Hot Date with Sugar

The Holiday season is filled with family gatherings, parties with friends, co-workers and school events, and we know all of those events are centered around food. We all love those special, once a year holiday treats we bake to celebrate the sweet nature of the season. But, we also often over indulge and feel guilty. Then we make new year’s resolutions that many people never keep. I always think it is much better to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle all year long. But when it comes to holidays and special occasions, you should be able to indulge a bit and get back on tract in a day or so. The problems is that the holidays last more than one day, so be prepared to have a plan and make conscious choices about what you eat, when you exercise and how you spend your time. The holidays are just another time of the year to find the balance between effort and ease.

While it’s important to all of us to make the Holiday season something to be remembered, it’s still about finding balance. Pay attention and be mindful of what you are eating this holiday season. If you want those decorated holiday cookies, enjoy a few! But stay present to enjoy each bite and be aware when you should stop. Don’t just shove them down so that you feel sick later and feel bad about enjoying that holiday treat. I love sugar, and I know some folks like a deep fried turkey. Whatever your craving or sugar treat is, enjoy it. But don’t let it lead to a slippery slope of continuing bad food choices that lead you depressed over the holidays and discouraged to keep up your exercise plan or healthy lifestyle goals.

For me, sugar is my vice. I always joke that I try to minimize my consumption of it, but I will enjoy some holiday cookies, pumpkin pie and whatever other holiday sweet looks amazing. Some crave salt, I crave sugar. But like I suggested above, I try to be strategic and mindful of what sugar I am eating. Even over the holidays I try to make sure most of my meals are still full of salads, veggies, proteins and good fats. Then, I let it go and enjoy myself a bit. I just try to stay mindful of what I am doing so I am making conscious choices about what I choose to indulge in. I don’t want to overdo it and feel crummy. I also am picky about what I will indulge in. As our communities are getting more savvy about what ingredients go into our food and sweets, I tend to indulge in sweets that use good quality ingredients and find other ways to sweeten than just sugar.

I’ve developed a way to control myself, while letting myself enjoy the once a year Holiday treats. I think of my love for sugar as a dating relationship. Too much sugar can ruin the joy of it being a special treat, not enough sugar makes my cravings stronger. Treat whatever it is you crave as a romantic first date. (I think of my husband) You would take your time, listen, notice small details and want to make the experience last longer. Do this with your cravings! Take your time, enjoy those special treats, savor every flavor and do so in moderation. Eating several cookies at once might seem like a better option at first, but leaving the party with pants unbuttoned only leads to self- guilt. Enjoy your treats and make the experience last so you end on a happy note instead of a, “I shouldn’t have ate all of those cookies” type of feeling.

So enjoy the holidays and try to bake something new this holiday season. For one thing, almost anything we make at home will have better ingredients and less sugar and preservatives than anything we buy around town. You can also learn to make substitutions that can improve the health value of what you are making. What are some of your ways for balancing healthy eating habits while enjoying the holiday season? Post to my Yogival Facebook or send me some ideas on my contact form!