Do you ever feel an internal struggle with your desire to be eat healthy over Christmas and your lack of faith to do what it takes?
Being a busy woman, you may be feeling overwhelmed being pulled in so many different directions – there are work commitments, kids, Christmas gifts to buy, festive functions to attend -and all this feels like chaos.
And the more hectic your schedule gets, the more tangled up you get with emotional eating.
‘Tis the season to be eating
Last Christmas you threw caution to the wind and indulged in too much chocolate, cakes and festive goodies, that you’d promised yourself you’d give up.
And as a result, 10 extra pounds appeared on your hips, thighs and the rear.
So how can you do it differently this time and still enjoy the holiday cheer and stay at a healthy weight?
Eat with Freedom
I believe in a freedom from overeating that includes savouring your Christmas meal, and leaving old patterns of guilt, shame, self-blame, and “starting over on Monday” behind.
And of course, you don’t want deprivation or struggles just health that makes sense and feels right and easy.
It’s all about planning ahead to stay in control and creating some simple strategies.
So, let’s explore some simple strategies to help you achieve that.
Strategy #1 – Think and Plan Ahead.
The best place to start is by making some intentional decisions ahead of time.
This puts you in control rather than reacting to, all the unexpected things and events that happen when you are exposed to tempting foods during your holidays.
A. Identify upcoming overeating triggers and challenges now
- Begin by looking at your calendar and making a list of the events and days that may be challenging.
- Now is the time to do some brainstorming about how you’d like to handle them.
Tip: Don’t simply think that you’ll “make it work” instead, plan ahead what your approach will be and how you will handle it.
For example: while shopping, try to anticipate that if you buy unhealthy food, later at home you will experience a conflict between choosing healthy food and tempting foods.
- To avoid such conflict—you may then reason—it is best to limit how much unhealthy food you purchase.
B. Create some routines to help you stay connected with yourself.
Christmas is a busy time and different from your regular routine, so it’s easy to feel disconnected from your healthy habits.
Here are some tips:
- Plan now to check in with yourself, even for just a few minutes every day.
- The key is to give yourself a chance to notice what you need and how you are feeling.
For example: What are non-negotiables?
- My non-negotiables include drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, and exercise.
- I also need daily “alone time” to sort through my thoughts.
Strategy #2 – Tweak your environment
Your environment has a big impact on your food choices and eating habits.
Visible temptation and certain colours trigger hunger and desire for food. And because we are so busy, our choices can be easily influenced by our environment without us realising.
Adjusting your environment can help you make better choices, consistently.
Here are some tips:
- Work out how to remove visible temptations and replace with healthier items.
Temptation: Chocolate block in the fridge
Strategy: Put in the fridge downstairs
Replacement: Chocolate Protein Bar that’s low in carb and one that you enjoy
Strategy #3 -Re-structure Your Situations
Anticipate situations that may cause conflict between your healthy food choices (in accordance with your plan) and unhealthy options.
Researchers at the University of Wyoming say it’s more effective to plan in advance to manage temptations with well-thought-out strategies.
So rather than waiting for temptation to raise its inevitable head and struggling to resist it-plan ahead for a more effective strategy.
Here are three steps for a successful strategy:
1. Situation Selection:
Try to avoid any situations where you know you will confront temptation.
For example: if you’re tempted to eat junk food, stay away from fast-food restaurants (don’t even drive by), and don’t go down the snack or baked-goods aisles of the supermarket (or any other aisle that’s filled with temptation).
2. Situation Modification:
If you can’t completely avoid a situation that may involve temptation, do what you can to reduce the temptation pull.
For example: If you’re at a Christmas party and trying not to drink alcohol stay as far away from the bar as possible. Try to connect with other non-drinkers.
Divert your attention away from temptation.
For example: If you’re t goal is to eat healthy and avoid overeating at holiday functions or in general, stay engaged in conversations and always have a glass of water in hand to sip on.
And lastly tweak and adjust as you go – You won’t get it perfect and that’s OK.
Notice what works and what doesn’t and keep moving forward.
What does this mean for you?
Pay attention to the places and situations where you feel stuck.
Yes, of course there will be more challenges in 2020. But when you apply the strategies in this article, you’ll create a great foundation on which to step forward.
Remember to reward yourself for milestones achieved – this always puts a smile on my face.
Now I have a few questions for you….
- How do you want to feel at the end of your Holidays?
- If feeling this way was your only goal (and it probably isn’t, and that’s okay), how would you eat over the Christmas break?
I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and any questions you have on this article.
Please write a comment below.
The Carousel would like to thank Irena Geller for her contribution.