It’s everywhere during the holidays.
Enticing sweets and treats are brought into the office, shipped to your home, spread before you at parties, and are even ringing the produce aisle in the grocery store. Maybe you’re baking them to give away, or to create that “magic” time of year for your kids.
It’s just once a year. What could be the harm in giving in?
The problem is, it’s not just once a year.
The majority of people begin overindulging around Halloween. Two full months of extra sugar, processed carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats takes its toll on your immune system, energy level, and waist line.
And most adults don’t lose the weight they gain over the holidays.
Even if you gain just 2 pounds a year, over time you will become significantly overweight.
It happens so slowly, you don’t even realize what’s happening. It feels like you wake up one day and you’re overweight.
“But,” you may wail, “I don’t want to give up my holiday treats and feel deprived!”
Who said you had to?
It’s not all or nothing people! There is an in-between.
You are able to make good decisions about what, when, and how much you are eating.
Not every sweet or treat is calorie worthy. Truly, some of the most beautiful desserts taste like cardboard.
But you may eat the whole beautiful piece of cake because you really want the taste you think it should have!
Be deliberate in deciding where it is worth indulging, and where you’re better off to stick with the fruit and vegetable tray.
Here are some strategies for enjoying the season without feeling deprived:
- Plan ahead. If you have a party this weekend that you want to enjoy, skip the treats that got brought to the office, and freeze the cookies from Aunt Mary to eat later. Choose ahead of time the once or twice a week where you are going to really savor a small indulgence. (Bonus! Does food taste better when you’re a little hungry or sated? When you save up for a treat, the taste and satisfaction dramatically increase.)
- Be choosy. Once you’re at the party you’ve been saving up for, be selective about what you put on your plate. Is it really worth it? If not, skip it! Why spend your calorie dollars on pigs in a blanket if it’s the cheese cake that you adore? Just stick with the cake and really enjoy it.
- Focus on portion size. Cindy Crawford gave the best advice on this I ever heard. She said, “You can eat whatever you want, just not in the amount you may want.” So you have decided the cheese cake is where your heart is. Now really taste and focus on the experience of eating a few bites. Most people mindlessly eat and never really enjoy the flavor they were after. So they keep going back. Your tongue actually goes a little numb after the first few bites, and you can’t get the flavor you are after anyway. So really focus on those first few bites to get the full flavor satisfaction, and then stop.
The caveat here is that if you know that sugar will trigger cravings that have sent your eating spiraling out of control in the past, then you will need to do some serious thinking about whether to indulge in a sweet, or not. For now, it may be best to “Just Say No” to sugar. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat those sweets ever again. Just not right now.
Instead, pick something else that you love and really enjoy that.
And if you do overindulge, the best thing to do is forgive yourself and figure out what you need to do to get back on track. It may be that you need to reach out for support from a friend, coach, or accountability group. Just remember all the reasons you do want to feel great on January 2nd.
You are able to make good decisions about what, when, and how much you are eating. Now, decide to follow through with those decisions.
Together we can do it!