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Healthy Holidays: Enjoying Without Overindulging

By Sheri Wittmer

The holiday season is here! Does it make your mouth water? Do you worry about gaining weight? You are not alone! Think of all the weight loss New Year’s resolutions.

Eating is a lot like budgeting. Think of it this way. What if you had 100 points to spend each day? Think of vegetables as 1 point, meat as 10, bread as 20, and pumpkin pie as 50. How many pieces of pie would you eat that day? Thinking of vegetables as inexpensive and desserts as expensive can help your daily food budget. Going past your 100 points can cause you to go into debt in your body. You can work it off by exercising or saving points, but it’s a harder to get out of debt than avoid it completely! Credit card debt always costs you more dollars in the end. In the same way, regularly going over your “food point budget” will cost you more in the long run.

Here are some common traps to pay attention to:

“It’s the holiday season!” However, from Halloween to New Year’s Day is 8 weeks! That is a long time to have no budget at all.

“I’ll just have one more.” Make sure the calories are worth it. We see dessert tables loaded with goodies. But if you had to pick two, which two?

I’ll just have one bite…of everything.” Buying just one item of everything at Walmart will still cost a lot at the checkout line!

“I’ll just skip lunch so I can eat more at dinner.” Saving calories for later? Then you show up starving and want to eat it all! Instead plan healthier meals or have healthy snacks before you go.

“I never get to have this so I’ll get an extra scoop or extra big piece.” There really is only so much room on your plate. The goal is not to stack it as high as the plate will hold! Start by filling half your plate with veggies. Then you can decide what to do with the precious real estate!

“Going back for seconds!” If you think you are still hungry, wait about 20-30 minutes before you go back. Then truly evaluate how hungry you are.

I don’t want this to go to waste.” Ever find yourself saying this one? Remember, desserts are expensive to your body. Avoid leaving holiday treats around in easily accessible places. Slow down. Enjoy. Be careful about mindlessly snacking on treats at work, home and parties. They add up! Consider a piece of gum instead.

Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte?” Be careful about liquid calories. Recognize you can drink your dessert but it still counts as dessert! Choosing a latte over the brownie? Ok. Just know the decision you are making.


All in all, you can do it! Yes, by all means enjoy that delicious pumpkin cheesecake with whip cream. But maybe a smaller piece and not so much whip cream you can’t see it. Be kind to yourself but also set limits so you don’t end up miserable trying to get out of food debt later.

If you have any tips on enjoying without “overspending” on your budget, let us know in the comments!

Check out more of our Healthy Compass  posts here!

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