Q: Will indulging during Hanukkah completely ruin my diet?
A: People always ask me “how bad is it to eat chocolate every day?” I also hear things like, “I know it’s bad, but I have to have a cookie with my tea in the afternoon.”
First, let me just say that it’s actually kind of sad to combine the words “bad” and chocolate or cookies, which are two of the most wonderful things ever created (although, I do believe there are “bad” foods but that’s a topic for another blog.)
I think what is being asked is actually this: will it undo all of my hard weight loss efforts or healthy weight-maintaining work if I have something decadent every day?
I’m opening up this topic once again because the client who just left my office has lost 40 pounds this year and is worried that celebrating 8 nights of Hanukkah will set her wayyyyy back.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you that I answered, YES to her question, “Can I truly celebrate all 8 nights without ruining all of my hard work?”
I have tons of experience navigating holidays and celebrations with clients successfully. YOU can do it, too. Here’s how.
First, eat as clean and simply as possible during the day. You should have one or two go-to healthy breakfasts, healthy lunches and healthy snacks that you enjoy that you can bounce between. For example:
Breakfast #1: 6 oz Greek yogurt, 10 almonds, 1 cup blueberries
Breakfast #2: 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 cup spinach, 1 sliced tomato
Lunch #1: 2 cups kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, 5 oz grilled chicken, ⅓ avocado
Lunch #2: 12 oz turkey and vegetable chili, celery and carrot sticks, 1 tablespoon sour cream
Snack #1: Green apple and 2 teaspoons nut butter
Snack #2: crudités and 2 tablespoons hummus
Make dinner a party of lean proteins, such as beef, chicken, beans, fish, or lentils over a piled high plate of salad greens and veggies prepared with little added fat. Here’s where the “little bit of something bad” comes in.
Make a promise that you will NO LONGER call your indulgence “bad” but will now call it what it is, a “conscious indulgence” and make that indulgence part of your celebration.
So, go ahead and add a planned treat to your meal: maybe a slice of challah. Have a perfectly fried latke. Eat a little bag of Hanukkah gelt (90 calories, 5 grams of fat).
There is definitely room in this clean and beautiful day of eating for this planned indulgence. Since you get 8 nights, you don’t need the latke, challah and gelt all at once. You can spread it out with a treat a night.
Just like you did with your Halloween candy, you decide if it is “better” to indulge in one day, like we do on Christmas, or stretch out the pleasure of the food over 8 nights, Hanukkah style.
Whatever you choose, make a plan to stick to your healthy diet and plan your conscious indulging mindfully. Happy holidays!