Take a Detour from the Holiday Guilt Trip

By Kimberly RobertoCo-author of the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans

Set Yourself up for Success

Living a Maximized Living lifestyle is meant to happen year-round but many people struggle with it during the holidays and end up with a major case of guilt come January 1. We want to help you avoid the guilt trip altogether so here are some tips to keep you healthy, de-stressed, and guilt-free through the holidays.

Let’s start with the reality of the holidays. There are more temptations, more events, crazier schedules, bad influences, and tradition triggers than the rest of the year. It is important to have the correct mindset, spend some time goal-setting and planning and then executing that plan.

For the individual who is not in the midst of a significant health crisis, the nutrition plan can be altered to better accommodate the holiday challenges. It is all in the approach. Here are the typical scenarios.

Scenario #1: The Ostrich

This is the typical American. There is no plan, there is no attention to health or diet at all. In fact, many people just have the attitude that they will do whatever they want and deal with the consequences once the holidays are over. Once Jan 1 rolls around, the good old New Year’s resolutions are made. This is backwards thinking. Most resolutions ultimately fail because there is no real plan to make them a reality.

Scenario #2: The Overcommitter

Many people want to have better nutrition and have every intention on following a stringent nutrition plan, even during this time of year. However, the pressure of the holidays has them straying from the plan and falling short of their own expectations. This leads to the feeling of failure and guilt that builds with each and every “slip up.”

It is important to be realistic while still attending to your health and moving toward your goals (instead of away from them). There are many people who are able to stick 100 percent to the Core or even the Advanced Plan through the holidays but if you are just starting out, won’t be in your own home environment for much of the holidays, or are just simply unprepared, a modified plan is the best way to go. (see #4)

Scenario #3: The Free Spirit

The holidays can be very chaotic and without some very well thought out intentions, it is easy to be distracted and unfocused. This person knows they need to watch their nutrition and are committed to their health but lack a good plan. Without a plan, these people are easily sucked into the holiday trap which then leads to feelings of guilt and failure. It is critical to know your ultimate destination in order to accurately map out how to get there.

Scenario #4: The Purposeful Planner

This is where we recommend everyone be throughout the holidays. The very first step is to identify your goals (while being realistic about your current state of health), how you want to start off 2014, and where you ultimately want to be in the long run. The objective is to be able to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.

Strategic planning requires thought, discipline, and effort. You will need to plan your potential departures.

If you know you have a party to attend, give yourself some parameters and stick to them. For example, you can give yourself one “dessert pass” for a party. Another example would be to follow the Advanced Plan five days a week and take two days off. This allows you some wiggle room while not throwing you completely off track. If chicken wings and apple pie are built into your plan, then you won’t feel guilty eating them because you are still in control.

Here are some other ways to be victorious through the holidays:

  • Eat before you go to a holiday gathering. Going to parties or events hungry is a recipe for disaster. You will be more susceptible to temptation and can sabotage your efforts. Get in some good quality nutrients before you go so your body is properly fueled. Doing this will make you feel better about working in some “vacation” snacks or meals.
  • Give yourself some irreducible minimums. Examples can be: no sodas at all, five servings of vegetables a day, two desserts a week, etc.
  • Make some healthy holiday treats to have on hand. There are many holiday dishes and desserts that you can enjoy without feeling left out or deprived. (The Maximized Living Recipe Vault is full of helpful ideas.)
  • Bring healthy food with you to share at holiday events. People will be appreciative and will also be surprised that the food actually tastes good.
  • Don’t let others derail you. Unfortunately, there will be people out there who are—whether they realize it or not—pressuring you to sabotage your health goals. Stay committed! Remember, if you have a well thought out plan, you will be much more likely to execute it.
  • Stay hydrated. It is easy to become dehydrated, especially during the colder months when you are less conscious about drinking water.
  • Keep moving. Don’t let the holidays interrupt your exercise. It is even more important to exercise during times of increased stress. This will also help your body bounce back from the occasional nutritional “cheat.”
  • Keep balance in mind. If you know you are giving yourself a vacation meal, eat really great beforehand to “earn” it. Conversely, if you fall off the plan, make up for it by nourishing your body properly in the following hours and days.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. If you make some mistakes, don’t dwell on it. Get back up, wipe the slate clean, and make a new plan. Stay positive and focus on your long term goals.
  • Celebrate your successes. Give yourself credit for making your health and your nutrition a priority during the holidays. Share what you are doing with others who are struggling.

Hit the ground running come January 2015. Know where you are and where you want to go. Make 2015 your best year ever!