Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
It may feel as if you just got your eating habits and weight under control and now the holidays are here! Food is everywhere, because any social gathering revolves around food. You can still keep your weight and eating habits under control, you just have to pinpoint what your holiday triggers are and control them. Your drive to overeat is usually taken over by your emotions, not your environment. Take a moment to think about what role certain holiday foods play in your eating habits. This may help you overcome the temptation to eat them. Don’t avoid the situation, handle the situation. If you think avoiding every food temptation may help, it may put you at greater risk for overeating them later on. The key is to put parameters around how much you will consume, and then stick to your plan.
Tips to Get Back on Track:
Stress Relief. If stress is a major contributor to overeating or your emotional eating, try any stress management technique that works for you.
Want or Need? If you just finished eating a few hours ago and you are craving something, you’re probably not really hungry. Are you physically hungry or just wanting something to satisfy your craving? The craving will eventually pass.
Food Diary. Write down everything you eat, how much you eat, how the food is prepared and how you’re feeling when you eat and your level of hunger. Eventually, you will see patterns that will reveal your connection between your emotion and food.
Are your bored? Find an activity that will keep you from eating out of boredom. If it means getting out of the house and going for a walk, do it!
Support system. Find people who can be good “cheerleaders.” It can be family members, coworkers, neighbors, or a support group.
Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t keep your trigger foods readily available. If you have an overwhelming feeling to go to grocery store, wait until the craving passes.
It’s OK to say NO. Don’t let the “food pushers”, push you into overeating at any holiday event. Tell them, “No, thank you.” Don’t provide an explanation, because this may open the door for arguments.
Deprivation doesn’t work. Everything in moderation is the key. Don’t restrict your calories and eat the same foods every day. This may increase your food cravings even more.
Healthy Snacking. Snacking between meals can be beneficial. Your snack has to be a snack, not a meal. A piece of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fat free popcorn, or a low fat/ fat free yogurt that is < 100 calories.
Counseling. If you feel that you’ve tried everything and you still aren’t in control, consider therapy.
Expect setbacks. If you have a meal where you overeat or your emotions get the best of you, start with the next meal or the next day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn from your experience and make a plan on how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you have made and praise yourself for your efforts.
Christina Bartlett RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Everything In Moderation. Dedicated to providing nutrition information that is tailored to the individual.
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2011 Magazine