The holidays are tailor-made for overeating. Cookies, gingerbread, eggnog—who can resist? And, when you’re under stress it can be even easier to overindulge, which can lead to guilt and more stress—a vicious cycle. But, you can reduce the stress and keep your weight under control this season. Follow our list of holiday-friendly guidelines, and consider writing them down someplace where you'll see them everyday for some extra reinforcement.
1. My goal for this holiday is to maintain my weight and not gain. This is a goal you’ll be able to achieve. It is realistic and it won’t deplete your self-control supply. The holidays aren’t the time to try and take off weight—save that goal for the New Year.
2. I will not restrict myself to a narrow diet plan during this time. The last thing you want to do is worry about carb limits, or eating only green foods while you’re at a holiday party. Set aside that particular diet, just for now. It will still be there for you after the holidays, when you will have more energy to bring to it.
3. I will give myself permission to eat the special treats that are offered. Love your grandmother’s homemade toffee? Go ahead and have a piece! Giving yourself permission eliminates your conflicting feelings about eating it or not eating it.
4. I will take care to not go wild because that will interfere with my goal of maintaining my weight. It’s fine to sample the holiday goodies—just don’t go overboard. Keep in mind your goal of maintaining your weight and don’t reach for that second cookie!
5. I will consider the achievement of this goal to be a big success for me. Don’t downplay the amount of effort it takes to maintain your weight during this time of the year. Celebrate your achievement. Instead of being left with the unsettling feeling that you’re out of control, you will actually be able to feel proud of yourself.
If you can ease up on your expectations with regard to your eating, not only will you achieve the important goal of maintaining your weight during the course of the holidays, but you are bound to feel better about yourself. You just might eliminate your usual guilt, self-recrimination, regrets about overeating, doubts about yourself, and the strength of your convictions. You might just come out of the holidays feeling empowered.
Here’s to the happiest holidays ever.