The holiday season is quickly approaching. With this comes a lot of excitement and fun activities, but it also can bring emphasis on food and the fear of weight gain. In fact, it is hard to not be impacted or prevent worry about “holiday weight gain” when everywhere we look are advertisements and tips for “keeping off the holiday weight.” This negative emphasis and distorted view can change the cheer of the holiday season to fear and isolation. Here are some ways we can keep food as just one part of the holiday, not cause it to be the sole focus.
Try to limit labeling of food as good vs bad. When we label food or think of them as “only for special occasions” it makes it harder to enjoy these things in moderation and puts us in an “all or nothing” thinking. Eat what looks good and what you want to eat. This will help us feel satisfied faster and actually help us eat less in the long run.
Never go to a holiday party hungry or try to “save calories” earlier in the day to prepare for the party. This will leave us with low blood sugars, feeling ravenous and less able to eat intuitively. Studies show that people who often eat less early in the day tend to eat more later on than if they were to eat consistently throughout the day.
When possible, make a plate and sit down to eat the food. When we eat standing up and in a grazing style, we often times eat more and do not register the food that we are eating. Sitting down to eat can help increase our mindfulness of meals.
Limit alcohol intake and make sure to have adequate water intake for hydration. The recommendation is 64 ounces of water a day to help prevent dehydration.
Holiday season can also increase stress levels with the shopping deadlines and family gatherings. Incorporate self-care activities that will help to bring some stress relief, such as mediation and yoga. Exercise can be a great way to help de-stress, however it is important to have other methods and that you pick those exercise activities that you enjoy and don’t feel forced to do.
Surround yourself with people who help to have a positive body image and don’t focus on weight and calories.
Enjoy the food and the season! No study shows that simply enjoying and tasting food will cause any weight gain. We want to be able to look back with happiness instead of anxiety and guilt ☺
All foods can fit into a balanced lifestyle, even treats! If you're looking for a fun treat to incorporate this season, these are one of my favorites!
Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe:
1 ½ cups peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shortening
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
You'll need wax paper, a double boiler, a cookie pan, and a medium bowl. In the medium size bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar (mixture will be stiff).
Shape into balls and place on a pan covered with wax paper. Place into the refrigerator.
In double boiler, melt chocolate and shortening. Pour into bowl and dip balls with chocolate. Refrigerate for thirty minutes until chocolate is firm.
If the holiday season has you stressed our concerned about eating or weight, please feel free to contact us via the form on our website or by phone at (703) 852-9675 for a consultation.