Holiday Season Check-In (2018)
Now that we are officially in the middle of the holiday season, I just wanted to offer a little motivation to help you keep working towards your nutrition goals.
It can be really hard this time of year to 1) keep making nutrient dense food choices more often than not and 2) not beat yourself up over not managing to do number 1.
How we navigate our food environment during this time of year is actually a really great snap shot of how we navigate it most of the time. Some people are able to make generally nutrition centered choices most of the time; they are also able to give themselves a little grace when they occasionally make less than ideal food choices while enjoying the season; they don’t let those choices define their worth and they don’t let those choices dictate there future food choices. (How often do we let one less than ideal decision influence us to make 5 more less than ideal decisions?)
For others the holiday food situation brings with it a sense of panic and loss of control. When they make less than ideal choices it feels like a decision that was out of their control; making it seem less like a choice and more like an inevitability. They make a nutrient poor choice, then beat themselves up over it, which makes them feel crappy, which drives them to eat more nutrient poor/highly palatable foods to feel better. Rinse and repeat. They end up stuck in a negative self-talk loop about how there is no point in trying to make nutrient dense food choices because they will “always fail.”
You know what the real difference between these two types of people is? It’s the difference between the long and the short game.
Humans are actually wired to be more focused on the short game rather than the long. As a wild human, you would never know how much longer you would have access to food, so gorge now while you can. Long term planning is not part of our DNA. But as modern humans living in a radically different environment than the one in which we evolved, we have to adapt and become long term thinkers and planners.
When we can take the long view of things, we are better able to see that one meal is not the destruction of all our plans, but also that multiple less than ideal choices can add up over time to sabotage our goals. This kind of thinking can help you see that it’s not the end of the world to have some dessert at the holiday party, but that it probably won’t serve your bigger goals to keep a dish of holiday treats on your desk at work.
If you make more nutrient focused decisions more often, your body is better able to buffer the less than ideal choices, during the holiday season or any other time.
Are you in it for the long game or do you want to stay in the short-term negative self-talk loop?