With Halloween fast approaching candy is everywhere right now. It’s the gateway holiday into what I call “The Holiday Binge Season!” The stores are already stocking the aisles with all those highly processed, high fat, high sugar junk foods that contain no nutrition. The vast majority of us can’t eat these junk foods in moderation. From Halloween to New Years Day people typically eat with abandon and many gain weight. It becomes one big sugar high and is socially accepted as the norm. Then come January when people are feeling tired, fat and depressed from lack of nutrition,the stores are stocking the end caps with vitamin and herb supplements and the latest diet foods and diet books. This is absolute insanity!
If you have followed my blog over the years you know that I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I have been a serial dieter – going from Weight Watchers (which I belonged to several times) to the latest fad diet. That all ended in February of 2015 when I joined Jay Pea & Chef AJ’s on line Ultimate Weight Loss Program. I had already been eating a plant based no oil diet at that time but I was struggling with losing weight after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It was with Chef AJ’s & Jay Peas’s help that I educated myself about eating a whole food plant based diet that eliminates processed foods, sugar, oil, salt, flour and alcohol. I found out that some people – myself included are super sensitive to highly palatable processed foods. Once I learned about calorie density and what the proper foods are to feed my body and my mind for ultimate wellness, I have finally been able to get to a healthy weight and stay there for over a year now. I sometimes feel like this is a miracle!
I saw this saying above on a chalk board at Whole Foods and I took a photo of it and then made it into a little poster. I love inspirational quotes. This one rings so true. I can find a way and the time to do the things that are important to me in all aspects of my life not just in the area of health and wellness. I have had plenty of trials and life challenges to get through in the past year and nine months since I started this way of eating. I have taken road trips, and traveled by plane to visit family. We remolded our kitchen, had new carpet and flooring installed in our home. My husband had surgery, then about 8 weeks later I underwent major female surgery and was laid up for 12 weeks. I have been dealing with chronic sciatic pain for 10 months and six months ago our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild! Through all of this I never wavered from my choice of eating a healthy whole food plant based lifestyle. Having sustained a healthy diet is what has helped me get through these big life events!
It’s important as we enter into the “holiday binge” season to remember that there is no junk food, dessert or high calorie meal that can equal the pleasure and happiness that eating healthy, being healthy and being thin provide. Food only provides a few seconds of pleasure where as enjoying stable brain chemistry, stable blood sugar, being healthy and being at a healthy weight can be enjoyed 24/7!
Make A Plan
It’s important to have a strategy for getting through the holiday season without losing your mind, gaining weight and feeling tired. I share below the strategies that have helped me get through stressful times including the holidays, family gatherings, house remodeling, surgery and helping our daughter when she had her baby.
Decide what your goal for the holiday season is. Do you want to lose weight, maintain your currant weight or gain weight. That last option sounds ridiculous but the consequence of our food choices and behavior choices this holiday season can result in gaining weight! If you choose to eat the junk food that is going to be around then you are choosing the options of a possible weight gain. When you choose the behavior you choose the consequences.
Start stocking your freezer with healthy food right now. Every time you make veggie burgers, chili, soup or stew double the recipe and freeze the extra for future meals. These made ahead meals will save you during the busy holiday season. You will always have something healthy to come home to that will reheat easily. If you can’t handle having certain foods around then don’t allow the family to bring them into your house. Before I had surgery last January I had enough soup, stew, chili, veggie burgers and so on in the freezer to last us 12 weeks. Hubby Tom only had to buy fresh produce and fruit to supplement our meals. It worked out so well.
Change Your Traditions
First of all we are not required to hand out candy on Halloween! Hubby Tom and I either go out to a plant based dinner and a movie on Halloween or we shut off the lights and stay in and eat a healthy dinner and watch a movie. If you feel you must stay home and pass out treats give things other than candy. Why tempt yourself with sugary treats and seriously do our children need a bag full of candy! Little bags of stickers, pencils, glow sticks and so on can be fun treats for the kids.
I no longer bake the traditional foods of years past and you know what – no one seems to miss them! We now have new delicious healthy whole food plant based foods that satisfy us. Those who want the sugary treats can get them elsewhere and I don’t feel bad about it at all! I don’t want to feed others food that I no longer believe is healthy.
We have holiday meals either at our house or our daughters house. We tell the rest of the family that everything we make will be plant based and if they want to have animal products they are welcome to bring them. It has worked out well for us. Our daughters in laws always go out of their way to make something plant based for us and it is much appreciated. Everyone loves our plant based food. We set up a beautiful buffet and what people chose to eat is a non issue. Everyone gets what they want to eat. We always have a fresh fruit platter as an option for dessert along with herbal hot tea.
If the weather cooperates we enjoy taking the family out for a walk in nature after our main meal on holidays. It does everyone a world of good. The kids and adults all have fun.
Practice Saying NO
Learn to say NO! You don’t have to go to every holiday open house and party. Choose the events you will enjoy the most and say no the rest. Don’t take on more than you can handle. You don’t even have to give people a reason why you are saying no. Instead of getting together to eat with people, plan an activity instead. Or agree to get together with some people after the holiday season is over when you are not so pressed for time.
Make Sure There Is Always Healthy Food Available
If you are invited to a dinner at someone’s home take at least one dish to share that fits into your food plan. Even if the hostess insists that you don’t need to bring something you don’t take no for an answer! It’s a wonderful opportunity to show others how tasty a whole food plant based diet really is. In addition to a plant based entree or side dish a tray of fresh fruit is always nice. Everyone is on sugar overload and other people will appreciate the simple pleasure of fruit. Instead of taking a box of candy for a hostess gift take a fruit basket. A bag of clementines in a basket is an economical gift that everyone would enjoy.
I learned this strategy years ago from a Weight Watchers meeting leader. So many parties are later than the time I usually eat dinner so I will eat something healthy before going. That way I don’t arrive starving and I can skip the appetizers that are not usually something vegan friendly. I might even eat a sweet potato in the car on the way to an event!
Make sure your daily schedule allows time for exercise. I have found that exercise helps me emotionally, spiritually as well as physically. It makes me feel powerful and in control! My morning walks set the pace for the day. When I start out having done something so healthy for my body I want to continue that trend through out the day. Its one of those non negotiable habits I have developed.
Put Your Needs First
As a people pleasing female this is a difficult one to do! As a daughter, wife, mother and Grandmother I want to make everyone else happy and can often feel pulled in so many directions. It’s so important to put our own needs first. We must do what is best and healthiest for ourselves first. This helps us to be healthy and strong and then more able to give and care for others. Ask people for help if you need it. Don’t let yourself become over committed. Do only the things that you really want to do with a happy heart!
Get Enough Sleep
When we are overly tired we are less likely to stick to our healthy habits. If we don’t get enough sleep our brain starts to send out a message to eat carbs! We don’t usually reach for the healthy ones when that happens. Try to stick with a normal healthy bed time even during the crazy holiday season. If you need a Saturday afternoon nap – take it.
How I felt in the photo above is how I intend to feel come January 1, 2017!
If you want more help Chef AJ is offering a special series this holiday season to help us get through the season with out derailing our healthy habits.
Surviving the Holidays with Chef AJ: An 8-Week Webinar Series to Inspire You and Support You.
We can show you how. Simply register for our Surviving The Holidays Webinar Series and we’ll get through this difficult time of year together.
Every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. PST from November 2 to December 21
Only $77 for all 8 sessions.
Chef AJ, Gustavo Tolosa, and special guests Dr. Goldhamer, Dr. Lisle, Dr. Ifland and John Pierre.
CANNOT ATTEND LIVE?
Cannot watch the live webinars? Don’t worry! When you register, you are elegible to receive the private REPLAY LINK to watch the recorded sessions any time you want, as many times as you want.
You can sign up for the series here; Surviving The Holidays With Chef AJ
Wishing you all a healthy happy holiday season!
Feel Free To Leave A Comment
What are you strategies to get through the holidays without feeling stressed?
A Little Nutmeg Nugget: When I started this blog in January of 2010 I followed what I understood to be a healthy version of the standard American diet, ironically also known as the “SAD” diet. As interest in my own health and how it was affected by the food I ate evolved, I transitioned to a whole food plant based diet also known as “WFPB” diet. I have wrestled with the fact that this blog still contains all those posts and recipes from the SAD way of eating I have left behind. I no longer advocate for anyone to eat that way. At this time I am leaving those recipes and posts here. It is a record of my journey and how I came to follow a WFPB way of eating. It is my hope that those who still come here for those old recipes will be curious about what I am doing now. Perhaps they will dip their toes across the line as I did and try some plant based recipes and learn more about the health benefits.