The holidays are almost here! I’ve begun shopping for gifts, KOST 103.5 is already playing Christmas music, and Trader Joe’s is stocking their shelves with all their holiday goodies.
What should be a time of joy and merriment is often a season of strife for people afraid of gaining weight from all the good eats at the office, on the kitchen counter and at holiday parties. Don’t worry! Holiday weight gain isn’t inevitable.
“I can’t have my favorite holiday treats! But I want them so badly! This inevitably leads to a pumpkin pie binge or at least eating more than you would have if you hadn’t set ridiculous food rules for yourself. It’s a natural law that feeling restricted or deprived leads to eating more. As I talk about in my post about being a food snob, it’s not about willpower or about deserving or not deserving. Decide what outcome you want (i.e. maintain my weight) and then it’s easier to make choices to move you towards instead of away from your main desire.
What makes these meals and dishes so special is that we only have them at this time of year and we associate them with all the joy of the season. Take your time eating that peppermint bark or your favorite stuffing. Don’t rush through it out of guilt and realize later that there wasn’t any pleasure in the moment.
The definition of an exception is something that happens out of the usual or once in a while. Once high fat and sugar foods sneak into every meal or snack, they are no longer special treats. They are becoming your new diet pattern and maybe even a habit that will be hard to break.
Spontaneity is the enemy of good diet intentions. “Oh I’ll just have one” has prefaced many an empty cookie tin. Decide in advance what you’d like to have during the holidays – your friend’s homemade panettone vs. a warehouse box of chocolate; grandma’s pecan pie vs. store-bought cookies; your favorite holiday treat vs. whatever’s lying around the office.
If you really wanted to, you could make pumpkin cheesecake, gingerbread cookies or any of these limited time offers any day of the year. You could also buy enough seasonal items to last you the whole year. The feeling of scarcity makes us do crazy things…like eat stuff we don’t actually like, or eat ridiculous amounts of things we don’t actually like.
I know this is easier said than done, but trust me! Your holidays will be hollier and jollier if you apply even one of these tips.