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To Diet or Not to Diet (During the Holidays)

To Diet or Not to Diet (During the Holidays): That Is the Question

You know how sometimes you get in a really good groove with your diet and are 100% on track? Maybe you’re feeling that way right now, but are starting to feel a little concerned about how you’ll handle the holidays. Should you try to stick with your diet completely? Should have you have “cheat” days? Should you throw in the towel completely?

The answer is ultimately up to you (I definitely wouldn’t suggest giving up, though), and you have to work out what will be most realistic. Here are some tips for making the best diet decisions possible.

  • Don’t stray from your usual eats unless it’s for a really special occasion. What foods and occasions are really, truly important to you? And which ones are going to involve really, truly delicious food that’s worth eating? (For instance, the store bought cookies your bank puts out next to a potted poinsettia during their “celebrate with us” “party” isn’t worth it. A once-a-year-gathering with friends or family that involves a chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie with a handmade flaky, buttery crust? Yeah, you might want to have a piece of that.
  • Don’t let one piece of sweet potato casserole turn into a month long marshmallow-topped binge. You know how if you’re eating well and then you slip you can sometimes end up letting that slip turn into a month-long tumble? Don’t do that. See above: pick the occasions and treats that are really, truly worth it, then stick with that.
  • At the same time, though, remember that treats are way more common this time of year, so it’s very possible you’re going to be indulging more often than you planned. It happens.
  • When you overdo it, get back to normal the very next day. Eat as close to your regular, healthy diet as possible. No one night of “bad” eats is going to make or break your diet.
  • Consider abstaining from sweets/alcohol/fried foods/whatever Sunday through Thursday. Save the treats for the Friday night and Saturday (and of course the day of the big celebrations themselves.)
  • Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes. When you do that, you enter a vicious cycle. Eating something you’re not supposed to is followed by beating yourself up, which is followed by regret and anger at yourself, which is followed by either giving in and eating everything because you “might as well” or setting even tighter rules on your food and then being even more likely to overdo it when you do finally indulge.
  • Keep exercising. It will keep your stress levels lower, it will keep your heart pumping, it will keep you inspired to eat well to fuel your body.
  • Do what works for you. If you really feel like you have to have a small piece of Halloween candy every day until it runs out, and you’re doing it in moderation and you are still meeting your health goals, then go for it. If eating one piece of candy makes you want to have 25 more, maybe throw the bag out and give up sweets until the next big holiday rolls around. You have to know yourself and you have to play to your strengths.
  • Talk to your family about it. Tell your partner what you’re planning on doing (if they’re the supportive type) so they can help you stay on track.

You can make healthy choices during the holidays, and you can indulge in the good stuff, too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.