Holidays are a time of celebrating relationships and traditions. Food is one of the most common ways that we celebrate. We are inundated with online and print images of delicious-and mostly fattening-dishes. It’s no wonder why will power is so hard to maintain during this time. Socializing during the holidays is often surrounded with eating. The holidays can be one of the most difficult times to lose-or even maintain-your weight. Below are some psychological and behavioral tips that can help you from gaining weight.
- Limit your servings: We can double or triple our calorie intake simply because we get up for additional servings. Try to enjoy just one serving of your favorite dishes.
- Bring healthy alternatives to share: Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean bland. For instance, replace sugar with sugar alternatives, such as Stevia, and use lower fat options, such as yogurt and low-fat cheese. You can also try using less butter and oil than cited in recipes, often finding that taste isn’t sacrificed.
- Don’t get caught up in negative thinking patterns: After a holiday meal, you may blame yourself for eating too much and worry about gaining weight. Instead of dwelling on these negative thoughts, try to engage in more adaptive thinking. If you have the thought, “I blew my diet and I’ll never lose weight”, restructure this thought to, “I realize that I ate too much, but I did enjoy my meal and, going forward, I will make more healthy eating choices and will eventually be at my goal weight.”
- Find healthy ways to relieve stress: Although the holidays are a time for celebrating, they can bring on a significant amount of stress for people. Relationships are a common source of stress during the season. Conflicts with family and friends can trigger some to relieve stress with eating, referred to as emotional eating. Instead of relying on food to manage stress, try deep breathing, enjoying holiday music, keeping your exercise routine, and reaching out to others.
- Engage in mindfulness: Try to foster awareness when you are eating. Savor each bite, slow your eating, and chew thoroughly. Engage all your senses when you eat, noticing how your food tastes, smells, feels-and even hears.
- Celebrate without eating: Although we often incorporate food into holiday festivities, think about other ways that you can engage with friends and family. Some ideas are ice skating, watching a holiday movie and shopping.
Even though keeping your weight off during the holidays can be challenging, see if these tips can help you manage your weight and enjoy this festive time.