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Are You Ready for the Eating Season?

By Katie Jay, MSW; Certified Bariatric Life and Wellness Coach

While I love fall, I must admit I always wonder how successful I’ll be maintaining my typical moderate-eating practice. Over the years, I’ve settled on a plant-forward way of eating. (Like that? I just made it up!) This way of eating has become so enjoyable I look forward to nearly every meal and don’t feel guilt or shame when I eat. I also tend not to overeat as much. 

For those of you who wonder what “plant-forward” means, I have spent time and effort to discover what I like and how to cook when it comes to vegetables. Instead of a lot of starch, I have just a taste, and then I eat two colorful veggies with my dinner. I have discovered I love arugula of all things. 

If I sneak into the kitchen to eat at bedtime, I go for the roasted veggies I have made for that purpose. And of course, you may already have heard me talk about my Vegetable Hour. At 4:00PM most days I chop vegetables, so they are ready when I need them.

But I have to say, in the past, the fall has kicked off an “Eating Season” for me that has not been plant-forward, lol. I would start with the Halloween candy and finish with the New Year’s Eve hors d'oeuvres. Then January would set in and I would feel regret and disappointment. 

This year I have made a plan that is balanced, intuitive, and flexible. I will report back. If you’re worried about the eating season, consider trying some of these suggestions:

  • Experiment with vegetables and expect to be surprised. And feel free to share with me your ideas and discoveries so I can pass them along!

  • Institute your own vegetable-cutting hour. 

  • If you can find an accountability buddy, trying getting on the phone, or on Zoom, and keep each other company while you cook.

  • See if there is someone close to you who will take turns cooking and sharing meals. 

  • Another possibility is to keep it simple. Personally, I love a piece of baked chicken (skin on, to improve satiation), frozen veggies, and a little arugula salad (I know, crazy!). When I say salad, I really mean a handful of arugula with a teaspoon of dressing if that’s all I can manage.

  • Consider buying or cooking healthier versions if you are going to eat treats. I made avocado mousse one year, and even though I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It checked off the box.

  • Cook one big meal and freeze it in portions.

  • Pay a teenager to cook for you and have them drop off your meals in Ziplock bags you can freeze.

  • If you are alone, share a meal with a friend on Zoom. I know, it’s not the same. It is awkward. You don’t get hello and goodbye hugs. But consider it. And if you find Zoom intimidating, I’m happy to walk you through it. I’m not an expert, but I know enough to be dangerous :).

  • Try everything you can think of, and ask others what you could try! 

The simple act of experimenting with solutions to your challenges will bring about change. We grow when we attempt new things. We get in the habit of experimenting to find what works, rather than staying stuck in old patterns.

You have the power to choose what you focus on. So focus on creating an enjoyable, well-planned Eating Season. And remember to be kind to yourself, and to “have your own back.” You deserve that.

From Small Bites, the email newsletter by Katie Jay, MSW; Certified Wellness Coach. Subscribe to Katie’s newsletter at © 2021, Katie Jay.  All rights reserved. 

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