Clean Fun Living 2016 Holiday Eating Guide For Guys Who Know Better

2016 Holiday Eating Guide for Guys Who Know Better…

By | Awareness, Great Eating, Holidays | No Comments

If you love-hate this time of year like I do, then celebrating the season while aiming to do minimum damage to your waistline, blood-pressure, and sugar levels, and your mental health becomes the true gift that keeps on giving.

With the season in full swing, what’s your plan to get through the next 2 weeks with the least amount of damage to your health?

As the cold, harsh gray light of January approaches, you could change nothing and be that (stereotypical) guy who gets “resolved” to lose the pounds gained over the holidays, with a short-lived stint at the gym and yoga studios, swiftly aborted attempts at eating “clean”.

My 2016 Holiday Eating Guide offers you a different outcome this year.

I’m asking you to incorporate a bit of mindful awareness and a lot of preemptive common sense.  By taking a step back to ask yourself:

  • What do I want out of this time of year?
  • How exactly do I want things to go?

You reduce possible overwhelm and switch to autopilot in order just to get through.

I’m asking you to become more conscious in the moment; since it’s the only way you actually have any control.

To facilitate that, I offer you 11 simple tools and strategies intended to minimize weight gain and other detrimental side effects of the inescapable Holiday Excess Lifestyle Labyrinth aka (“HELL”).

We all could use a little more…

Clean Fun Living - Willpower

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Clean Fun Living - Set an intention to pay attention

#1 Set an Intention to Pay Attention

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Funny thing about willpower: the amount of you have is inversely related to the frequency of temptation you’re exposed to.

In other words, you have less and less willpower the more often you find yourself in situations where you want more of it.

Although I should know better as an experienced health coach. I’m human.  I love all the holiday food and festivities too much to be deprived.

So I boost my diminishing willpower with the following tips and strategies to have my (multiple slices of) cake while minimizing the burden on my waistline and level of guilt I will inevitably feel once all the celebrating ends.

I invite you to see which one(s) you can employ when you find yourself faced with far too many indulgences and your willpower has all but deserted you.

Eating: Mindful vs. Mindless
Mindless eating is easy just because the food is right there in front of you. Same with eating while distracted – a la standing and chatting at a party.

You do it more for emotional comfort than hunger. Simply put, it’s not paying attention to what you eat which leads to overeating on autopilot.

The key to mindful eating is simple awareness. Just by paying more attention to what you eat or what you’re doing at any given moment during the holidays you’re more likely to make beneficial changes.

Consider the following:

  • Who you want to hang with and be around that would be fun or most beneficial to your sanity and/or your career/business goals?
  • How much do you drink to overcome social awkwardness than to celebrate an occasion?
  • How “connected” do you feel to the flurry of holiday activity going on around you?
  • What time would ideally like to arrive/leave an event? Do you even want to go at all?
  • How hurt or offended would the host(s) be if you didn’t go?

Take Action
Book a 5-10 date with yourself at a time when you won’t be distracted (the bathroom is good for this). Take that time to focus inward. With eyes closed take some deep, cleansing breaths and visualize how you want your remaining holiday experiences to unfold.

Clean Fun Living - Set TWO Goals

#2 Set TWO Goals

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Your subconscious is also always open to suggestion.  In one recent Harvard study, people who were simply told that they did enough in their daily lives to meet the surgeon general’s recommendations lost weight and body fat without consciously changing a thing.

You can take full advantage of this awesome power of suggestion to set two goals this holiday season.
Your first goal is an ideal outcome you want by January 1, 2017.

That might be (a) getting all your major shopping before the week of Christmas or (b) not letting that competitive 1st cousin get under your skin.

Once you have an “ideal” goal, set an “acceptable” goal that you’ll be able to live with if all else fails (i.e., you get in at least one workout between Christmas and NYE or you only inhale half your usual number of Aunt Lou’s famous Meyer lemon squares).

Setting yourself up for success engages your subconscious to manifest the outcome you desire.

Take Action
Pick two goals for yourself that you be happy reaching this holiday season.

Clean Fun Living - Pick your battles

#3 Pick Your Battles

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Perfection is not an option.

Even if you’ve set your intentions and two goals you’ll inevitably find yourself in moments of weakness where you’re just like “eff it” I don’t care. I say then go for it with gusto.  Just give into the stress and overwhelm of the moment and do what you “have to” do. The moment too shall pass and you can pressF5 and refresh you willpower for the next one.

Your goals and intentions aren’t your enemy. They’re what you say you want.

The conflict arises when the/your powerful, long establish habits push back and say:

“oh hell no, we ain’t fitting to change nuthin’ round here”

Being mindful during the holidays is work, and your old habits are easily threatened. So remember this is an imperfect process that’s part of a larger journey toward living a healthier life at all times of the year.

Starting now puts you that much further ahead of the game and ensures whatever new behaviors you do attempt in January have a better chance of crowding out the “bad” habits that no longer serve you.

Take Action
If (and when) you do give into indulgence, give all the way into it.
Maximize your taste buds comfort and joy in the moment

Clean Fun Living - When they serve big, you eat smaller

#4 When They Serve Big, You Eat Smaller

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Since we live in a super-sized culture, we’re expected to want more, bigger, stronger and faster for our money all the time. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a man-trough sized bowl can, in fact, be outrageously huge.

A Cornell University study showed that even nutrition experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls.

The size of the serving utensil mattered, too: Subjects served themselves 57% more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop.

Other studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30% more liquid into squatter vessels.

Take Action
Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses, not the fat, wide kind. Use smaller plates and serving utensils when available.
Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself.

Clean Fun Living - healthy holiday snacking perimeter

#5 Establish a Healthy Holiday Snacking Perimeter

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Food is everywhere during the holidays, especially sugar and salt laden ones.

@home:  Keep the holiday treats out of the homestead to the extent you can do so with kids, visiting relatives and significant others sharing the refrigerator. At the very least you can ask that they could be kept to a minimum.

@work: Try to keep communal office goodies out of view, either in an area that isn’t as highly trafficked as the kitchen, the break room, or in dark containers or covered dishes.

Better yet, establish a perimeter of your favorite fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Before you allow yourself a splurge, do something beneficial to your body, like doing a few shots of water, walking around the office floor once or twice, or climbing a few flights of stairs.

Before you allow yourself a splurge, do something beneficial to your body, like doing a few shots of water, walking around the office floor once or twice, or climbing a few flights of stairs.

Take Action
Delay that cookie or salted caramel indulgence until just before bedtime.
At that point, you’re less likely to crave another treat immediately than you would during your afternoon coffee break,
especially if the entire box or tin is no longer around.

Clean Fun Living - Use the Setting to Eat to Your Advantage

#6 Use the Setting to Your Advantage

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At formal dinners and seated events, eat with a small group when you can.

One study found that dining with six or more people can cause you to eat 76% more, most likely because the meal can last so long. (After an hour of staring at the stuffing, you’re more likely to have seconds.)

Sit next to a fellow healthy eater (there’s strength in numbers).

Or sidle up to that uncle who eats slowly, so his pace can slow yours.

Wait for all the food to be on the table before making your selections.

People who make their choices all at once eat approx. 10-14% less than do those who keep refilling when each plate is passed.

Take Action
At a big sit-down supper, be the last one to start and the second one to stop eating

Clean Fun Living - Simplify Your Palate

#7 Simplify Your Palate

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Limit the number of high-calorie foods on your party plate.

It’s been proven that when faced with multiple food options of varying tastes, textures, smells, shapes, and colors, people eat more―regardless of their true hunger level.

Cutting down on your personal smorgasbord can decrease what you end up eating significantly.

Simplify your palate filling your plate with low-calorie items, such as leafy green salads, vegetable dishes, and lean proteins, and taking smaller portions of the richer ones. That way, you can eat a larger amount of food for fewer calories and not feel deprived.

Take Action
When you’ve had enough (or don’t want to eat more), pop a sugar-free breath freshener in your mouth. The feeling of a fresh palate can curb additional eating

Clean Fun Living - Keep Track of What You Eat

#8 Keep Track of What You Eat

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Maintain a digital food diary to help you keep track of what you eat and stay committed to your weight goals during this calorie heavy time of year.

MyFitnessPal is a good friend of mine and it should be yours too. If you’ve never heard of this amazing mobile app, stop what you’re doing right now and go download it to your phone or mobile device.

MyFitnessPal is by far one of the easiest ways to keep track of everything you eat and drink plus the number of calories associated with it.  They have HUGE, ever-growing, user-database of just about every food, web recipe, and fast food take-out meal you can imagine, including nutrition info.

First, weigh yourself and then decide on whether you want to maintain your current weight or go for actually losing a few pounds over the next few weeks. Follow the instructions in the “Goals” section and enter your particulars. You will be given a total max daily calorie intake based on what you entered.

Now, go about your business using the priceless bar code reader to scan any retail food item for the exact calorie count per serving.  For fresh fruits and vegetables, you type in the search and you get calorie results based on size, fresh or frozen and the like.

You now have complete knowledge of how many calories you are consuming and total control over the decision to go above or stay below your “Goals”.

Take Action
Download MyFitnessPal mobile app and set up your profile

Clean Fun Living - My Fitness Pal