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My Food, My Plan
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It’s that time of year again—the holiday season. During the weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, all the good eating habits I’ve cultivated over the past 11 months face their greatest test. Between the big holiday dinners, the company parties, the cookie exchanges, the leftovers, and the abundance of tantalizing snacking opportunities, I know I’m pretty much sunk. That’s why I’m heading into this frenzied eating month with a three-pronged plan for success (hopefully).

1. Make healthy choices as often as possible
I will go for the whole foods whenever possible—whole grains, raw veggies, salads, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds. I will strive to avoid processed foods that come out of boxes and packages if there are natural food options available to me. There will be plenty of times when I will eat “the bad stuff”, so when I can choose nutritiously, I will.

2. Pick and choose my indulgences
It is completely unrealistic for me to avoid all goodies between now and January 1. I know that I will indulge from time to time, but my goal is to choose my indulgences carefully. For instance, I can pass up the store-bought Christmas cookies and save my “cheat” for homemade toffee rather than digging into both sweets and doubling my junk food consumption. If I’m not strongly craving an item and feel that it is something I can get along without, then by all means, I will hold out for the more special treats of the season.

3. Don’t allow failures to derail me
I know from firsthand experience that once I allow myself to “throw in the (dietary) towel,” it is a real struggle to pick it back up again. Once I give in to my appetite, whether intentionally (I will allow myself to enjoy Christmas dinner) or unintentionally (“just one” Christmas cookie turns into the entire jar), I feel dietarily defeated. My sugar-clouded mind irrationally determines that the damage is irreparable and that I might as well just give up and polish-off the rest of the pumpkin pie.

I realize that I will partake of the deliciousness of the season. Ideally, I will allow myself a reasonable portion of the snack or meal before me and then walk away. Sometimes I may completely cave to the gluttony, gorging myself on the goodness du jour, but my goal is to wake up the next morning realizing that it is a new day and a new opportunity to make good choices. To fail for one day or one meal is unfortunate though somewhat expected, but to allow my discouragement to stretch that failure over the next several days is unnecessary tragedy.

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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