Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know meal tracking can be a useful weight-loss tool.
It will definitely help to see where the gaps are in your diet in terms of your calories and macros – protein, and minerals, quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. But with the Holidays coming up, a lot of us might get the urge to halt their meal tracking efforts and just enjoy the festiveness of the winter season.
Like with anything else, there is a balance to strike between wanting to track your meals (if you enjoy it) and allowing yourself to make food choices based on your cravings, your environment, and your taste regardless of any numbers.
And the Holidays are no exception! Here are a few tips we’ve compiled that will help you strike the right balance.
#1 FIND WHAT’S MISSING IN YOUR DIET
Like we talked about above, one of the most beneficial reasons why you would want to track your meals is to identify what might be missing in your diet that is affecting how you feel.
Since schedules can be just thrown off for after the holidays, tracking meals can allow you to make sure you’re giving your body exactly what it needs while you’re in the midst of juggling parties, traveling, and cooking delicious meals at home.
You may find that you’re feeling really hungry mid-day, and because you will have data to back this up, you might realize it’s because you’re just skimping on carbs or protein in the morning, or you were rushed to grab something quick at lunch.
If this sounds familiar, then you should know tracking your meals during the holidays could be a great way to make sure you’ll still be taking care of yourself amidst the stress and overwhelm you might be experiencing.
#2 EXAMINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
The holiday season is a great time to check in with your relationship with food, and learn more about how meal tracking is affecting it (or not!).
If you find yourself banning certain foods from your diet because you don’t want to put them in your daily tracker for that fear of not meeting your goals, or you find yourself thinking about your next meal all the time, or you think it’s okay to “work off the calories”, you might even need to take a step back from the meal tracker.
Healthy habits can become unhealthy if other behaviors affect your quality of life or you become too obsessed with training and meal-prepping.
Check in with yourself to learn more about how your relationship with food is affecting your life and find out how you feel about the lack (or the excess) of management and effort that goes into your diet.
LEAVE THE “ALL-OR-NOTHING” MINDSET BEHIND
These questions of “Should I track my calories during the holiday?” “Should I just skip it?” are pure examples of the “all-or-nothing” mindset heavily influenced by diet culture.
Eating and food choices shouldn’t really be a good/bad thing, you’re not being “good” if you can track meals and “bad” when you don’t. Putting all fields in a neutral playing field will definitely help you take the press off of feeling like you have to be either to one extreme or the other – that’s food neutrality! Knowing you can have Holiday snacks and still persevere and actually leave the holidays in better shape than you entered them, is key.
FOCUS ON LONG-TERM THINKING
A few days won’t make or break your entire journey. But if you’ve been diligent in your tracking before the holidays, it can be easy to see where a couple of holiday brunches or dinners can send your usual daily numbers skyrocketing.
Instead of being stressed, or feeling like you did something wrong, or that you need to restrict your diet in the coming days, just realize it’s going to be fine. One or two indulgent meals won’t make or break your journey if you’re truly in it for the long run.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS
You have all the permission you’ll ever need to track or not track your meals during the upcoming holidays. It can be very helpful to see where you’re having these nutritional gaps in your diet and try to fill them, so you avoid cravings and crashes.
If you’re having trouble establishing a healthy relationship with food, either add more tracking to your diet or start tracking it less if you feel like you’re obsessing over it. Ask yourself why you’re participating in specific behaviors, and whether or not they are actually serving your journey, even during the holidays.