Originally posted for The Observer In Print and Online HERE

It’s no secret that the holidays are the worst time of year for healthy eating. It is so hard to go to family functions and not eat at least one piece of Grandma’s special pie or your sister’s famous marshmallow surprise that she only makes one time a year. The balance between enjoying yourself and getting completely off track is a tough one, but hopefully this little article will help give you the will power you need to stop yourself from going overboard at the cookie tray. Just like the Real IronDAD blog, the holidays are about food, family, and fun. There is a way to have all three without getting completely off track with your health.

There’s another reason not to go crazy at Holiday parties. It’s no coincidence that the holidays are the sickest time of year. Why does this happen? It’s not just the cold weather that gets us sneezing. It makes perfect sense. We gorge ourselves in the name of jolly feelings that abound throughout the last few months of the year, starting off with the biggest junk food day, Halloween. We eat a ton of candy and send our immune systems into a tail spin as we continue to go to parties, eat too many desserts, and drink alcohol without being responsible for controlling our intake. Working out? Forget that! We are too busy with holiday functions and shopping. By the time we get to January, we are so out of control that we make a New Year’s Resolution to be healthier, which on average lasts about two weeks.

We always hear about how diets don’t work because they are temporary. Lifestyle changes are permanent. If you have made a lifestyle change for the better and want to stay healthy this holiday season, stay true to yourself. If you are hoping to make a change in the new year and want to start once January hits, that is ok too, but don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. This holiday season I want you to enjoy the cookie. I want you to have some of Grandma’s pie. Go ahead, eat that special dessert your sister makes, but don’t forget about your best friends: fruits and veggies. Continue to think about your plant-powered proteins, fruits, veggies and grains. If you know you have a holiday party at night with an amazing buffet, eat clean whole foods all day so you can have a treat at night. Before you get to the buffet, make a plan. How many servings are you going to have? How many drinks will you drink? Most of all don’t arrive hungry! When you finally get there, make sure you take a good look at all the desserts and choose one or two and indulge, but do NOT get seconds. You’ve got this. You can do it! When you are ready, get back on track. The holidays are only temporary, but the damage you do to your body by over indulging could be permanent if you keep these habits.

Cory Warren
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