With a little less than 2 weeks left before Christmas, the office parties, cookies, candy canes, and holiday coffee drinks are bound to be exploding everywhere. If you’ve kept your hydration on track for a second week, and rose to the challenge of 3 fruits and veggies last week, you should be feeling pretty good and maybe even finding some extra willpower to resist those sugary temptations. So, keeping with the theme, this week you will continue with your hydration (which is probably becoming easier and easier to do!), maintain your new-found fruit and veggie intake, and… limit your sweet tooth to ONE indulgence a day.

That’s right, folks. Amidst the sea of holiday temptations, your challenge this week is to ignore them all, with just ONE exception per day. The one treat you choose will be just that – chosen, not a “slip” or a “lapse” or a “mistake”. It will be purposefully and purposely selected for your to enjoy on that particular day. When we indulge, it should not be out of convenience (the candy bowl was just sitting there!), or boredom (I wasn’t hungry, but I thought it would be nice to eat something while watching tv), or emotional comfort (it was a hard day, I deserve chocolate!), it should be a conscience choice and shouldn’t be when you’re already stuffed. If you’re full, you don’t need more. This one daily indulgence is a chance for you to check in with yourself. As you reach for that candy bowl absentmindedly, pause and ask yourself if THIS is what you want to indulge in today. If it is, if this is what will satisfy you for your daily sweet treat, if this is what you will look back and smile on, glad you indulged, go for it! If not, however, resist. Think about what you’d rather “spend” your one indulgence on. And when you do, ENJOY IT! Don’t feel guilty. Don’t hesitate. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just enjoy and take satisfaction in the treat.

Now, it should be said that if you’re not struggling resisting sweet treats (good for you, tell me your ways!), or you already eat less than one sweet treat a day, then don’t feel a need to increase your sweet treats for this challenge. In that case, your challenge is to reduce your sweet intake by half (so if you have sweets just 2 days a week, aim for only 1), or if you only indulge on the weekends, but consume tons of sweets those two days, limit yourself to just 2 sweet treats. And, if you’re not a sweets person, than change everything in this post to ready “fried” or “fatty” like chips, fries, fast food burgers, etc.

So, what counts as a “sweet treat”? Anything with added sugar. Candy, cookies, baked goods of all types, cocktails, flavored lattes and mochas, brownies, cakes, fudge, caramels, mini-candy bars and king-size candy bars, rice crispy treats, marshmallows, hot chocolate, eggnog, ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles, gummies, soda, sweetened iced tea, etc. etc. If you think it would probably count, it almost certainly does.  And, when you DO indulge, one serving is all you get. Not 3 cocktails or a quarter of the cake, or 6 of the same cookie; nope, one sweet = one serving, once a day.

Ok, tips to smashing this challenge:

1) avoid mindless eating (at your desk, in front of the tv, etc); you’re more likely to accidentally indulge if you’re not paying attention

2) Keep healthy snacks readily available. Often sweets are the most convenient option and you find yourself reaching for that mini Snickers bar because you’re hungry and it’s right there. Keep nuts, hummus and pretzels, apple and peanut butter, or other easy, quick snacks around so that they’re the easiest thing to grab when hunger strikes.

3) Station yourself near the veggies, not the desserts. At the office party or your friend’s holiday bash, position yourself near the veggie tray instead of the overwhelming dessert section. If you feel like munching, healthy options are readily available, but you don’t have to worry about grabbing a cookie that you don’t really want!

4) Plan ahead. Is there a cocktail hour tonight you know you’ll want to get a cocktail at? Keep that in mind and resist that tempting peppermint mocha. The cocktail is likely to taste that much sweeter because you resisted temptation for this specific splurge.

Need more tips for resisting those holiday treats? Come on in to CoreLife and we’ll help give you the tools to succeed in not only this challenge, but your weight loss and wellness journey overall.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN