Temptation is everywhere you look; in the shops that are full of every treat that you can think of and even some you can’t; it’s being passed around at work ‘go on it’s Christmas’ they say; its in the 3 course meals at a works do or at a social gathering; in short IT’s EVERYWHERE!!! When I was struggling to lose weight, my motto was simple ‘It’s Christmas so I’m going to treat myself’ and this basically gave me the free reign to stuff myself silly for two whole weeks before I landed back on earth with a hard bump and a weight gain that left me feeling totally lethargic and to add to the misery, self-loathing was waiting for me around the corner. I would view others with envy as they could seemingly eat anything they wanted and still slip into the little black dress!!
So, with the festivities in full swing already, here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you navigate your way merrily through the season:
DON’T say ‘Oh well, it’s Christmas so I am entitled to let go and enjoy myself’. When you say this, you are just giving yourself the go ahead to eat until you feel numb. Your mind goes into overdrive and you’re an 8-year-old in a candy store wanting everything in sight. In the back of your mind is the thought that you’ve really got to make the most of it before the season is over and when you’ll need to be ‘good’ and start denying yourself again. Sure, you’ll enjoy the first cake, or pie or pudding BUT, after a while, it just turns into a 2-week binge and believe me, your body and mind will NOT thank you for it!
DO say ‘I just love the food at this time of year!’. When you say this, there is no agenda, there is no drama and there is no need to make a ‘deal’ with yourself by deciding to be ‘good’ later. There is also no need for bargaining with yourself ‘It’s Christmas, so it’s OK’. This approach gives you the ‘green’ light to be excited by the festive foods and the permission to enjoy them.
DON’T say ‘I’ll just have one and then be good for the rest of the time’. This approach will immediately have you craving everything in sight after you’ve eaten the ‘one’ thing that you wanted. Human nature is such that the minute we deny ourselves anything, we begin to crave for it with a vengeance!
DO say ‘That looks amazing, let me have one’. Saying this produces no pressure whatsoever and lets you enjoy whatever ‘it’ is. There is no need to eat the entire plate as you are free to have a few more if you fancy it. There is also no bad feeling afterwards when you realise that you cannot have anymore and have to now start to deny yourself.
DON’T say ‘I’ll have a blowout today and eat nothing tomorrow’. Firstly, you will feel guilty as you eat whatever it is as you have already told yourself that it is forbidden and you are going to punish yourself afterwards by starving or ‘being good’. Secondly, you will feel panic as soon as you have finished eating because then you know the hard work of denying yourself has to begin.
DO say ‘I’m going to have this meal and really enjoy it’. Doing this let’s you relax and eat without guilt. It lets you enjoy what you are eating without any feelings of doom that you will have at the thought of paying the huge price for eating it later on.
DON’T eat it in a frenzy where you just stuff your face without stopping to taste what it is. In this way, all that happens is that after the first couple of bites, you do not even remember eating or tasting whatever it is that you wanted. Within seconds, the food is gone and in its place is a hunger for more and guilt of the weight that you might put on.
DO eat slowly, purposefully and intentionally. Notice the smell, the texture and the taste of every bite. Do not feel guilty for having another, in fact, tell yourself that it is perfectly OK to do that. Part of the problem with overeating is when we feel time is limited and that if we overindulge, we will have to pay for it later. Another benefit of eating slowly is that you will be letting your body catch up with the feelings of satisfaction which allow you to feel full. Many times, we are so busy feeling guilty and eating hurriedly that our body doesn’t stand a chance to let us know if it is full or not.
All the DON’T’s will do is result in you feeling bad about yourself and eating far more than you need to feel satisfied.
The Do’s have the opposite affect because they set you free to enjoy whatever food it is that you would like. Believe me, the more you deny yourself, the more you will eat. The reverse is also true, the more you give yourself the permission to have your desired food, the less you will end up eating and the more satisfied you will feel.
So, to sum up: when you are faced with ANY situation where you want to eat something over the festive period, give yourself FULL permission to do so because the more you deny yourself, bargain with yourself or feel guilty about it, the MORE you will eat.
HAPPY EATING EVERYONE!!
Written by Sherry Taylor, Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle.