Three Simple Ways To Navigate The Holidays and Prevent Overeating:
Treat the Holiday as one day: Yes, it’s called a “Season” for a reason, but unless you’re a bear preparing for hibernation, or a squirrel gathering enough food for the winter, chances are there will likely be food in abundance (or in many cases, overabundance)! Clients who come to me for 1:1 Coaching or who invest in my DIY programs, are taught how to navigate Holiday meals and the stress often associated with “Holiday overwhelm” by making decisions based on desired outcomes or goals. Sometimes the goal isn’t to eat less, it’s to eat better. Mentally planning how the ideal day would play out, often provides a plan or framework for how it can turn out.
Continue to maintain healthy eating habits: If you’ve been working hard this year to lose weight or improve your eating habits, but you’re doing so in a way that is restrictive or completely different than anything you’ve ever done before, chances are you’re on a diet. We’ve all heard that “diets” aren’t healthy for us and blah-blah-blah, but what does that even mean? I once tried the South Beach Diet. The food looked healthy enough and I did lose weight, so how could that be bad or unhealthy? For starters, I only lasted about six weeks (after which my weight went right back up). It was a hassle trying to stick to the food menus outlined for me! Secondly, I started getting resentful. Not only was I always worried about what I was “allowed” to have, I obsessed about all the things I wasn’t allowed to have. In order for healthy eating to be permanent, it has to be an extension of how you normally eat–foods that you enjoy preparing and eating. If it’s something you “have” to eat, it won’t be long until you’ll use any excuse for eating something different...”It’s the Holidays”
Take time to enjoy your food: So much energy during the Holidays is spent in angst. Not only are we dealing with the “normal” things we as Moms have to balance: Careers, fourth quarter deadlines, household chores, our children’s schedules, but there are all the “extras”: “Company Christmas parties, school functions, decorating the house, entertaining guests/relatives. It’s easy to take that “energy” we feel (whether positive or negative) and turn it in on ourselves: “I’m so stressed out right now, what’s one more piece of pie?!”“This is a fabulous party and I’m feeling so good, what’s one more piece of pie?!” In both these scenarios, “pie” plays similar roles. It isn’t satisfying your hunger, which is a physical need, it’s a response to a stressor. Stress eating shifts eating, as a way of nourishing our bodies, to eating as a way of dealing with our emotions. How can you break the cycle? Taking time to enjoy your food (the way it looks, the way it smells and the way it tastes) apart from how you are feeling, is one step. Noticing when you are feeling stressed and naming why, is another way you can break the cycle. Journaling about your feelings or setting aside some time (when you’re not stressed) to come up with alternate ways of dealing with your emotions in those circumstances, can also be of benefit.