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CrossFitters absolutely love food. Our life not only revolves around CrossFit (usually one of the hot topics when you get a bunch of athletes together) but it also revolves around food. Bliss balls, Paleo desserts, steak and Barbeques; we definitely like to know what each and everyone of us are eating and absolutely salivate at the idea that we could too be eating that as well. As the holiday season creeps upon us the supermarkets are now lined with so many sugary treats and temptations. My absolute vice during this time of year are the Fruit Cakes and Shortbreads; now you can buy them almost any other day of the year but having these during the the month of December makes it even more sentimental for me to indulge on them just the one time. Going to family gatherings and having my mother’s trifle on the table staring right back at me is one of the worst temptations ever. I collapse at the knees and just dive right in.

No….not this year…. I will be strong! As I know just as well as you, that there is a more sensible side of our brains, which knows that tearing our way through all of the season foods will just push us further away from our fitness goals and even stunt the physical progress that we have made so far. So as these two opposing forces commence their eternal battle over my taste buds, I will try my best to stay sane by sticking to a few guidelines.

EAT SLOW

Enjoy the time you have with friends and family this season.. engage in conversations while you are eating to help slow you down. When we eat too fast, we can’t hear our body telling us we are full. It takes about 20 min for the signals to make it to your brain that say “I’ve had enough”… if you eat your food faster than that, it’s much easier to overeat. Also, foods with more sugar and fat will override those signals so EATING SLOWLY and being MINDFUL can help with holiday binging. You should be done with a meal when you are no longer hungry… not stuffed.

PROTEIN AND VEGGIES FIRST

Instead of focusing on what you CAN’T HAVE at holiday parties.. focus on what you CAN! Fill your plate with good protein and vegetable sources first and then don’t feel guilty for the rest. We should never shame ourselves for our food choices… make the decision to eat what you are going to and that’s it. If you eat the healthy foods first, you won’t have as much room for the high sugar foods. Then you can feel good that you got in some solid nutrition and your body will thank you later.

– BE PREPARED TO HANDLE THE PRESSURE

There may be questions, concerns, and even daggers thrown at your mindful plate. Don’t let curiosities or criticisms make you feel guilty, silly, or make you feel like an inconvenience. You work hard and you deserve to feel secure in the fact that you are choosing to take care of yourself. Approach each event with a positive mindset and be proud of your goals; have a support system of friends/families who share similar goals and can help to affirm your choices; and practice some non-confrontational comebacks to questioning. (eg “I am currently working towards some goals that are important to me.” or “I really enjoy eating this way and feel much better physically and emotionally when I make certain choices).

– KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND

This time of year finds all of us a little off-schedule. Last minute shopping trips, school parties, meal planning, gift-wrapping and endless holiday cheer-making have us all burning the candle at both ends. No one makes good decisions when they’re tired. Or hungry. When your schedule finds you off-schedule, have a healthy option close by. A protein shake that you just add water, fresh veggies and hummus, Protein bars, baby food, hard-boiled eggs or Blue Dinosaur bars are some good options.

Take a look at these simple ideas http://www.paleoplan.com/2017/05-26/paleo-snacks/

MINIMIZE DRINKING

We all want to have fun and be social at holiday gatherings but alcohol calories can add up fast! Drinking will also lead to poorer food choices and sleep… which will lead to poorer food choices the next day. Try to limit the number of drinks you have or try a sparkling water with lemon or lime instead! To make it more festive drink from a wine glass; its a mental game to make you feel part of the social element. Everyone will think you are indulging but you will feel better for it in the morning. If you are drinking, make sure to drink enough water too!

STAY HYDRATED

Make sure you are drinking enough water this season! Dehydration can be confused with hunger by the body. Keep a big water bottle with you at all times and try drinking a big glass of water before a meal or when you feel ‘snacky’ and see if you still want to eat. Don’t like water? Try sparkling water or add a little fruit like lemon, lime or berries.

-TAKE A WALK

After a big meal, it’s easy to want to just sit and relax, but do yourself a favor and go for a short walk instead! Studies have shown that walking after a meal aids in digestion and can even help improve blood sugar levels. Walking can also prevent 2nd or 3rd trips to the food table when you aren’t even really hungry anymore.

– SLEEP

Keep on top of your sleep routine as much as possible. Going out more and staying up late often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Last of all….

-ENJOY YOURSELF

The holiday season comes only once a year and it IS possible to enjoy yourself and walk away feeling like you didn’t just eat enough for yourself plus the entire world. It is a true blessing to be able to share the holidays with the people you love and to be present amongst all the fun and festivities, especially the food! Just simple planning and reminding yourself of your own personal goals will help you keep on track this sunny Christmas/New Years season and make it one to remember.