The holidays can be an absolutely terrifying time for dieters. It can cause a lot of anxiety and obsessive thoughts around food and take away from what the holidays are really about. I will include some tips at the bottom of this blog, however, read through this and really think about whether those tips are something you even need to follow this holiday season.
First of all, I want you to take a step back and think about what the holidays mean to you. Think about why they are important, who you get to spend time with, and the traditions you get to relive every year.
Now I want you to think about how following a diet, obsessing over food, or potential binge eating around the holidays is going to affect you. I remember when I was trying to keep myself on a strict diet, all a social outing was to me, was an opportunity to eat something not on my “plan.” I finally had an excuse to break my diet and excessively get as many desserts in as I could before I felt so full I couldn’t move. I wasn’t thinking about spending time with my family. I wasn’t thinking about creating memories. I was thinking about food, and how much I could eat before restricting myself again.
As a future dietitian, I will NEVER promote “no days off” or being 100% disciplined. I lived that life, and it just wasn’t worth it to me. So instead of focusing so much on what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat, how much you’re going to eat, and how you’re going to prevent weight gain.. maybe give yourself a break. Maybe step away from diet culture and remember that it’s okay to be normal, eat normal, and be okay. Maybe accept the fact that yes, you are probably going to eat some not-so-healthy foods. Yes, maybe you’ll gain a couple pounds of water weight from eating extra carbohydrates. Maybe you won’t feel so hot for a couple days after the holiday is over. However, maybe you will laugh a little more with your family members. Maybe you’ll spend some quality time baking with your mom, or your sisters. Maybe you’ll create new traditions and be able to be present in the moment. Odds are, your body is going to bounce right back after a few days of being back to normal once the holidays are over. Health is deeper than what’s on your plate and on the scale. Health is your entire lifestyle. If you are constantly obsessing over food, and getting anxious every time you are handed a plate instead of prepped food from a tupperware container… you probably aren’t actually living a healthy life.
If you still want some tips for eating around the holidays, keep reading.
- Eat normally throughout the day. Do not try to starve yourself to “save calories” for dinner. You’ll probably end up eating more that way than if you just ate as you always would.
- Have your first portion consist mainly of salad/vegetables/fruit. By the time you go up for the main dish and sides, you will not be as hungry as you were before that first plate.
- Instead of hanging out around the chip and candy bowls, go hold conversation in another room with a family member you haven’t gotten to catch up with in a while!
- Drink plenty of water and chew some gum if you just have the urge to eat because there is food in front of you. Mint gum usually stops my cravings for a little bit and allows me to stop letting my focus be on food. I end up forgetting I was even craving anything in the first place.
- Have your first plate, then wait a half hour to decide if you want a second one. If your family is anything like mine, there is plenty of food left over, and it’ll be there to heat back up if you’re hungry later.
- Try a tiny bit of each dessert. Decide which one is absolutely worth a full serving of! There have been so many times that I’ve grabbed a dessert just because it was there and realized it wasn’t even worth the calories.
- Be present, and let yourself relax. This will maybe be 1 week at most of poor food choices. When the holidays are over, you go back to eating the way you normally do, and your body will most likely bounce right back!
Happy Holidays! Comment below if this blog helped!