Guilt, fear and anxiety around food should never be a part of a holiday experience. But for many of you that is what the holiday season revolves around.
Research now shows that being more mindful of how you eat is just as important as what you eat when it comes to controlling your weight.
And this is what this article is about, the mindfulness of eating what you love without compromising your health or your waistline.
The problem with most fitness advice on avoiding holiday weight gain that you’re seeing out there is right now is demoralizing… Instead of helping you get the most out of your holidays they encourage fear of food and fear of weight gain which essentially erodes your holiday spirit.
It does not have to be this way.
Fear of food will consume you, instead you could be having an experience where food serves you.
Food will always be part of the holiday experience and food essentially is the ‘spice of life’.
Coming to peace with it and learning how to eat on your own terms without going overboard is the only way to keep your waistline trim while indulging in your favorite dishes.
Holiday eating should be less about strategy and more about mindfulness.
Here are 7 simple steps you can practice over the holidays to ensure you have a wonderful time with your loved ones and you enjoy yourself without sabotaging your weight loss progress:
1. Have anything and everything (no restrictions).
Give yourself full permission to enjoy whatever you like on your plate – no restrictions. This is not permission to go overboard, but an invitation to get adventurous.
Research shows that a rigid and restrictive mindset towards food always leads to binging and emotional eating later on.
2. Don’t supersize your meals
When it comes to weight control research has shown that it’s not what you eat but rather how much is on your plate that either leads to weight loss or gain.
One simple rule I teach clients is to ‘eat until you’re 80% full/satisfied’ which allows them to enjoy their favorite dishes without sabotaging their weight loss goals.
3. Avoid having seconds and thirds
Most people don’t need to eat more than what they’ve consumed on their first round, but they don’t listen to their bodies and they eat themselves sick. Listen to your body, eat until you’re 80% full and avoid going for seconds.
This will help you keep your body weight from spiking. And remember to leave some room for desert!
4. Enjoy a serving of dessert
Dessert is not what makes you gain weight, it’s dessert in excess that may be problematic. Just don’t over do it like most people do when it comes to the desert menu. See what is available and pick one or two things that you really want and have them – better yet, enjoy them.
5. Don’t drink to many of your calories (watch that eggnog and wine).
I hope that your goal is not to get drunk during the festivities. Like, desert, alcohol can be part of your meal but in moderation. A glass or two of wine with dinner is ok, if you’re drinking more than that you may want to consider skipping dessert.
I would recommend going into dinner knowing how many drinks you’ll be having and drawing a line there. Be mindful and aware.
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6. Eat slowly, indulge in the people around you, not food
Most people rush and eat to quickly without truly enjoying and savoring that good wholesome cooking. Eating slowly, enjoy the conversation that is happening at the table, laugh and embrace the moment. has been shown to satisfy the taste buds and satiate you quicker.
7. Create lasting memories rather than regrets
Don’t make this holiday season about food or your fear of getting out of control with food and gaining weight. Holidays are about you, your family and friends sharing laughter and breaking bread together. Let food be part of the experience but don’t’ let it rob you of your experience.
The most important thing you must be aware off is not turn a single meal into a week long binge. Whatever happens during that dinner, next day is a new day, start getting yourself back on track then, don’t wait until it’s to late.
After reading the points mentioned above I hope that you feel better and more relaxed about the holidays. Everything in moderation with the listed principles above will help you stay on track with your weight loss goals or manage your body weight over the holidays.
These principles can also be applied to any Christmas party you end up attending between now and the actual day.
Enjoy your holidays, stay fit and don’t forget to focus on the people around you rather than food for a more meaningful and relaxed experience.
I wish you happy holidays and Merry Christmas.
Coach Ruslan Kedik