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Fed Up Dieter's Guide to Happy and Healthy Holidays

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, be thankful for all that you have, and reflect back on the year. Unfortunately though, in reality, the holidays come filled with stress of all varieties – especially around food and our body.

There are holiday parties and treats left out in the office, it can feel exhausting tapping into our willpower all day long with the worry in the back of our minds about gaining weight and our pants not fitting by New Year’s!

When I was in college, this time of year would freak me out. I had so many “food rules” I put on myself to prevent weight gain, that fun holiday celebrations sounded more like a temptation nightmares. I knew there would be TONS of delicious contraband just sitting there, tempting me to eat it, and eventually I’d cave and eat lots of my ‘off limits’ foods while feeling guilty the whole time and not truly enjoying them.

Now looking back I can clearly see that putting rules and restrictions on myself with food wasn’t a good strategy because it very rarely worked and took a lot of joy out of my holidays.

I want you to benefit from learning from my past mistakes, so I put together an audio recording with 15 of my favorite strategies and ideas to enjoy delicious holiday foods and get-togethers without overdoing it or stressing about food and your weight. Here are 5, but catch the recording to get all 15:


 
TIP 1: Release the Food Rules {Should/Shouldn’t, Can/Can’t}

When you’re little and your parent tells you not to do something, all you can think of is doing that thing, right?

So imagine this: You tell yourself you’re not going to have any dessert at the party. Ultimately your willpower vanishes, you cave, and eat a brownie. The guilt slowly creeps in and you might think something like: I said I wasn’t going to have any, I just blew it, I may as well just keep eating.

We still have that inner rebel inside of us like when we were kids! Guilt comes when we break a rule. When we try to pre-plan what we are and aren’t going to do with food, it sets us up to break the rules we set for ourselves, and react to breaking those rules in a negative way.

So instead of saying you’re not allowed or you shouldn’t or can’t eat certain types or amounts foods, set yourself up for success by removing those rules. Instead, take the power back by making present, empowered choices based on how you want to feel. For example: “I can eat the pie if I want, but do I really want it? How will I feel after? Is it worth it? Or is there something I can eat instead that’s more in line with how I want to feel that I would enjoy just as much?” Also check in with yourself repeatedly as you eat to see how you’re doing: “Am I still happy? Is this satisfying me? Is it making me feel good? Am I still hungry?”

TIP 2: Eat Mindfully

This one builds off the first tip nicely because what you eat is of course important, but so is HOW you eat it, almost just as much.

At the very root of this concept – eating mindfully is eating with intention and attention. Essentially it starts before you eat by checking in with yourself to see if you’re actually physically hungry or if it might be coming from an emotionally driven place then tuning in and be fully present when you eat. Take small bites, chew your food really well. Eat it slowly, minimize distractions and sit at a table when possible. And super important: fully enjoy it. This not only helps with digestion, but it also helps prevent overeating, because when our body feels satisfied it will signal fullness sooner. If you’re mentally checking out because you’re not tuning in or feeling guilty the whole time, it’ll take more food to signal that satisfaction.

TIP 3: Don’t Show Up Hungry & Don’t “Save Calories”

I used to think it was a great idea to save up calories if I knew I was going to be eating a lot at night, I’d skip breakfast and/or lunch. What I didn’t know was getting to that hangry point increases cortisol levels putting the body in a stressed state, triggers fat storage, and leads to overeating and cravings. Your body knows white dinner rolls and sweet desserts will help you feel less starved quickly and raise your blood sugar again, so you’re more likely to have those.

Instead, be sure to eat normally throughout the day, have your real meals, and maybe even have a little snack before you head to the event.

TIP 4: Get Busy in the Kitchen

When you cook, you become the driver of where your food comes from, what ingredients are used, how much salt or sugar goes into the dish, and can completely avoid preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and trans fats that will make you feel less than merry and bright. While it might not be possible to make everything from scratch, do the best you can to find a happy balance. Break out the cookbooks or start poking around Pinterest, and remember, cooking doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated to be delicious.

TIP 5: Focus on What Matters

There is an overarching belief that generally pops into people’s mind that the holidays would be better, more fun, and more enjoyable if they were thinner body. This makes total sense, and I used to believe it too for years. We’ve been taught by the diet industry that our body it isn’t good enough. It can’t be trusted. And in order for us to show up as our best, to have fun, be happy, connected and loved, we should lose weight. Maybe tone up more too.

If we are operating under the cultural storyline that we cannot be our best selves unless we’re thinner, it makes sense our panic levels rise when the holidays approach. Our inner mean girl shame voice speaks up. We feel worse about ourselves, beat ourselves up, become critical of ourselves because these moments are important to us and we want to be at our best.

The first step is identifying this storyline taking place. Then think about what you believe a thinner more culturally ideal body will change for you. Ask yourself when you feel your best: how are you showing up? How do you dress, behave,  nourish yourself? Instead of panicking or feeling the urgency to change your body somehow magically in the next few days before the holidays hit, focus on acting like you’re already there. Start acting like you think smaller you would act, and it’s amazing the shifts that will start to happen in all parts of your life!

Happy Holidays!

I really hope you enjoyed these tips. Be sure to check out the full audio version with all 15!

I’d love to hear what you thought of these strategies and ideas as you implement them! Be sure to head over to the Fed Up Dieters Find Food Freedom Facebook group to share, and let me know if you have any questions or would like additional support on your journey.

 

 

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