From now until the New Year, everywhere you look will be filled with seasonal parties and festive fun. We want you to enjoy the holidays as much as possible! So we’ve put together three simple tips for staying on track this holiday season (including what to do when you feel discouraged).

For our readers with children, click here to see our post on how to celebrate Halloween the AH way. We’d also love for you to check out Halloween Holly, a lovely children’s book that creates a fun solution to Halloween’s typical sugar overload.

Tip #1: No Judgment. Just Learning.

This is one of our favorite mantras. The Always Hungry lifestyle is all about self-forgiveness, positivity, and understanding that setbacks are all part of the journey. This holiday season, when you find yourself off track or discouraged, please keep this phrase in mind. Instead of beating yourself up for a sugary holiday meal, try to use the situation to learn. Focus on your body. Use the setback as a way to remind yourself that sugary meals always leave you feeling drained and over-full. It’s simply a learning opportunity! You don’t want to go back to feeling that way after every meal. And you don’t have to! We’re here to help you get back on track at the next meal. And as always, remember AH Rule #1: Be gentle on yourself and others.

Tip #2: Create A Few Pre-Holiday If-Then Statements

When you’re working to change your life for the better, we have found If-Then statements are the most powerful tool. Before the holiday season gets underway, try to write down at least one If-Then Statement that you can tape to your fridge or bathroom mirror for constant encouragement. We’ve thought some up for you here, but feel free to create your own as well.

            If I get off track, I won’t do it two meals in a row.

We heard this If-Then Statement from a reader and it really stuck with us. How powerful to tell yourself that returning to a healthy lifestyle is only one meal away! It’s an excellent way to train your brain away from the all-or-nothing thinking that can lead to downward spirals.

            If I get off track, I’ll remind myself that success is only one bite away.

Next moment, new moment. Maybe you’ve picked up a slice of store bought, processed pie at a family dinner. Nothing is stopping you from putting your plate down and choosing berries and cream, a small piece of dark chocolate, or any one of the delicious dessert recipes in our book!

            If I get off track, I’ll still leave guilt, shame, and blame at the door.

Be gentle on yourself and others. We all need to train our brains to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes or poor choices. We are all human! There’s no need to add any extra stress into your life by beating yourself up. One of the goals of the Always Hungry lifestyle is moving away from self-deprecation so you can get to a mentality of forgiveness.

Tip #3: Prepare For Special Occasions Ahead of Time

In any potentially stressful situation, it’s best to do a little planning before the big day. Maybe you know that keeping candy in the house will be too much temptation, so this year you’ll decide to pass out small toys or other non-candy items to trick-or-treaters. You might also decide to bring food to share at holiday parties. That way, everyone can enjoy all the delicious, healthy foods you’ve been enjoying with AH. (Bringing a festive punch or mocktail is an easy way to do this. Try our Blueberry Lime Mint Freeze recipe at your next holiday gathering).

If you are unable to bring your own food, you always have the ability to make the best food choices from the options given. And no matter what you eat, enjoy every bite! Eat without guilt, knowing that you will get back on track at the next meal.

Success is a Crooked Path

Keep your goal in mind and know that you are headed in the right direction. You are always able to make minor adjustments along the way. Like an airline pilot, we are always altering our course by increments. When we get off course, we can either choose to give up or get back on track.

When a pilot’s instruments warn that they’ve gotten off course, they don’t simply give up and allow the plane to hurtle away from their destination. They course correct. Adjust. There’s no reason to end up in the wrong place because of a few mistakes. Walk your journey to health like an airline pilot, always remembering that success is a crooked path.

From our family to yours, we’re wishing all our readers a safe and happy holiday season!