The season of temptation is upon us. Everywhere you turn you’re faced with deliciousness. There’s the sugary pumpkin flavored everything that you’ve been waiting for all year. And the ‘fun size’ candy bars peppered all over the office in little bowls atop each desk.
If you’re currently trying to maintain a healthy eating plan, it’s enough to induce a sugar coated panic attack. Everywhere you turn, it’s there and October is a long 31 days. After that, the Halloween candy, well, it lingers.
My advice? Give yourself a break.
You heard me.
Eat it. Not all of it. But allow yourself a chance to really enjoy that one flavour of candy that brings back your childhood. Have that Pumpkin coffee and the mashed potatoes swimming in Grandma’s perfect gravy. We’re human and part of being human, part of our happiness, is tied to enjoying our food. It’s ritualistic at the most basic level.
Now, I’m not recommending a free for all binge here folks. Instead, allow yourself some leeway in your food plan to enjoy a few things because if you don’t, one of two things will happen:
1) You’ll find you’re the only one at the Thanksgiving dinner table with broccoli and tuna on your plate and a fake smile plastered on your face.
2) You’ll end up depressed that despite your best efforts to adopt a zero tolerance policy, you failed and didn’t have the will power to walk away.
Don’t set yourself up for that kind of heartache. You’re worth more than that.
Instead, decide what you want to indulge in. Pick a favorite treat or two. Make a list of desires. When something comes in front of you that’s not on your list you have a conversation with yourself. You acknowledge that this isn’t something you really love. You say to yourself that you’re going to pass on it because you know there’s a sanctioned treat down the hall and then you go get one of those. It might seem strange to withhold one treat just to turn around and eat something that’s just as bad for you. But trust me, this technique keeps the door from swinging WIDE open.
Set limits. Decide when and how often you’re going to treat yourself. If pumpkin coffees are your thing, limit yourself to having one in the morning on say…Monday and Friday of that week. When Thursday afternoon rolls around and your best friend texts you to ask you if she should grab you a coffee you can say “Nope, I’m ok.” And know you’ll have one the next morning. Myself, I go for freedom on the weekends. During the week I keep to the straight and narrow but on the weekend, I dive in.
Thanksgiving dinner gets a free pass. Eat the meal you and your family prepared. Eat the traditions. Eat the potatoes and the pie. Laugh with your family. Fall victim to turkey naps. Enjoy every last moment of the day. It’s only one day.
Staying healthy and eating well is fueled by our happiness. If we’re happy it’s much easier to make good decisions. If we allow ourselves to indulge now and then, it erases the guilt, which in turn erases the negative self talk. Tell yourself that it’s ok to eat that piece of pie and enjoy every last bite. Then forget about it, knowing you’re on lifelong journey to a happy, healthy you and the success of that journey hinges not on avoiding calories, but in merely staying on the path.