Eggnog, cookies, fruitcake, oh my! We can sometimes be overwhelmed by the
multitude of delicious dishes and delectable deserts that we just want
to sink our teeth into. Aunt Carol’s famous snicker salad, or grandma’s
traditional sweet potatoes. It can be hard to say no to these classics
when celebrating the holidays with family and friends.
For those with a strong will to just say no, we salute you! That in itself
is an under appreciated art form. We at Profile would be naive to not
consider that many of our members may sample a few dishes that are not
on their plan. Here are some helpful tips to not derail yourself. Don’t
be “that guy” to make these excuses to devour everything in
sight. Stick to it! We have confidence in you.
1. I only get this food once a year.
For many of us, holiday celebrations conjure up special memories of favorite
foods created with love; or ignite in us a gleeful anticipation of consuming
enticing food and drink. It is not uncommon to tell ourselves “this
holiday food looks amazing and I may never get this food again”
or “the holidays come just once a year so I am going to eat, drink,
and be merry.” Lets really breakdown the thought
“I’ll never get this food again.” How true is that, really? Couldn’t this food be made again
or purchased another day of the year? Remember that the holidays come
again and again year after year. There will be other holiday celebrations
that will give you the opportunity to eat these foods again. Have a “reasonable” portion of a beloved food, if choosing that, and to remember it is never
necessary to over eat a food because you can and will have it again at
2. I have to do things the way I’ve always done them or someone will
Don’t put yourself in that box this holiday season. Families often
have long standing holiday traditions including favorite foods, but if
these foods derail you from your weight loss goals, it is ok to set them
aside for a year and try something new. Try preparing a completely low
carb meal and offer just one dessert (low calorie) instead of the dessert
buffet. Some family members may be temporarily disappointed but you may
be starting a few new holiday traditions as family and friends come to
appreciate your healthier menu. Ask yourself, who will really be disappointed
if I change up the holiday foods I serve this year, my family and friends,
3. I’ve already been messing up; I’ve blown it so I’ll
just wait until the New Year to get back on track.
This “I’ll get back on track later” thought is common
to a lot of us who have tried to stick to a food plan over the holidays.
It starts with just a bite of this and a taste of that ultimately leading
to an “oh no” realization and a promise to not do that at
the next party, only to do it again. Disillusioned, it ends with an agreement
that you will eat what you want over the holidays this year and get back
on track in the New Year.
Don’t buy into that thought! Instead challenge the thought that you have “blown it” at one party and that gives you permission to blow it at subsequent
parties. Change your thoughts to “I ate more than I planned at the
party but I will make an effort to do better at the next party.”
Just because you ate more than planned
once does not mean you
have to or willeat more at additional holiday celebrations.
Don’t keep making mistakes!”
4. I won’t be able to enjoy myself during the holidays if I have
to work on healthy eating.
Actually, the opposite is true. When we make a decision to eat off our
food plan in the hopes we will enjoy the season more, often the reverse
happens. We spend our time obsessing, sad, and frustrated for eating off
our plan. Conflicting thoughts like, “I can’t believe I am
doing this” and “I feel so awful about it, but I don’t
want to stop,” create an internal struggle that taints the enjoyment
of the season. In addition, you may become disheartened, overwhelmed,
and anxious about what you need to do in the New Year to undo what was
done over the holidays. Contrast that to eating only what you planned
and being in control of your eating choices is very rewarding. As you
enter the New Year, you are happy and confident that you are one step
closer to meeting your weight loss goals.
Consider this : Have you ever come home from a party where you stayed in
control of your food choices but felt sad because you did not eat any
of the enticing foods offered? Probably not and if you think about it
the best part of eating an “enticing food” that you did not
plan to eat is in the decision to eat it itself.
Beck, J. S. (2015, Nov. 13). Common Holiday Sabotaging Thoughts—The Beck Diet
Solution. Retrieved from
Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is the President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive
Behavior Therapy in Suburban Philadelphia and the author of
Train Your Brain to Lose Weight and Keep it off for Good. Dr. Beck shares four-ways to use your brain to help you stay on track
while attending celebrations during the holidays.
Priscilla Thornton, MSW-LCSW