The holiday season is almost here when we’ll meet with people we don’t have enough time to meet and we’ll eat things we usually don’t eat. BUT remember – holidays are never about food. We associate it with food. But imagine this – it’s Christmas Eve, you’re sitting alone, in front of the TV and you’re eating a cake. A delicious one, if I might add. Does it feel like Christmas?
Now, think about spending your time with your loved ones – everyone’s laughing, telling stories, maybe some kids are running around and the dog is playing with them. And you might be holding just a cup of cocoa… And this is more likely to feel like Christmas, right?
So, it’s really not about food and what you eat – it’s about the feeling of the holidays…
Well, you’ve worked hard and now feel like you might deserve that piece of a gingerbread house or maybe you want to add that whipped cream in your hot chocolate because you’ve been on point with your diet and your exercise regimen past few months or longer. And it’s terrific to reward yourself with something when you’ve done an excellent job, but does it have to be food? Again – are holidays really about that?
So, how do you not overeat?
Establish your relationship with food
If you know that you think of Christmas (or any other celebration) and you can think of one particular food you need to have to feel like its celebration – you must have a good memory about this food. Somebody made it for you with love? Maybe it was your comfort food when you were growing up? Its good to have those memories. I have them too. But I know that they are memories and I am craving that feeling, instead of the actual food. Be aware of your choices.
Do you think holidays are time to sleep in and stay up late? Nope. Don’t forget – even though you don’t have to be at work by 9AM, it doesn’t mean your body knows that. It has its own circadian rhythm. Try to stay as close to your usual schedule, as possible. Wake up around the usual time. Go to be when you usually go to bed. If you workout – then go and workout. You can make a shorter session, you can do a workout at home, instead of going to the gym, you can just take a long walk, but MOVE. The more you move, the more energy you use, therefore, you can eat a little more, without worrying about weight gain.
Don’t make food so accessible
Don’t place everything on the table – set the table the way it looks great and you just don’t want to ruin it with extra food dishes on it. Food can be placed somewhere nearby, on a separate table, and you have to get up and go to get it. That’ll give you some time to check yourself – if you’re really hungry or you’re eating out of habit.
Start with “good” foods
Start with your greens, your veggies and your meats. Those are the basic things you can eat as much as you want and I doubt you’ll get too many extra calories from that. If you finish with those, but you absolutely need to have something sweet – eat a fruit. If after that you feel like you’ll die without a dessert – take the smallest possible portion. A lot of people will be full already from the meats and veggies, which will help them to avoid extra sugar and calories from desserts, but if you can’t refuse, then, at least, you’ll have a lot less space for it.
This one works for people who are used to fasting. If you’ve never done it, I doubt that holidays would be the best time to try it… Leave it as a goal for the next year. But those who are used to fasting – morning and day of the big party is a good time to fast. First of all – you won’t consume any calories before the big night and once you break your fast, you don’t go crazy on your first meal, which means, you will have to choose smaller portions and that’ll help you not to overeat.
The problem with eating during the holidays is really not that one evening of food. It’s what comes afterwards. We eat leftover cakes or muffins, we sleep in and we don’t get back on track with our exercising for a week… And that is where the problem lies. So try to stick to your routine, be aware of your actions and don’t let the holidays drag out too much.