It’s so easy to overdo it during holiday events. Family gatherings often include obscene amounts of food in all their richest forms. It may be that you simply want to sample all the special dishes that you have not had since last year. It may be that it just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole or it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the eggnog. It may be that you have eaten too many sweets and feel like something salty will help you feel better, or you catch yourself alternating between salty and sweet. It may be that you are mindlessly grazing on all the finger foods while catching up with family members. You may even be getting encouragement to eat more from well meaning family members. Any of those things and more can encourage you to eat too much.
For some the danger is simply eating more than intended or indulging in a food item that you have removed from your diet. When you are trying to lose weight, counting calories often becomes extremely important. When you are trying to get healthier, there are often certain foods that are best to avoid. Overindulging during the holidays can delay reaching our goals. For others the danger goes beyond simply over eating and could be considered a binge. While special foods are often part of the enjoyment of the holiday season, feeling uncomfortable from eating to much is never enjoyable.
Sometimes it is difficult to recognize that you are eating too much until you have gone too far. The best way to keep track and avoid overindulging is to have a food plan of what you will and will not eat before you get to the event. Because holiday events often have surprises or things you forgot to include in your plan, I suggest that you make a plan before you arrive, but update it based on what is there upon arrival. You will be most rational before you start eating and can keep your goals in mind most clearly. You may want to enlist a loved one to gently remind you of your goals during the event, especially if you may be eating more than intended. If you catch yourself bargaining, rationalizing, or re-calculating, it is very likely that you are in danger of overindulging. If you are feeling shame or guilt about what you are eating, it is probably time to stop. If you feel out of control of eating or that you are eating more than everyone else, then you may be experiencing a binge.
Even if you can recognize that you are going to far, it is not always as easy to stop yourself. You may or may not be able to walk away from the food depending on how your holiday event is set up. Some families keep all the food in a single place; others place snacks all around the house. Taking a walk may be one way to step away from the temptation and get some physical activity. Some excellent cognitive techniques and tools that you can use to can be found in the Complete Beck Diet For Life. Most important may be enlisting the support of someone who will be at the event or available to communicate with you and coach you through your temptation. The pressures of a holiday event or an event with your family can lead to emotional eating, so having an outside, supportive influence may help you stay in a positive frame of mind. There are many reasons why people overeat during the holidays and just as many ways to stop yourself; the important thing to keep in mind is finding what is most helpful to you.
November 22nd, 2011