Food takes a pretty central role in the Holiday Season. If you’re struggling with your weight or feeling stress about maintaining your dancer body, the whole holiday food circus can be overwhelming.

Auditions are right around the corner. You might have some time off after Nutcracker. And, there’s even the issue of not spending as much time in the studio since you’re spending more time on stage. All of these things can lead to a lot of holiday food overwhelm.

Going into Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays with a healthy balanced mindset can make a big difference in your experience.

Here are 7 Tips to help you stay calm, positive and happy!

Tip #1: Remember what the holidays are really about.

They’re a time to be with your family and friends. A time to reflect with gratitude for all of the abundance in your life. And, holidays are an opportunity to take inventory of your life and see both areas of beauty and those of opportunity.

If you’re struggling with negative body image, find time to remind yourself of all the physical attributes you have to be grateful for. A body that is fully functioning and can dance! That shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Tip #2: Eat Breakfast

Eat breakfast. Preferably have a meal with protein, carbs and healthy fats. If possible, include some greens as well. Eggs, avocado, toast and some greens are a great way to start the day. Depending on when your family has the big holiday meal, you might also have a balanced lunch before the main event.

Having a salad with some lean protein and healthy fat will give you a good helping of nutrient dense food without overfilling you.

Tip #3: When it comes to holiday treats, assess the food choices available to you.

Some holiday dishes can be quite healthy (think sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, roasted veggies, etc.), others are going to be more decadent. If you want to contribute a healthy side dish, most hosts will be open to that. I always bring a hearty kale salad and that provides the foundation of my meal.

Check out this related post :   Reconnecting to your hunger cues.

Tip #4: Drink water!

Throughout the day stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, if you’re chilly drink tea or warm water with lemon. Both lemon water, peppermint tea or ginger tea help to aid and soothe digestion so they’re particularly good choices on a food centered holiday.

Tip #5: Have a healthy mindset about the food.

Don’t make holiday’s a reason to eat to the point of discomfort. People often tell themselves, “this is the only day ALL YEAR that I’m eating this food.” This idea naturally leads to overeating to an uncomfortable degree.

It’s also important to note that this is a totally false notion. Sure maybe this is the only day Aunt Edna makes her famous pie BUT you could definitely get the recipe and make it any time of year.

Tip #6: Make your food goal to eat only to a point of comfortable satisfaction. 

Now, don’t forget about dessert! Of course, especially when it’s an occasion and even more importantly if there’s a dessert you particularly enjoy then you should absolutely have some. Take small bites. Savor the flavors. Just like with your main meal, stop eating when you’re at the point of comfortable satisfaction.

If you do go overboard – forgive yourself! Your food choices will not be perfect all the time and that is totally ok. Do your best to let it go and move on.

I know this is sometimes much easier said than done so if you’re struggling with your holiday eating strategy or need some support in the aftermath feel free to send me an email and I’d be happy to offer support.

Tip #7: No crash diets afterwards!

It’s possible you’ll read all these tips and still have a challenging time putting them into practice. Depending where you are on your journey towards balance, that’s totally understandable!

If you end up feeling like you’ve been “bad” or gone overboard with the food or indulgences, go easy on yourself. Support yourself with healthy, balanced, hearty meals. If you respond by under-eating, you’ll likely get into a yo-yo pattern.

Check out this related post :   Poor Diet and Injury in Dancers - Dancer Health Study Part I

As you look ahead to 2020 and you have big goals for your body and dancing, check out The Dancer’s Best Body Program opening in January. This program is not just about nutrition information. It’s about unpacking your relationship with food and your body so you can reach and sustain your body goals. Check out some success stories here!

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Holiday Eating Strategies – Indulge with Balance

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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