We all know the feeling. The diet has been perfect. Our weight is under control. The holiday season hits and we find ourselves in seemingly endless rounds of big meals, restaurants and parties. There are chips and pastry cases everywhere we look and the only choices we have are to forget our diet or starve! So how do we navigate through holiday season without abandoning Paleo recipes completely?
First things first: relax! It is ok to slip up now and again. Eating something that isn’t on the list isn’t the end of the world. In fact, this ‘all or nothing’ mentality is actually a big problem. We tend to feel that everything has to be perfect or it is worthless. This is a reason that so many people fall off the traditional diet wagon. That one slip up becomes a free fall into dietary disaster at every meal. “Hey, I had dessert. That’s ruined everything. I might as well just east that box of donuts in front of the TV”.
Don’t make this mistake, if you do have a meal that doesn’t fit in with Paleo. That’s ok. Don’t compound things by making it a series of meals. We all know how difficult it can be when you are invited. Someone has gone to a lot of effort to create a delicious meal. Nobody wants to push the plate away, saying “sorry, I can’t eat this. I only eat Paleo.” That doesn’t mean helping yourself to three servings of whatever followed by extra dessert. Be reasonable. Eat the food and if you can, go heavier on the meat and vegetables and stay away from the bad stuff. Most people won’t be offended if you refuse dessert or at least take just a small piece of pie or cake or whatever.
Just because it is the holiday season, it doesn’t mean that you should make poor choices at home though. When you are the master of your own kitchen, eat the same stuff you normally do. There are millions of delicious Paleo recipes out there. Try something new. Once again, don’t compound a problem by thinking that one poor meal choice has to mean a week’s worth of eating unhealthy. A few meals over a week or two really isn’t that big a deal. Two weeks of rubbish is.
But what about when you are in a restaurant? Actually, this is easy. In fact, many restaurants now offer Paleo options and mark them on the menu. Choose something from that list. If that isn’t the case, remember that you are a paying customer. If you had an allergy, you wouldn’t hesitate to ask for something that you could eat. The same is true for Paleo recipes. Ask for extra vegetables rather than fries. Ask for your steak to be served without that sauce. Believe me, most places will be happy to oblige.
If you have guests at your house, don’t think that you have to produce the same junk that everyone else serves either. Think of it as an opportunity. See if you can convert a guest or two by showing them just how good Paleo food and snacks can be. I have seen people happily crunching away on raw vegetables and healthy dips without thinking twice. In fact, if you don’t mention it, it is unlikely the will notice that they have had a 100% Paleo meal from dips to dessert.
Holiday season is a time to allow a little leeway. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat something that you normally wouldn’t touch. But don’t treat it as a free-for-all, eat what you want either. Stick with your Paleo lifestyle as much as possible, whether at home, in the restaurant or at a party. It might surprise you just how easy it is.