Ask Keri: Will indulging during Hanukkah completely ruin my diet?

Keri Says: 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.”

I think what’s actually being asked is: will indulging in some of my favorite things undo all my weight loss or healthy weight maintenance efforts? What if I have something decadent every day?

I’m opening up this topic once again because a client I worked with recently has lost 40 pounds this year and is worried that celebrating 8 nights of Hanukkah will set her way back.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you that when she asked, “Can I truly celebrate all 8 nights without ruining all of my hard work?” my answer was a resounding YES!

I have tons of experience navigating holidays and celebrations with clients successfully. YOU can do it, too. Here’s how.

Step 1: 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 and can bounce between. For example:

Breakfast #1: 6 oz Greek yogurt, 10 almonds, 1 cup blueberries
Breakfast #2: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 cup spinach, 1 sliced tomato

Lunch #1: 5 oz grilled chicken, 2 cups kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, 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

Step 2: 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. 

Step 3: Make a promise to yourself (and with us as your witnesses) 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, with not a speck of guilt or judgment in sight.

RELATED: Why You Should Eat Pumpkin Pie and Enjoy Every Calorie

So, go ahead and add a planned treat to your meal—maybe a slice of challah, a perfectly fried latke, or a little bag of Hanukkah gelt (90 calories, 5 grams of fat).

There is definitely room in your clean and beautiful day of eating for a planned indulgence. Since you get 8 nights, you don’t need the latke, challah, and gelt all at once. You can spread them out with one treat each night.

Just like you did with your Halloween candy, you decide if it’s “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 way of eating and plan your conscious indulging mindfully. Happy holidays!

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