Put Yourself on the Nice List

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Here at the IFIC Foundation, we like to bust myths and give it to you straight.

Well, I’m here today to tell you something that might be shocking to some of our younger viewers…Santa Claus isn’t real.

Yes Virginia, there is no jolly man in a red suit who decides what kind of presents you get based on your behavior throughout the year. No lumps of coal. 

Instead, it’s up to you to put yourself on the nice list. And this time of year, it’s especially important to be nice to yourself when it comes to the food you eat.

With holiday parties and delicious dinners on the horizon, anxiety about food consumption and weight gain is rampant. With so many outside forces weighing in this time of year, what can YOU do to have a better relationship with food?

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

We have all been there, staring down into an empty bag of chips or an empty plate of cookies and thought, “What have I done?!?!” We all have over-indulged or eaten a food we consider “bad” at some point. But wait a second, is it a “bad” habit to eat delicious foods or a “bad” habit to label foods as off-limits? Focus on what you can eat instead. Believe it or not, you can eat most foods when you balance the number of calories you eat daily with the right amount of physical activity. Allowing yourself to eat the foods you want is especially important during the holidays. Food is tied to family gatherings and being around loved ones. This year, let yourself enjoy all the delicious tastes of the season but know when to put the fork down. Mindful eating can be a great way to help you do this. By practicing mindful eating, you can help yourself tap into your internal hunger cues and learn to savor and enjoy foods. Use the mindful eat-mojis to help check in with yourself before, during and after a meal. This will help you keep your holiday treats in check.

2. Be in touch with your eating habits.

My food spirit animal is the hangry hedgehog. I am grumpy when I’m hungry. And sometimes, this causes me to eat too much too fast. By being aware of when I’m more likely to flounder from my healthful habits, I’m able to stop myself before I start (most of the time). When you are stressed, tired or REALLY hungry, you may be more likely to overeat. Getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly and keeping a reliable eating pattern can help you avoid overdoing it.

3. Know how to set achievable goals

When you make lofty diet and nutrition goals such as, “I am not going to eat any chocolate for a year,” you are setting yourself up to feel defeated. Most of us need practical, achievable steps to achieve a healthful lifestyle. Start by setting “SMART” goals. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

  • Specific: Is your goal clear?
  • Measurable: How will you know when the change has been accomplished?
  • Achievable: Can it be done?
  • Realistic: Is it possible to reach this goal?
  • Timely: Is there a deadline?

While support from friends and family can be a huge asset to sticking to health and wellness goals, ultimately, YOU can be your biggest cheerleader. And that all starts with putting yourself on the “Nice List” and recognizing that despite setbacks, you are doing a great job at eating healthfully!