Indulging without OVER-indulging - Your Holiday Splurging Blueprint

Indulging without OVER-indulging - Your Holiday Splurging Blueprint
by megan dahlman
December 5, 2023

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Well friends…it’s December, we are smack dab in the holidays.

And usually what we do this month is we stop paying attention to what we eat and just overindulge. How about we avoid that?

This is your 4-step plan on how to indulge this season without overindulging.

Let’s see if this sounds familiar:

You have a holiday gathering with friends planned for tonight, and you spend the evening getting ready, excited to finally be able to dress up and feel pretty for a change.

When you arrive, your friends greet you with hugs and you’re instantly swept into the kitchen and handed a glass of chardonnay. The kitchen island is spread with delicious hors d’oeuvres - stuffed mushrooms, sausage rolls, fancy charcuterie, mixed glazed nuts, crackers and dip, and so much more. Everything looks so delicious and you want to taste it all!

So, while standing in the kitchen visiting with your friends, you nibble on everything as your friends refill your glass of wine. After a while, you feel stuffed and have no idea how much you ate or drank. But then the desserts arrive, and you can’t NOT have the cheesecake bites or the adorable slices of pumpkin pie!

You’ve been here before. Perhaps not in this exact situation, but probably one very similar.

You walked into a holiday situation without a strategy and just mindlessly consumed everything, which left you feeling guilty and frustrated with yourself. (And probably physically ill, too.)

With a clear splurging plan, you will be completely prepared for tricky situations like these.

Ok, first, if you want to be successful…

…the Biggest Obstacle you need to overcome this season is in your MIND.

If you skip this part about the mind strategy, and go straight to the splurging tactics, you’ll still find yourself back in the same place with the same struggles.

And the biggest mindset obstacle right now is (drumroll please) - The all-or-nothing mentality.

  • You might have snippets of the all-or-nothing mindset at various points throughout the year, but it shines the most during the holidays. This mindset says, “If I can’t eat perfectly and be fully focused on my food intake right now, then I just won’t think about it at all.”

Most women have a running checklist in their mind of how they should be eating, and it’s easy to self-sabotage and throw in the towel when you know you’re going to miss the mark. When it won’t look perfect.

I’m sure that when you show up and commit to something (like eating healthy), you want to be able to give it your absolute best. That’s commendable, but creating such high expectations will paralyze you and prevent you from doing something healthy right now, even if it feels like it’s not perfect.

Overcoming the all-or-nothing mindset takes determined practice - you actually have to actively catch it and turn those thoughts around.

  • Ask yourself “What CAN I still do?”
  • Doing a little bit of something is infinitely better than all-or-nothing
  • Think of your health choices like a dimmer switch or a dial, rather than a light switch.

Now, let’s dive into your Holiday Splurging Plan:

Step One: Get clear on what exactly a “splurge” is.

Understand that "splurging" is anything that deviates from healthy and nutritious eating. Having a cookie is just as much of a splurge as having a burger and fries, even though the calories are vastly different. The point is for you to place all “not-so-healthy” foods (no matter the quantity) in a completely separate category in your mind. Treat them as extra special...not something to be mindlessly nibbled on throughout the day.

Missing or skipping a meal is also “splurging”. Again, remember, it’s not about the calories. This point really matters because when you skip a meal, you’re missing an opportunity for your body to be fed with good nutrients. And that has an effect on the rest of your choices during the day because your hunger and cravings may get out of control. Remind yourself that skipping a meal this time of year may impact you more negatively because you’re surrounded by so many more splurging temptations.

Step Two: Plan ahead.

Plan ahead and choose several opportunities during the week to intentionally enjoy some splurges. If you’d like to maintain your body composition during this season (which I’m sure you do!), it’s best if you stick with only 4-7 splurges over the course of the week. If you’re splurging multiple times a day for several days in a row it will cause you to backslide. Period. Plan out your splurges ahead of time so that you know when they’re happening and you can look forward to those moments. All the rest of your meals should be full of healthy ingredients.

Only choose your absolute favorites and say “no thanks” to anything else. Ask yourself what your absolute favorite splurge foods are...the ones that you enjoy the most. (You might even call these foods your “weaknesses” at times.) Start to recognize these particular foods as your very favorite things, and don’t waste your time with anything else. It would even be helpful to take some time to consider which splurge-worthy foods during the holidays are NOT your favorite. Personally, I dislike orange flavored chocolate. Knowing this allows me to say no thanks when it’s around, and wait for something I really do enjoy.

Step Three: Implement the “pro moves”.

When splurging, drink more water than you normally would. Typically, splurge foods and drinks are higher in sugar, sodium and fat. Drinking a lot of water will help stave off some of that bloated feeling you get when you eat unhealthy food. So will vegetables!

Try the “sample technique” with a variety of holiday foods. The “sample technique” is having just small samples of foods when you're at a holiday get-together. You don’t need entire servings of dishes to fully enjoy them. Put a small amount on your plate and eat it slowly. Pay attention to the flavors and the textures, and notice whether you like it or not. You can even consider the healthfulness and nutritional quality of that particular food item. And then move on after having just a sample.

Step Four: Keep your head in the game.

Don’t let your splurges derail you. This is key, because this is that all-or-nothing mindset again. I’m sure you have thought, “well, I already ate a piece of pie, so I might as well eat everything else.”

  • When you have a splurge, at the very next meal that you eat should be healthy. If you have pancakes and sausage for breakfast, make sure you choose a PROtein and PROduce filled meal for lunch. Don’t lose your focus.

Most importantly, don’t shut your brain off. Stay mindful. So much of splurging this time of year consists of mindless munching at parties, and even at home. Pay attention to what you're doing!

  • Slow down while you eat, think about the foods that are going into your mouth, have a plan with what goes on your plate.
  • Pause and really savor the splurge foods, letting the full enjoyment soak in.
  • And remember, it’s ok to leave some bites on your plate.

Success or Failure?

The point of all this is for you to feel in control this season, but not restricted. You’re in the driver seat. You make the choices, and you have the chance here to make some choices.

When you follow these steps, you’re going to feel physically great every day over these next couple weeks.

But, if you let this go, if you don’t follow these steps, we all know where that leads. You’re going to feel bloated, sugared out, unhealthy, and just out of control.

The big takeaway…

Now, right now you feel inspired. But I know exactly how things go… great information can easily go in one ear and right out the other, without ever creating change or action in your life.

  • Often for things to really stick and for you to learn best, you need to hear, you need to see it, you need to read it, and you need to write it.
  • The more ways you can engage with it, the better.

So, I put something together for you that will really cement these strategies and help you navigate food once-and-for-all this holiday season.

I want to give you my Holiday Splurging Blueprint for free. Click here to download the blueprint plus the BONUS Reference Guide.

More Resources & Links

Download the free Holiday Splurging Blueprint here!

Listen to Ep. 304: Elastic Eating - What it is and Why You Need It (Especially During the Holidays)

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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