Does thinking about food during the holidays cause you a lot of stress? Are you thinking about the weight you may gain during the holidays? Do you just want to make it to the new year?
The holidays truly are the most wonderful time of the year, and we should not have these thoughts on our mind. These thoughts should not get in the way of enjoying our time with family and friends.
The holidays and the stress my clients are feeling around them have been coming up the last few weeks during sessions. The fact that we are worried about the holidays so far out is not okay. Maybe we are worried about judgement around foods we are eating. Maybe we are worried about hearing family or friends talking about the fad diets they are following. Maybe eating around others is causing us a lot of stress.
Here are some tips I have been giving my clients who are struggling with all these thoughts leading into the holidays:
Don’t go into a holiday party starving!
You may feel that because you are going to a party later in the day that you should restrict your meals earlier in the day. You may be worried about how the calories will add up if you eat your meals earlier in the day and then go to the party. You then decide you are not eating anything until the party. This is a terrible idea! You know what will happen? You will eat everything in sight because you were restricting yourself. You also will eat past fullness. Resulting in you feeling uncomfortably full. You will then feel guilt for what you ate, but you were giving your body the food that it was missing earlier in the day.
Don’t place foods as off limits.
Let’s be honest, when we tell ourselves we can’t have it, we want it even more! If I tell myself I am not going to eat any cookies, if there is a plate of cookies in front of me, I am more likely to eat all the cookies instead of just having one or two. We shouldn’t be placing any food as off limits. We should be listening to our body and eating intuitively. Our body truly will tell us what we need.
Don’t exercise off the extra calories or to burn calories before the meal.
If you want to run the Turkey Trot, that’s fine but don’t be doing it to burn calories before your Thanksgiving dinner. We should be running it because it’s fun. When we get into the mindset of, we can only eat if we exercise, we add guilt we do not need. We shouldn’t feel guilty for eating and shouldn’t feel the need to burn those calories!
Don’t restrict yourself the next day.
So you feel guilty for what you ate on the holiday. You really shouldn’t feel guilty about what you ate. Did you enjoy the food? Yes. Did you enjoy eating with the people you love? Yes. Then why do you feel guilty? Restricting ourselves the next day will cause nothing but harm. It puts us in a bad cycle of restricting and then eventually binging on food. Our body needs to have three meals the next day. Also, who doesn’t love having holiday leftovers the next day?
Enjoy the holidays and the food that are involved with them because eating truly should be an enjoyable experience!