This time of the year is often about delicious food. We use food to connect with people we love; sharing a meal or a treat with the folks we care about is one way we create community during the holiday season. Many people assume that the holidays mean their goals have to go out the window, that they can eat whatever they want for a month and "start fresh" in January.
If you've created a system of nutrition that works for you and you feel satisfied at every occaision without over-doing it, you're doing it right. If you binge all December on alcohol, sweets, mashed potatoes and deep fried appetizers, you're doing it wrong.
I'm not saying you can never indulge, ever, I AM saying that it shouldn't be every time someone brings cupcakes to the office, or every Sunday after church.
I first learned the first-bite-rule from Jill Coleman, a stellar nutrition and fitness resource. She got the rule from another awesome fitness gal, Neghar Fooni. These strong women are all about living a happy, satisfied AND fit life, beyond restriction and calorie counting.
That's gold people.
When you can live your life and eat so that you're fuelled, satisfied and happy, you're doing it RIGHT.
So, what exactly IS the first-bite-rule?
EVERY BITE, should taste as good as the first bite.
This works SUPER well during the holidays. You know those dessert buffets at the office Christmas party, the carrot cake, the gingerbread men, the chocolate-dipped shortbread. You take one of each, because, what the heck, December is only one month. NOW, I invite you to practice the first-bite-rule. If the first bite is absolutely-out-of-this-world-amazing, then carry on. Be MINDFUL. Experience each bite. Is each bite still tasting as good as the first bite? If so, carry on. If you have one bite of the carrot cake, and you're like, meh, I've had better, then you know what to do. Step away. Put down your plate. There will be many other carrot cakes with WAY better cream cheese icing in your future.
That's it. It's simple. Every bite should taste as good as the first bite. When it stops tasting good, you stop. Be mindful. Listen to your body, not just to your physiologic hunger, but to your mental/emotional hunger around holiday foods. Do indulge. Don't let yourself feel deprived. When you opt-out of a food or put down the cake half-way through, that's OK. Let yourself love your choices instead of feeling depressed or destroyed by them.
There's no shame in a little cake. There's no shame in a lot of cake. There's no shame around eating to feel satisfied. Just make sure what you're choosing satisfies your body and your soul and doesn't leave you ready to quit everything or restrict yourself entirely in January.
Happy, Healthy, Holidays!