Boyscout Wisdom: Be Prepared

At this point in December, you should be aware of your festivity obligations for the rest of the month and possibly into January. If you are not aware, now would be the time to figure out when and where you are expected to be since this can play a huge role in your emotional or physical health. I know, planning isn’t sexy or exciting but some form of planning is the key to success in many areas of life and it is a strategy I often recommend. We will discuss planning events for less stress & allow us to be in control of our food choices.

When & where will this event will occur? What time of the day or night?

Step One: Find out and fill in your calendar

  • If your event starts at times that will cause you to go 4+ hours without eating, have a small meal or snack beforehand. Ideally, this small meal or snack contains a source of protein and vegetables/fruit for fibre.

    • This step can help take the edge off your hunger and help make mindful decisions about your food choices instead of solely reacting to your overwhelming sense of deprivation. If you ignore your hunger cues to save up calories for an event, you’re going to have a bad time. The overeating “hangover” includes feeling uncomfortably full or unsavoury digestive issues accompanied by negative self-talk. It’s not about eating less, it is about making choices that allow you to be present while eating to soak up every ounce of satisfaction from the food and company this holiday season.

Step Two: Consider other activities you might be doing before or after events

  • If you will be running last minute errands or on the road, pack snacks. Put them in your car or ask your partner or friend to if you are particularly forgetful. Examples of balanced snacks include veggies & pre-portioned hummus, greek yogurt, handful of nuts & orange or 1 oz packaged cheese (such as Babybell or Laughing Cow) & grapes.

When will you have time for the other activities that come with being a responsible(ish) adult?

Block out time for meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep. If you are running around like a Christmas turkey with its head cut off and get home to an empty fridge, you are more likely to eat out. If you are really pressed for time, consider grocery delivery, freezer meals or prepped dishes from the grocery store like ready-made salads or roasted chicken.

  • At the very least, aim to have enough vegetables, fruit & quality protein in the house for snacks or to balance out take-out meals.

When will you have time for physical activity?

Your schedule is packed & your life will be hectic for the next couple of weeks. Schedule in time for any physical activity. Most of us get discouraged before we start because we have all or nothing thought patterns when it comes to our health. We have to go hard 100% of the time otherwise it has no benefit. How many of us skip a workout because life gets in the way but think a quick walk “it’s not good enough”? Literally anything is better than nothing when it comes to activity.

Maybe your family or friends are #sitfam instead of #fitfam. That’s okay! If you have time off, you have more opportunities to participate in winter activities that don’t involve a gym. Add some play back into your life & go tobogganing, skating, snowshoeing, snowman building or strolling through Candy Cane Lane.

What type of dishes will be served? Is this a buffet or potluck? Appies before a show? Dessert & drinks?

For example, if you’re going to a potluck, you can count of there being tons of finger foods like chips, dips, breads, meat, cheese, and dessert. Maybe if you’re lucky someone will bring a veggie platter that always runs out of dip yet has an infinite supply of dry broccoli, that you’d consider eating if there was dip. Be the person who brings a salad or vegetable dish! Take matters into your own hands and bring something that can help balance out your plate. Quick Vegetable Recipes.

  • Balanced meals provide a slower more sustained form of energy & prevent cravings or an energy crash in a few hours because your meal was primarily simple carbohydrates.

    • This also applies to events at friends or family’s homes. Bring a dish or get involved in the kitchen while earning a get out of dishes free card. I regularly burst into the kitchens of loved ones to ensure there `will be at least one vegetable dish that isn’t made with Jello.

If you have given yourself permission to indulge at an event, it is easier to prioritize the food you enjoy instead of snacking out of habit or FOMO (fear of missing out) because you set restrictions. Check out my last blog for more details.

  • I love the sweet potato casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping and I know my Grandma will be hitting up Christmas dinner with that crack-like casserole. I also know there will be a lot potatoes, buns, and corn which are sources of starch. To balance my plate, I will prioritize that casserole over other dishes I can get all year or at other events.

What are my intentions for this event?

Intentions are different than goals or resolutions because intentions help ground you in the present moment & the process instead of only focusing on the end result or destination. Setting an intention for an event(s) can help guide your thoughts & actions in line with how you want to live. Personalize then repeat your intentions before events or in the morning.

  • Some examples are:

    • I savour my food

    • I am in tune with my body

    • I connect with my loved ones or I experience love

  • More information on how to set intentions here or here.

  • Check out another blog on intentions by Vincci Tsui, a fabulous Calgary Dietitian

What I like about intentions are that I find it easier to stay grounded and be satisfied with the event or experience because my attention wasn’t taken hostage by calories, how my clothes fit or berating myself for making “bad” choices (and therefore, I am a “bad” person). The best thing you can do for your overall health this holiday season is to connect meaningfully with loved ones and enjoy the entire celebratory process, including the treats, rich dishes, and festive drinks.

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