If you’re like me, you wake up most Christmas mornings feeling like a stuffed sausage. The beautiful Christmas outfit I planned to wear is forgotten about, and I put on the loosest, most comfortable shirt I can find and get out the elastic waistband pants. Why? Because I’ve spent the last 6 weeks “enjoying” the holidays- from Halloween to Christmas Eve, the extravanganza of overeating has overtaken me! So as I sit here this Thanksgiving morning, I’m thinking about how I can turn around this usually deadly time of year into a holiday season I can really be proud of.
First of all, there is NO need to gorge or overdo it this time of year! There is plenty of great food to go around all year long, and unlike the Pilgrims, we don’t need to prepare ourselves for a harsh winter of starvation. Secondly, stop using this time of year as an excuse to overeat! How many times have we heard ourselves say “It’s the holidays- I’ll just eat what I want and then I’ll go on a diet after the New Year”. If you don’t usually eat candy, cake and pies on a weekly basis, why start now?
I truly believe it is possible to eat healthy over the holidays and prevent the holiday weight gain that most of us experience. To start with, using food logs to track eating patterns is a MUST. Create a food log where you write down everything you eat and drink, times you eat, approximate amounts of foods, and, to really get a sense of why you eat, write down how you are feeling and where you eat as well. For example, your log may read : A bag of buttered popcorn, 9pm, lonely, in the living room. This is a very different situation from: 5 handfuls of light buttered popcorn, 8pm, starving, watching movies with friends at home. Both examples are similar, but the first is a pattern that is very detrimental to weight loss and your psyche, and the second is merely situational eating that is healthy and normal. Food logs are NOT about making you feel guilty, but are a resource to help you discover WHY you may overeat and WHEN you may overeat. With this knowledge, you can begin to take real concrete steps to avoid the situations that lead to these behaviors. Furthermore, most people do not remember what they eat on a daily basis. How can you expect to lose weight or have energy for exercise if you are unaware of the foods and fuels your body has taken in? Remember, weight loss is, in its simplest form, merely a math calculation of calories in minus calories out. If you dont know the “in”, you cannot be successful. SO- get pumped up! Start a food log! Create good habits now, and feel great on Christmas day and beyond! Happy Thanksgiving!