6 Tips for NOT Gaining Weight This Holiday
Most people gain at least couple of pounds over the holidays. This is not inevitable, however! You can enjoy holiday treats without overeating and gaining weight.
Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid gaining weight than have to lose it? Or gain it and not lose it, as is the case for many people? So how do you overcome the challenges presented from holiday parties, special dinners, Christmas cookies, family members who trigger your urge to eat or cajole you into eating things you don’t want, the wide array of emotions we experience (both good and bad), and the other stressors of the holidays, and NOT gain weight?
Here are some tips for enjoying the holidays, including all of those wonderful foods you love.
1. Give yourself permission to eat the foods you love IF you are hungry. Don’t completely deprive yourself. That will just make those foods even more alluring. Take back your power and allow yourself to eat the foods you love as long as you eat when you are hungry and while doing nothing else. In other words, sit down and really savor every bite of deliciousness. Really taste the food. Pay attention, and stop when your body has had enough (meaning before your stomach feels distended by too much food) or when it just doesn’t taste amazing anymore. By really tasting your favorite foods, you’ll find them more satisfying, and you’ll crave less.
2. Don’t eat anything you don’t want to. Aunt Hattie made her special meatloaf, but you don’t really like meatloaf. Don’t eat it. It is okay not to like other people’s special foods! If you’ve put some food on your plate and it doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t eat it. Those hungry children you’ve heard about aren’t going to get to eat that food anyway. Most importantly, when your body has had enough food, stop eating. Quit the clean plate club. If you’ve had enough food to fuel your body, don’t use your body as a trash can. Throw the food away. Over time, you will learn how much food your body really needs and you’ll take less and waste less.
3. Think ahead about what you want to eat and how you want to feel. Recall that wonderful feeling of lightness when you don’t overeat and compare it to that awful stuffed feeling when you do. How would you rather feel? If you recall those feelings now, your brain registers them and it will be easier for you to stop eating when your body has had enough.
Also, think about situations when you tend to overeat. If you are usually triggered at your mother’s house when she notices that you’ve “gained a few pounds,” and raid the pantry, plan ahead to stay out of the pantry. If your aunt is checking out what’s on your plate, remember that what you eat is none of her business. Do what is best for you and your health. It’s okay to say, “those mashed potatoes look delicious, but I’m not hungry right now.”
4. Savor every delicious bite. As I mentioned in #1 above, the key to feeling satisfied is really tasting your food. If you wolf it down or eat while checking your email, reading the newspaper, watching TV, etc., you won’t enjoy the food as much, and you will likely lose track of how much you’ve eaten. Your brain won’t really register it as eaten. On the other hand, if you eat slowly and really taste your food, you will feel satisfied with less.
5. If you overeat, don’t throw in the towel. Okay, you were so wrapped up in your conversation at dinner that you ate too much. That’s okay. Just stop eating and don’t eat again until you are hungry. It is that simple. Get rid of the rationalization, “I’ve screwed up, so what the heck!” Notice what you did and think about how you can avoid it happening the next time you eat.
6. Avoid eating food “because it is there” or because you only have it once a year. Chances are that you have a wide variety of foods available to you on a regular basis. Chances are that this is not the last opportunity you’ll ever have to eat buche de noel. There is nothing preventing you from eating pumpkin pie in March if that is what you really want, or putting some of those fabulous cookies in the freezer and eating them at a later date. Think of food from a place of abundance, not scarcity.
Don’t forget that while food is a great source of enjoyment, there are many other sources of joy, too!
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