You're trying to manage your weight or maybe even lose weight, and then Christmas shows up, and with it celebrations with all manner of rich, fatty, salty, sugary and starchy food. Should you forgo mom's amazing sugar cookies in favor of a flour-free, sugar-free version? Or should you just skip the festivities altogether to stay away from temptation?
When we put up walls between ourselves and our families & friends out of fear of eating calorie dense foods, we lose.
Food isn't just food at holiday gatherings: It's a way that we come together. It's celebration, nostalgia, shared joy. Deprivation can actually be counteractive, especially for those of us who are sensitive to emotional or stress eating. We may abstain from those rich foods, but we can't stop thinking about them. Those foods worm their way into our brains, even causing anxiety and racing thoughts for some. It can take all of the joy out of the gathering, and for many, this type of deprivation can lead to a binge later.
Rather than engaging in a round of deprivation this season, I encourage my clients to enjoy the treats that are really special: If you adore your aunt's sweet potatoes with marshmallows, your mom's peanut brittle, or your neighbor's gingerbread men, enjoy them! And I don't mean to enjoy the light version--enjoy the real deal.
But how do you indulge while keeping your health and wellness goals on track?
- Eat a reasonable portion--one cookie instead of three, or a half cup serving of those potatoes instead of a blob the size of your torso--and savor it, chewing well and pausing between bites.
- Be a snob and pick only those foods that really speak to you. Go for the special homemade treats and bypass the store-bought, sub-par stuff.
- Fill the rest of your diet with healthful foods that fill and nourish you: Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.
And let's not forget: Spend time at holiday gatherings focused on conversation with friends and family--after all, that's really why your there!
Need some support eating healthfully and maintaining your sanity this holiday season or any time? Let's talk...