Do you find yourself eating more sweets, carbs, and just overall food during the holidays than any other time of year?
I used CRAZY overdo it over the holidays.
It would start with voice #1 in my head being like:
“WOW those mint chocolate cookies look AMAZING, buuuttt you’re already full and they have lots of sugar in them, you shouldn’t eat them!”
On a normal day, I might realize it’s not worth it, that voice was right, and just move on (ok, rarely!!). BUT the game is different now, it’s the “HOLIDAYS.” Tis the season for food justifications!
That’s where voice #2 chimed in:
“If you don’t eat them now, you won’t be able to til next Christmas! Go for it girl, eat as many as you can and you’ll make up for it in January!!”
Next comes the stomach ache + guilt/shame feelings. “Ugh it so wasn’t worth it!”
Have you been there??
Many women I talk to find themselves in this struggle all year round like I did. They’re presented with foods that they tell themselves they shouldn’t be eating, that they’re bad, and ultimately come up with some justification why it’s ok to eat it – and usually go overboard.
The combination of putting restrictive labels on foods (should’s/bad) AND the justifications create the perfect storm, causing us to take actions that don’t align with our goals and leave us feeling frustrated and stuck.
The best way to counteract it is to…you guessed it! Remove the restrictive labels and release the justifications.
When we put restrictive labels on foods, what we’re essentially doing is putting them up on a pedestal and building them up in our heads as something super special. That creates a sense of urgency, a ‘calling’ to us through cravings, even an obsession, all rooted in the body feeling deprived.
That happens this time of year especially because all of a sudden all of those foods we’ve been restricting all year seem to be EVERYWHERE!
By telling myself I “shouldn’t” eat the cookies in that example above, it gave them power, which turned into a mega craving, justification, and cookie binge.
It’s a super healthy and normal response to deprivation and stress which is hard-wired in all of us. It’s not because we’re weak or have no willpower, it’s our body telling us it does NOT like feeling deprived and being restricted.
So what could that look like for you? Here are 4 action steps:
Stop using language like: should/shouldn’t, can/can’t, allowed, good/bad when you’re talking about food. Sounds silly, but it triggers a whole chain of reactions that’ll send you spiraling in a direction opposite your goals. Our actions start in our mind/thoughts!
Give yourself true permission to eat the foods you love and that make you happy. Show your body they’ll be there if you choose to eat it in the moment, if you want to save it and eat it tomorrow, and even remind yourself you can find or make ALL foods year round if you really want them 🙂 Make mindful choices rather than trying to follow restrictive rules. This helps to release the scarcity mindset and justifications.
Debunk the situation. If you do these things and still find yourself fixating on a particular food, especially if you’re already full, ask yourself what else might be going on. Get curious in a non-judgmental way. Lean in and tune into it, what feelings are coming up, what feelings might you wish were coming up? Sometimes what we love about certain foods are the feelings we associate with them that we can get from other sources.
Above all – release the urge to be a ‘perfect’ eater. There is no such thing, so you’ll be fighting a losing battle that will leave you feeling defeated. A healthy diet and healthy relationship with food includes eating a balance of ALL foods and enjoying them. As humans, we’re emotional beings designed to receive pleasure from foods. When we try to restrict that, our body will fight back, and ultimately win!
Also – be sure to check out this guide (audio & video) to having your happiest & healthiest holidays yet!