A recent article points out what I think is the single most important tip for avoiding holiday eating disappointment and weight gain. Bonus: It is just as important any month of the year.
Enjoy a small portion of a favorite food regularly – possibly even every day.
Viewing treat food as “bad” or off limits creates a mental/emotional struggle. We all know where that leads, right? Do you know why? Think about the feeling of trying to avoid eating something. It can be exhausting. The process usually goes something like this . . . “I will not eat that ___ (Insert you favorite uncontrollable treat.). I will NOT eat that ___. I WILL NOT eat that ___. I WILL NOT EAT THAT &*$% ___!!!!. Oh, what the hell, I am going to eat ALL of that ___!!
Having said that, please remember this is all about kindness and choice. For goodness sake, do not deliberately set yourself up to fail. If you feel you have no control over a certain food at this time, eating it and losing control is far from pleasurable, right? The goal is genuine pleasure, which implies a feeling of choice in the process, so instead, try starting with something that feels less scary to manage. Instead of saying “I can’t be trusted with that food,” try replacing the message with “It is just not kind to set myself up like that right now. I know I can have it, but I choose not to at this time. I will choose something tasty that doesn’t elicit so much anxiety at this time.” This is so individual, but remember that the goal is choice and kindness, not impulse and regret.
Remember, we all carry certain habits of thinking and acting that will take some time to change. Changing the thought needs to come first. For example, until the idea of eating a single small brownie seems like a simple choice that does not carry with it moral, judgmental labels like “bad” or “undisciplined,” you are likely to continue overeating brownies.
Will you never overeat again if you cultivate more choice and self-compassion? Of course I cannot promise that, but I can tell you that you will be on the path to what I would call “normal, healthy eating.” I have never seen anyone eat the best they can overall when they eliminate foods completely. What I see is increasing food obsession, yo-yo food intake and weight, and lack of self confidence with food choices overall.
Just some food for thought! Happy Holidays.