Holiday Eating Survival Guide

November 24, 2015

Food-wise the holidays are tough for a lot of people. Dieters and non-dieters alike seem to have a fear around holiday eating. This post is specifically for the non-dieters.

I won’t be discussing how to bring your own food-filled tupperware to Christmas dinner or how to make everyone at your gathering happily eat your quinoa-chia seed-mashed potatoes. (And if you want to join a group of women who are bringing sanity back to health, join our free private Facebook group!)

What I WILL be discussing is how to minimize the bingeing on cookies, chocolate, and regular mashed potatoes without missing out on the festivities, celebration, or amazing food. If that interests you, read on!

First of all, in my professional opinion, there is absolutely zero reason to stress about eating during the holidays. It’s a few days out of an ENTIRE year. Your time and energy is much better spent working on your everyday habits. Your everyday habits are what matter, the one-off occasions don’t. At all. Please enjoy your favorite foods!

That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The end.

Just kidding. 🙂

I really could end there, but I thought that would be mean. For the sake of holiday spirit (which actually hasn’t hit me quite yet…) I have some other tips that might make the holiday food situation less stressful for you.

Don’t Diet in Anticipation for the Holidays
Don’t Plan a Diet for After the Holidays.

Pre-dieting and planning your post-holiday diet only sets you up to binge and overeat DURING the holidays! If you pre-diet you’ll likely feel deprived and you’ll use up all of your willpower before the holidays have even started.  You may also feel like you deserve treats for being ‘so good’. Those things tend to lead to poor food choices.

If you plan your diet for after the holidays, you’ll most likely feel the need to “get it all in now” because after January 1st, it’s all chicken breasts and plain vegetables. That type of thinking will also likely lead to poor food choices. Eat your normal meals, keep practicing whatever healthy habit you are focusing on leading up to holiday party time and plan on doing the same afterwards.

On Party Day Don’t Starve Yourself in Anticipation of Eating Everything in Sight.

That’s another TERRIBLE idea. You’re much less likely to eat everything you see if your body isn’t in desperate need for energy when you get to a place with delicious food around every corner. Eat like you normally would eat throughout the day leading up to whatever social gathering you are attending.

Don’t Stand by the Food All Night.

A lot of our eating behaviors are shaped by our environments. If food is within arm’s reach, you are likely to eat more of it during a lull in conversation or just for something to do. Grab some of your favorite appetizers if you’re hungry and then go stand somewhere further than arm’s reach away from them until it’s time for the main meal.

Let’s Talk About Alcohol.

Alcohol can be fun. And an ice breaker. And a stress reliever. But we all know that it adds extra liquid calories and usually extra food too. If you want to enjoy a few drinks without going overboard try having a glass of water between each drink. It will likely cut your consumption in half and you’ll feel better the next day!

Indulge in Your Favorite Foods.

Don’t eat food just because it’s there, eat the foods that look the best. If you’re going to indulge in a dessert, make sure it’s your favorite dessert! Don’t eat things that look ‘just okay’, eat the things that look freaking amazing and enjoy them! Pass on the things you don’t really want, even if you feel you ‘should’ eat them.

Stop When You’re Full.

What would you eat if you could eat whatever you wanted? Well, eat that! Just stop when you get full. There’s a point when food stops being enjoyable and starts getting uncomfortable, and the goal is to stop before you get to that uncomfortable feeling. When you are really enjoying your favorite foods and not forcing yourself to eat things you don’t really want it’s usually easier to stop when you’ve had enough. Warning: This one may take some practice!

Carry On As Usual.

When your festivities are over, there is no need to punish yourself for the yummy foods you just ate. Pick up whatever healthy habits you’re working on right where you left them. One night (or a few nights) of great food is literally NOTHING compared to the habits you practice on a daily basis. Especially if you enjoy a moderate or even a more than moderate amount, enjoy it, and stop when you get full.