My Holiday Eating Plan for 2022

I love the holidays. From the beginning of October to the end of December, I completely indulge in the festivities. I immerse myself in the holiday experiences and enjoy them so much so that in January I usually go into a bit of a post-holiday depression.

One of the things I’ve come to associate with the holidays is food and drink. I know I’m not alone in this, but I’ve been known to gain between 10 – 20 lbs. during the holiday season. This year my goal is to stay the same. So far so good. I weigh what I did the last week in September before I began to celebrate the holiday season, which, for me, kicks off October 1st.

I love Halloween and allow myself to indulge in some Halloween candy ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT. I choose three pieces of candy – and don’t get upset at myself if it turns to four, five or six. I know that the next day, I will not eat more candy. I even eat light before the big night so that I can indulge in the sweet treats I’ve come to associate with the day.

It seems – especially more so in recent years – that November 1st kicks off the Christmas season with Thanksgiving being just a blip on the holiday radar. Holiday foods begin to fly off the shelves. I am an admitted Pumpkin Spice fanatic. This year, I bought some zero-calorie pumpkin caramel and pumpkin spice syrups to flavor my coffee so that I could enjoy this sweet treat without feeling guilty afterwards.

It worked well. At least I didn’t gain weight during PSL season which has been known to happen in the past. When Thanksgiving arose, I chose foods that were health-promoting over less health-promoting foods. Believe it or not the Thanksgiving table is full of yummy foods that are also good for you. Turkey is a relatively lean protein. There are brussel sprouts and other veggies at our holiday table. Sweet potatoes, provided that they are not mixed with marshmallows and cinnamon sugar, are very healthy and delicious.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that I ate perfectly on Thanksgiving. I did make room for my husband’s pumpkin cheesecake and some whipped cream on top. Unlike in previous years, I did skip the pecan pie and other treats. I just really allowed myself to enjoy the cheesecake and didn’t beat myself up over it. I also made sure I exercised extra that morning and ate a light breakfast. I also didn’t go for the post-event meal later in the day. I grabbed some extra turkey and had a protein snack instead of a full late-evening holiday pig out.

We’re at Christmas week and I’d love to say that I haven’t eaten cookies or indulged in some egg nog. As I sit writing this, I’m enjoying a salted caramel hot chocolate. Yum! I have my strategy laid out for this week. I am limiting myself to two, gluten-free cookies a day and drinking non-caloric drinks with no artificial sweeteners like LaCroix carbonated waters and Stevia-based drinks. I’m also eating light for breakfast and lunch with a bit of an allowance for holiday foods here and there.

We are having a big holiday party on Friday and I encouraged people to bring foods they enjoy and love and want to share. I do expect to indulge a bit, but when people have asked what to bring, I’ve offered veggie options like Brussel sprouts, butternut squash and the like. I know if they are there and someone has taken the time to make them, I will sample them and save myself from some of the higher calorie options.

It’s best to go into a holiday event with a solid strategy so you don’t derail or undermine all the progress you’ve made during the year. October, November and December don’t need to be a feeding frenzy for you to enjoy them. There are many ways to have a happy holiday – and not all of them involve food.

If you want to discuss healthy holiday strategies with me, I’m booking up fast for the season. Please reach out to me directly at dcgoodson@gmail.com

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