the calorie content of all the food that you might be tempted to eat. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat that 1100 calorie per serving pumpkin pie that Aunt Sally made. But it does mean that you’ll want to eat just a bite or two and savor it.
Even if you do choose to eat the whole thing you know what you’ve done and can take actions on other days to lessen the damage. For example, if you really want that 1100 calorie piece of pie consider the week before the dinner and the week after and adjust each day down 100 calories or so to make up for it.
When you go to a holiday buffet it can be overwhelming. All the colors, smells, and textures are making your salivary glands overreact as if you’ve not eaten all year. That’s because many holiday dishes have a very specific combination of fat, salt, and sugar that humans love.
Thankfully, you can substitute for healthier versions. Try to understand the nutritional makeup of the food you eat and understand your own way of eating well to do it. For one person choosing only veggies and the protein will work great. For others, they may need to only eat the veggie dishes. It depends on you.
Calories Do Matter
It’s hard to accept sometimes but calories are very important. Nutrition is too, but during the holidays you might want to keep track of calories if you’re not exactly following your way of eating. You can use an online calculator to discover how many calories you can eat each day to maintain your current weight.
Use your phone and an app to track the calories you’re consuming so that you can work toward mitigation later. For example, if you decided to eat the fruit salad covered in marshmallow cream because it’s your favorite thing at the holiday table, all you do is eat less before the event and less after the event and move more to make up for it. In other words, get back on track after the day and don’t make the same choices every single day between Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
Cut Your Portion Sizes
One of the best ways to enjoy everything is to watch your portion sizes. Keeping in mind the number of calories you can eat per day to maintain your weight. But, also keep in mind that you can vary your calories each day if your weekly average doesn’t go over the number of calories you can have each day.
Watching portion sizes is a great way to enjoy each of your favorite foods during the holidays. Most holiday food is so rich that more than a tablespoon or two of each is probably too much anyway. You’re going to get the flavors in smaller servings as well as the experience. You don’t have to stuff yourself. You’ll feel better if you don’t and you will avoid gastrointestinal issues that can ruin your holiday.
Eat Your Favorites
When you have a couple items that are your favorites and some that are just ok, choose your favorites. Follow the advice about cutting portion sizes, but eat it. If you deny yourself you’ll be miserable and probably not that much fun to be around. You won’t look forward to the event.
If you have allergies and other food limitations due to serious health issues and cannot eat the things you love, remember that you’re there to spend time with friends and family. Find ways to create memorable experiences that don’t have much to do with food. Start a game, go for a walk, hug your friends and family, laugh and have fun.
Prepare Meals Yourself
Even if the holidays have always been at one place doesn’t mean it always must be. You might be shocked that the host doesn’t really want to be a host every year. It just happened that way and they were stuck with it.
To find out, offer to host the event this year. That way you can prepare all the meals yourself, let your guests bring something too, but at least you’ll have foods to eat and know the ingredients included in the dishes.
If you are still going to a particular place and hosting yourself won’t work out, you can bring your own food without any worry as long as you bring enough to share. More food is always welcome.
You’d be shocked at how fast that veggie mock-fried rice will go when no one realizes it’s healthy. The same can be said for your low-fat carrot cake that has applesauce in it instead of fat. It’s amazing what people love when they aren’t told it’s healthy.
One of the most important factors is to remember why you’re with the people you’re with while you’re eating. You’re there to enjoy their company, get caught up on all that you’ve missed over the previous year, and enjoy the spirit of the season.
Also remember that food is there for most of us all the time since we live in a first-world country. We can eat any type of food we want, any time of the year, without giving it a second thought. You don’t have to eat it all today. You have time.
Awesome Holiday Beverage Ideas
One of the most festive parts of the holidays is often the drinks. But drinks are a pitfall because most people have no idea how many calories some of the drinks have.
Additionally, alcohol lowers your inhibitions to the point that before you know it, you’re scarfing down a few pieces of that pumpkin pie at 9 in the evening while laughing and talking to your family and friends.
- Drink Virgin Drinks – A great way to cut the calories is to drink virgin drinks. Even a frozen daiquiri (made with fresh strawberries) still tastes good without the alcohol but cuts the calories and the issue with losing inhibitions.
- Watch the Coffee & Hot Chocolate – When it’s cold it’s tempting to drink lots of coffee and hot chocolate. But, caffeine can stimulate your appetite and dehydrate you. Hot chocolate can often be very high in calories, fat, and sugar. Consider limiting it to one a day, and then diluting them with extra skim milk, almond milk, or water when appropriate.
- Reduce Them – There are always lower calorie and lower alcoholic recipes to be had. For example, you can make a lower calorie eggnog by simply cutting the full version with some skim milk, coconut milk, or the best is super rich and thick cashew milk. You can also add sparkling water to many drinks, even champagne, to keep the essence of the drink yet literally cut the calories and alcohol in half.
- Alternate Drinks with Water – One problem with the holidays is staying hydrated. When you drink beverages that aren’t water they’re often not really very hydrating. Drink the drink you want, then don’t get another one until you’ve drank at least 8 ounces of water.
There are even brands of drinks devoted to lowering the amount of alcohol and calories you ingest such as the Skinny Girl brand of beverages that you can find in your liquor store. Pour them into a different pitcher and no one will have a clue.
Family Holiday Meals
Many times, you not only host a family meal but attend numerous family holiday meals, including your own family and friends’ families each holiday season. This is very common in most parts of the world where holiday open houses are popular. The family holiday meal doesn’t have to be your downfall, and you can still enjoy it.
It’s already been mentioned that if you’re the host you’re in the most control of the menu. You can easily choose a menu that lends itself to health. You can even assign certain people to bring certain parts of the meal if you want to. You’re the host so you’re in control.
Find New Healthy Versions
Don’t be afraid to try some new recipes of old favorites. The internet is a goldmine for compliant recipes for any type of diet plan you want to try. Find one that is highly rated or from your favorite food blogger. The holidays are a great time to experiment with new flavors and textures.
When you serve yourself, fill your plate with the veggies first, lean protein next, avoid the bread, buns, stuffing, and rice which you can literally have any day of the week anyway. Choose only the food that’s “holiday special” over the food you can eat anytime.
Choose Special Food
Choose the special parts and let the rest go. If there is something that means holiday to you, go ahead and put a couple tablespoons on your plate if you can find room with all the veggies and protein on your plate. Eat your veggies first so that you’ll be fuller when you get to the rest of the meal.
When the meal is over, after cleaning up, suggest an active game an hour after the meal to help everyone with digestion. A fun game of tag football, volleyball, or charades.
TODAY’S ACTION STEPS:
1) You should be exercising according to your planned routine. (You can use the exercise program I provided, if it works for you.) If you’re not ready to go FULL OUT with the exercise plan yet…that’s OK. If you’ve been trying out my suggestion of creating a habit, then you may want to add on another step if you haven’t done so yet. Read through the Week 4 – Day 2 module if you’re not sure how to create this “habit chain.”
So…every time you wake up, or finish washing your dishes after dinner, or whatever that regular activity is that you choose as the one to trigger your workouts…put on your workout shoes. (That’s the first link in the chain.)
Then do the next step you’ve been practicing. If your chosen workout is taking a walk after dinner each night, maybe you are heading to the front door and grabbing a jacket. If you want to do a home workout from the exercise plan I’m giving you, then maybe you’re putting on some workout clothes – a top and a bottom. (That’s the second link in the chain.)
NOW, do the next step. (That’s the third link in the chain.) If you plan to go for a walk, just step outside your front door and stand on your porch…and celebrate! If you’ll be doing a home workout, then grab your mobile phone (to access the Fitness App) and stand in your home exercise area…then celebrate! Whatever that next step is just do that. Every day. Every time you put on your workout shoes…AFTER every time you do that trigger activity (washing dishes, waking up in the morning, etc). Remember to celebrate every time you get to the end of this “habit chain.”
If you need a little more time to reinforce those first 2 links in the “habit chain” (e.g. putting on your workout shoes, then putting on some workout clothes), that’s fine. Just keep doing that and don’t worry about adding on right now.
2) If you already completed the Week 1 workout plan, then you can start the Week 2 plan today. Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – to access the Week 2 workout plan.
3) If you already received the Week 1 (and 2) meal plan, then the Week 3 (and 4) meal plan has been uploaded to your Fitness App. You should be starting the Week 3 meal plan today.
4) Do a sitting meditation for 5 minutes. Spend the 5 minutes sitting in a quiet space. Just relax with your eyes closed. No goal. No stress. The plan is to do this every day.
5) If you have any questions about anything…let me know in the Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryourzen/
6) If you missed yesterday’s group coaching call, check it out in the Week 5 – Day 2 module. It’s a great breathing meditation exercise that can help reduce stress during the holiday season!
Previous ACTION STEPS:
(Not a complete list, but some important highlights.)
1) Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – and go to the FORMS tab. If you haven’t completed the Client Agreement form and the PAR-Q form from Day 1’s ACTION STEPS, do that today and sign them. Be sure to click SAVE when you’re done. (You can not receive the meal plan and workout plan when they are released until we have those completed forms on file.)
2) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and state whether you want a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal plan. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
3) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and let me know whether you want an exercise plan for weight loss (focused on burning calories) or for building/maintaining your mass. So you just need to indicate whether you want a BURN or BUILD program. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
4) Download the Set Your Goals Checklist and complete it. CLICK HERE to download.
5) Download the Program Planner that you can start using, if you wish. CLICK HERE to download.
6) Download the Kitchen Clean Out handout and use it to guide the clean out of your kitchen BEFORE you start your meal plan. CLICK HERE to download.