Delicious food is everywhere during the holiday season, making it tough to stick to healthy holiday eating. But, with a little attention and a couple of mind shift tricks, you can survive holiday eating without packing on the pounds.
Holiday Weight Gain
Holidays are a time of fun and enjoyment, but for dieters, it can be a place of overwhelming temptation. In fact, the average person gains 1-2 pounds between Halloween and New Year, and this weight is generally not lost after the holiday season. That can result in a 10-20-pound weight gain over 10 years!
For dieters, this is particularly true. That’s because of the diet mindset. Many dieters have been taught to think of healthy eating as ALL-OR-NOTHING. You’re either on a diet, or you’re off a diet. And when you’re off…boy are you making up for lost time, eating your way through all the yummy foods you’ve denied yourself in your diet prison. Throw in the holidays with an abundance of Halloween candy, Christmas cake, and New Year party cocktails…it’s a recipe for weight gain.
Change your thinking, change your eating
When you start to let go of this ALL-OR-NOTHING diet mentality and start to allow yourself to eat all different types of foods, including pleasure sugary foods in small amounts any time of year, your body and mind will calm down. It won’t feel deprived or need to go into an eating frenzy during the holidays, to make up for months of diet food.
When you eat…throughout the year…with a most of the time mindset, where you eat healthy foods that give you energy, keep you regular and fuller for longer for the majority of the time, but also include some pleasure foods like candy or cake in small amounts some of the time, you will feel less of a need to overindulge in these foods. That’s because they won’t be seen as ‘a limited time only’ food, where you have to gorge yourself before the end of the holidays and you’re back in your diet prison. You can have candy any day of the year, not just Oct 31st.
Tis the season to overeat
When we adopt the all-or-nothing approach to eating during the holidays, often we end up overloading our plates with food. Again, that stems back to that diet deprivation thinking of “I must overeat now because in January I have to be back on my diet!”
Besides adopting the; most of the time eating approach during the entire year, another thing to get a handle on is portion sizes.
Always eat off a plate, rather than picking from a bag or container. This is a visual cue for your mind and body and will allow you to feel full and satisfied much quicker.
Aim for a slightly smaller dinner plate or side plate and don’t overload it. Once you’ve eaten, give yourself 15 minutes to rest, drink some water and digest. If you’re still hungry, then go and have a bit more until you’re full but not stuffed. This gives you a physical stop-break between eating to allow your brain and body enough time to talk to each other and decide if you’re hungry before you overeat and feel sick or bloated.
Focus on your food while eating. This is called mindful eating, and it’s a great tactic to getting full and satisfied faster (ie: eating less).
Sit down to have your meals, turn off all distractions like phones or laptops.
Then, turn your attention to your food.
What does it taste like? The texture, the temperature, the flavors.
Swirl it around in your mouth, chew multiple times before swallowing, let it linger in your mouth a little longer.
The more you can get in the zone of your eating experience, the more satisfied you’ll be, and…you guessed it…the less you’ll eat overall.
Holiday Eating Tips
Here are a couple more tips and tactics to try this holiday season:
- Limit your options
We are not great at making decisions. If we have too many choices our brain goes into overdrive and we want everything. So, next time you’re at a buffet or cocktail party, look at the food and pick a maximum 3 different items you want to try. Limiting your choice means your brain can relax and not have to panic-eat.
PRO TIP: Plan to have at least one crunchy or chewy food that takes longer to eat.
- Use healthy substitutes
If you’re hosting, you’ll have more control over what is being served. Why not substitute some healthier options, such as cinnamon energy balls instead of mince pies, crudites and spicy hummus or homemade guacamole instead of chips and dip, or festive fruit kebabs instead of cookies.
PRO TIP: Package food in smaller portions and freeze leftovers immediately to avoid snacking temptations.
- Experiment with recipes
Swap out sour cream for Greek yoghurt or use applesauce instead of sugar. Aim to bake, broil or steam over deep-frying, use olive oil where possible instead of butter and add flavor to dishes and baking with spices and herbs instead of dressings and sauces.
PRO TIP: Put sauces on the side and go easy on the gravy
- Watch your alcohol intake
Yeah, it’s the holidays, so you’re probably having more parties and gatherings than usual. That’s fine but remember the alcohol can add up if you’re drinking every time. Decide ahead how much you plan to drink and aim to stick to that. That may mean switching to water or soda water in between drinks, adding ice to dilute drinks or making a conscious effort to drink more slowly.
PRO TIP: Champagne doesn’t have to just be for New Year…don’t save up all your ‘drinking free passes’ for one night.
If you’d like more pro tips and advice on how to permanently change your relationship with food so you can rock a healthy confident body, without depriving yourself on a diet, counting calories, or yo-yo weight gain, why not secure your spot for my FREE LIVE WEBINAR here.