Many people who are on restrictive diets tend to struggle during the holidays. I once thought that I would have to give up my goals and just “get back on track” during the new year. I struggled with saying no to the candies, chocolates, cookies, and pies that were everywhere between October and December.
Those treats really are everywhere, aren’t they: They are all over the break room at the office, they are wrapped up in boxes from your family and friends, and they show up at the doorstep from your neighbors. Rest assured, these people are not trying to sabotage you, they are actually showing their love in a way that is culturally acceptable this time of year.
Even though these treats are an act of love, it can be stressful to wonder what the treats might do to your waistline, and how on earth to say no to them all? The good news is, you don’t have to! With just a few simple strategies you can enjoy holiday treats and still lose weight.
1. Don’t say no: Really, I mean it. If you tell yourself you can’t have any sweets or treats during this time of the year, you are more likely to go overboard and eat more of them than you would otherwise. Tell yourself not to think about something long enough, and it is the only thing you will think about.
2. Choose carefully: Do you really want one of everything? You never really liked sugar cookies anyways, and those look a little burnt, why would you want to eat it? Well, if you told yourself NOT to eat it, you would probably want it even if it wasn’t something you liked in the first place. Since you are not saying no, choose the treat that appeals to you most, that is to die for, that is a once in a season experience (there will always be more candy canes, you can have one later).
3. Taste it fully: Become a taster and not a consumer — eat for that taste, savor enjoy, delight in it, and notice when it no longer tastes amazing… it might happen after two bites, it might happen after ten, but it will happen (note — if you are scarfing out of guilt instead of enjoying it fully, you may miss this). Once it no longer tastes as awesome as it did on the first bite, put it down. You’ve had enough.
4. Trust your body: You may notice that when you have a holiday dessert, you are less hungry for your next meal. That’s ok, eat lighter at that next meal. Trust that your body will compensate for the calories that were eaten before. Learning to listen to your hunger and fullness can be the greatest tool for eating whatever you want and still losing weight.
5. Have more fun: Enjoy being with friends and family, go ice skating, build a snowman, go caroling, be grateful for the year you’ve had and excited about the year to come. There are so many other things to think about this time of year than just “what I should or shouldn’t eat.” Relax, stress less about food, and enjoy the holidays more.
These tips may seem very different from advice that you’ve heard from other sources, but I know they can work. Why do I know this? They worked for me.
The first time I used this strategy was over a Thanksgiving holiday. While I ate my regular meals for much of the weekend, I also ate Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin cheesecake, desert the next night at my brother’s house, and a couple of cookies that my little sister had made over the course of the weekend.
Want to know what happened? I lost weight– two and a half pounds, to be exact over the course of that week. These same strategies have also helped many of my clients lose weight and enjoy food no matter what circumstances they are in.Try it out, I’ll bet you will love it too!