It feels like we just ended the holiday season of eating and now we are inundated with sweet treats for Valentine’s Day! If you feel like there is never an end to the sugar-filled temptations, you are not alone. Keep in mind that holidays and celebrating loved ones don’t have to revolve around food.
When we get together with family and friends, we are there to celebrate relationships and closeness, not the food on the table. As we discuss in the Primal Pathway series, social eating and emotional eating can go hand-in-hand. That does not mean we have to sabotage our nutrition goals every time we attend a party or celebrate a holiday. We can make balanced nutritional choices on a regular basis and enjoy the occasional treat/indulgence even if we are trying to lose weight.
Keys to Indulging Healthfully
The key is making sure those indulgences are occasional; meaning once a month or less, not daily or weekly.
The second piece to the puzzle is making sure indulgences are kept in check: one cookie, not six. One slice of cake, not cake, ice cream and pizza. The final piece to the puzzle is remembering why and what we are celebrating and making that the focus instead of the food.
Valentine’s Day arrives early in the New Year, right when people tend to start losing motivation for the nutrition, fitness, and weight-loss goals they established January 1. So, how can you maintain motivation through this candy-centric holiday and stay on track with your nutrition goals?
Find Ways to Celebrate Outside of Food
Try to find some ways to celebrate loved ones that do not involve food:
- Instead of going out for a romantic dinner, book a couple’s massage.
- Find a partner-yoga class (I know Spira Power Yoga in West Seattle does a partner yoga workshop around Valentine’s Day every year).
- Attend a dance class (Century Ballroom on Capitol Hill offers evening classes followed by dance “socials”).
Are you single and the thought of Valentine’s Day is “depressing”?
Plan a fun get-together or outing with friends. Go see a new movie, venture out for a day of snowshoeing at the Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie Pass Nordic Centers, get manicures and/or pedicures, try out a beginner rock-climbing class. (Seattle Bouldering Project offers classes on a regular basis). The options are endless!
Of course, for many of us, Valentine’s Day just isn’t Valentine’s Day without baking a sweet treat or indulging in decadent chocolate.
Find Waist-Friendly Recipes
The good news? You can still indulge while staying on track with your nutrition goals! The trick is finding recipes that are both satisfying and more “waist friendly” than typical Valentine’s Day treats. Try out one of the following recipes:
In the end, remember that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating those we love, and that includes ourselves! If you’ve made the decision to improve your health through better nutrition or weight-loss, remember that making healthy choices is the best way to love yourself.
Gifts with Goals in Mind
Whether it’s your own weight goal or supporting someone you love, expressing love does not have to mean buying a five-pound box of chocolate. Instead, try buying something to encourage a lifestyle change in pursuit.
- Purchase a new cookbook for your loved one and prepare a meal and special dessert from the recipes inside.
- Plan a “spa day” to help reduce stress.
- Celebrate your loved one’s health goals with a new piece of clothing (maybe in smaller size if they’ve recently lost weight) or favorite fitness gear.
- Give a simple card saying you are proud of his or her accomplishments can also mean a lot.