Imagine a gorgeous holiday feast is sitting right in front of you. A juicy ham. Your aunt’s world-famous deviled eggs. More tasty pies than you can count. Drooling yet? Even the best of us would have a difficult time controlling ourselves under such conditions. It is okay to enjoy yourself during a Christmas feast, but you need to be mindful of these four mistakes if you want to prevent holiday weight gain.
1. You are afraid of missing out.
If you don’t eat that pumpkin pie, when will you have another opportunity to do so? If you don’t try every single food on the buffet, how will you know which tastes the best? If you don’t visit every holiday party you might miss out on so much fun!
Do any of those three thoughts sound familiar? If so, then you might suffer from a fear of missing out (FOMO). While this principle is typically applied to social relationships, our behavior towards food is quite similar, especially during the holiday season. Why else would so many people willingly stuff themselves to the point of discomfort? Honestly, this wouldn’t be a big deal if it was an isolated incident, but it could quickly become a problem if you go to lots of holiday parties.
First, understand that you probably overestimate how much food it takes to satisfy a craving of any kind. Instead of gobbling a piece of pie as quickly as you can, take one little bite at a time. Close your eyes and really concentrate on the taste and texture while you chew. Savoring each bite will help you satisfy your hunger with a smaller dose of calories. If you tend to go for seconds, you could play a clever trick on yourself. Cut a piece of pie in half, put it on two plates, and place the second plate in the fridge for later (you might even forget it’s in there, which wouldn’t be a bad thing in this case!).
2. You let other people’s opinions bother you.
- “Oh, come on. A little bread won’t kill you.”
- “What do you mean you don’t want dessert?!”
- “Why are you on a diet? You’re way too skinny.”
If any of these comments sound familiar, then you know how annoying it is when people pester you about your eating decisions. No matter how frustrated you might get, try to be compassionate. This behavior has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person’s attitude.
Most of the time, people who behave in this way are subconsciously lashing out. Your ability to practice self-control makes them feel guilty about their own decisions. Your weight loss makes them feel jealous, so they make snide remarks about how you need to “put some meat on your bones.”
The easiest way to navigate this situation is to change the subject. People love to talk about themselves, so if someone blurts out a snide remark, steer the conversation in another direction by asking them an open-ended question about their kids, career, hobby, or a recent vacation. By the time they’re done responding, they will probably forget all about it. Click here for more scripts that will help you deal with people who try to undermine your healthy choices.
3. You feel guilty for throwing away leftovers.
Repeat after me: “Eating a bunch of junk will NOT solve world hunger.” No one gains weight because they got carried away during Christmas dinner. One day of eating, no matter how excessive, won’t cause you to pack on enough pounds worth worrying about. The trick is to understand that holidays are meant to be a day of celebration, NOT a week (or month) of gluttony.
As simple as that concept might sound, most people are completely irrational when it comes to throwing food away. Yes – it is best to give your leftovers to a friend, homeless person, or hungry college student if you can – but what if nobody wants it? Throw it in the trash and get back on track.
4. You spend too much time on the couch.
Just because you have company doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Start a new tradition with your family that is centered around a fun and interesting activity. Don’t look at this activity as if it is “damage control.” Instead, view it as a bonding activity that will bring you closer to the people you care about. You are accomplishing the same goal (burning calories), but with a more positive outlook. You could take a walk with your partner after dinner and admire the Holiday decorations in your neighborhood. You could go ice-skating with your young cousins, nieces, or nephews. If you can’t stomach the cold, you could just get a Nintendo Wii and challenge your roommates to a tennis match. Be creative!
Enjoy without regret.
We hope you and your loved ones have a happy holiday. You don’t need to deprive yourself, just be mindful how you do treat yourself. You won’t gain ten pounds if you treat yourself to a plate full of delicious food (unless you do it day after day!) Celebrate the moment and then get back on track towards your goals. If you know a person who would be helped by this article, please share it VIA social media or a thoughtful email. Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays from all of us at BSDI!
About the Author Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous“