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Beginning of Cat’s Holiday Rant…

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Good morning HartsSpace friends! I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving. I sure did. I enjoyed lots of good food, family, and reflection. Although I love to promote healthy eating I do also promote enjoying more calorie dense food on the occasion, and what better occasion than the holidays? I mean really… life is short. Even I know that and I don’t like to encourage people to feel guilt surrounding eating. Eating is NOT A MORAL ISSUE PEOPLE! Guilt often times goes hand and hand with the holidays since we all tend to over eat a bit. It’s kind of SAD that our holidays get clouded with guilt. However, we do live in a society that LOVES to celebrate the holidays with lots of comfort food and parties. Oh the parties. The invites start flying into my inbox around mid November for all sorts of holiday parties. For those of you out there with health goals, the holidays can be a difficult time. I’d like to offer some suggestions to help you all prepare for the holiday season. I will write a few blogs on this topic, but today I will focus on not going out to eat this month. This is a strategy to counteract those indulgent evenings and persistent mountains of sugar cookies that start erecting everywhere you look starting December first.

I know we all enjoy going out to eat but here is the thing…You have eleven other months of the year to go out to eat. And you will undoubtably go to a restaurant or two or three for a holiday party this month. So lets not compound those heavy eating nights with any more additional restaurant meals. I do understand that some restaurant meals can be on the healthier side. If you say order salad, or go to some extremely (and very rare) healthy restaurant then sure those meals might be as healthy or more healthy than something you would have made at home. But that is a very unlikely scenario. Restaurants draw customers in by serving delicious high calorie food. And there is nothing wrong with that, I love going out to eat on occasion! However, I feel pretty confident in saying that it is ALMOST ALWAYS going to be healthier to make a meal at home. And it will always be cheaper. Not to mention the whole temptation factor that restaurants present as well. So you have a pep talk with yourself before you leave for the restaurant… you say one hundred times in your head before you arrive at the restaurant that you will order that salad. Sweet. I’m ordering a salad and drinking water. This is going to be great. But then you walk in. And it hits you… the scent of sizzling steaks, home baked pizzas, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, hamburgers and you name it. And you think …WOW THAT SMELLS GOOD!! And then you sit down. You look over to your left and the person at that table is expressing utter enjoyment of their NY strip steak. They are sipping a glass of red wine with it and they just look SO happy with their wine choice. And then you look to your right, that person over there was just presented with their chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. You open your menu. Forty five delicious high calorie meal options and a few salads. And then it hits you… you are hungry and you want WAY more than a salad with chicken. Now what do you do? Well if you are like most people you likely will not order a salad with chicken. And then you will feel guilty about not sticking to your salad plan. But here’s the thing… you did not set yourself up for success by going out to eat. There are barriers all over that restaurant to your healthy eating. If you had eaten at home you would not have had so many smells, visual cues, and opportunity to stray from your plan. You would have had what was in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Which leads me to one of my favorite nutrition quotes that I see on facebook all the time: IF YOU KEEP HEALTHY FOOD IN YOUR FRIDGE YOU WILL EAT HEALTHY FOOD. I don’t know who said it but it’s pretty much common sense anyways. This is a true statement. If you’d like proof I recommend reading a book by Brian Wansink PhD called “Mindless Eating”. Great read.

Now back to the guilt thing… if you did stray from your plan, please don’t feel guilty. The act of eating is not a moral issue. You did not hurt anybody by ordering fried chicken over a salad. You did skip out on paying your check, you did not offend anyone, you did nothing that necessitates a guilt trip. Sure you had a goal that you strayed from a bit, but it’s about progress. What other things did you do this week/ month that were progressive towards your health goal? The more you beat up on yourself the more you will hate eating healthy. We don’t want that! We want you to like eating healthy. So please replace the guilt trip with a brief quiet reflection that examines what happened, what could be done differently in the future, and what other things you have done RIGHT recently. Don’t solely focus on the negatives!

OK done ranting for today… but there will me more rants this week. Have a healthy Thursday 🙂