Halloween is upon us which marks the beginning of the holiday season. This is the time of the year when I hear most people dreading the sweets in the office or holiday parties on the weekends because they are fearful of the 5-10 lb weight gain they will have to work off at the beginning of the year. I often hear the words, “If only I had more self control.” Well I have a new strategy for you this year…Eat what you want this holiday season!
It is the classic story…Many people say, “I am not going to have any sweets today at work, or I am not going to have any fattening foods at the party.” Then in what they consider “a moment of weakness” they take a bite of whatever they were not supposed to eat and end up overeating because they were restricting themselves in the first place. Afterwards, a moment of guilt comes and they think, “I am starting my diet at the beginning of the year so it is okay.” Sometimes the idea of starting a diet at the beginning of the New Year drives people to overeat during the holiday season because they know a food restriction is on its way. Let the food restrictions go, instead focus on your hunger cues.
If your body is hungry go ahead and eat, and then try to recognize when you are satisfied and push the plate away. Another strategy to use is to be mindful when you are eating. Chew your foods slowly and really taste all the flavors and texture in your mouth. Many of us tend to eat food we don’t even enjoy because we are mindlessly eating. Be present while you are eating. As a dietitian, I feel that food has the power to heal, but I also feel that food should be enjoyed and striking a balance is key. If these strategies resonate with you, you might enjoy Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA or Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.