Unless you’ve got a will of steel, if you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve got a bumpy road ahead of you.
Your dad’s buttery rolls.
The famous sweet potato casserole that’s graced your Thanksgiving table for decades (and just might be partially responsible for Uncle Bob’s heart disease).
Your mom’s impressive array of holiday cookies.
For Pete’s sake, the pecan pie.
Whatever your holiday food nemesis is, chances are that it’s delicious, decadent (umm, you can’t skimp on the real cream, butter, and sugar during the holidays!), and so tied to your growing-up years that you can actually taste your childhood with one bite.
And with all of the parties, potlucks, and other gatherings that sneak into your social calendar during these weeks of winter holidays, there are so many opportunities for eating unhealthful foods (and a lot of them) besides the actual holiday. And what’s a holiday celebration without holiday drinks? Adding those into the mix is like adding fuel to a feeding frenzy fire.
So what’s a diet-conscious guy or gal to do during these weeks of holiday parties and potlucks? What’s the best way to manage holiday binging and overeating?
- Concentrate on the meaning of the holiday, apart from the mounds of food. If the holidays in your life have lost their significance, think about how you and your family or friends can bring back authentic meaning to your holidays. This might mean incorporating new traditions into the mix, which might feel strange at first, but with a few trial and errors, you’ll likely find a new best-loved ritual or two.
- Take the “bad” out of foods. If you’ve outlawed certain foods from your life, you might be effectively setting yourself up for overeating. The mentality of completely banning, say, mashed potatoes and bread from your diet could have you either overeating other foods to compensate, or overdoing it on the tabooed foods because, after all, it is a holiday.
- It’s not all black and white. Eating well doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing, feast or famine, endeavor. Finding the gray area of allowing yourself the occasional splurge, while still eating healthfully most of the time, leads to a healthy mindframe, minimal guilt, and a lot of holiday eating freedom.
- Deal with the baggage. If you’ve got some unresolved family or emotional issues, don’t let the issue “win” by causing you to overeat or act in otherwise unhealthy ways. Try to create a strategy ahead of time to deal with stress in a healthy way. Best case scenario: seek out a little pre-holiday counseling to knock your issues off their pedestal. Getting mentally healthy is a win for everyone.
The arrival of the holidays doesn’t have to mean an inevitable time of overeating and binging. With some careful planning and thought, you can sail through these months of parties and food, free of guilt, binging, or shame. After all, if you’re strong enough to make it through our classes, you’re strong enough to fight holiday overeating!