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How To Deal With Holiday Eating

It's holiday time and food is everywhere. Wherever you go it's Food - in storybooks and classic holiday plays,"...and visions of sugarplums danced in their heads;" Food - the "main attraction" at family gatherings and a mainstay of family traditions. Food - "have another piece or another serving;" Food - in every other television commercial and displayed in tempting gift boxes at the mall and grocery.


So what can you do when food is all around you? Here are some tips to try:

First, prepare. Plan ahead for the holidays and develop a strategy.

For example, if you know that you are going to Grandmas where she has baked all the sweet treats in the world, let her know from the start that you are wanting to eat healthy and that you want to limit what and how much you eat. Ask her to help you with that goal. Then, limit yourself to one or two small treats and SKIP the seconds!

Practice how to resist the temptation of overeating.

Stop! Count to 20 and ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?" Substitute drinking water or another activity not involving eating. Practice the art of saying, "No!" "No thank you, I'm full." "No, I already had a piece of pie, no seconds for me."

Drink more fluids, especially water.

This also helps fill you up and helps you resist eating more. Try drinking a large glass of water before eating. Make sure you don't chose sodas or other high calorie drinks. Remember, water is your friend. Don't forget that drinking water is important in cold weather too as you can become dehydrated just as you can in hot summer weather.

Pick and chose treats carefully.

Look for or offer to make a low fat dessert that everyone can enjoy. This could include beautiful festive fruits dressed in low fat toppings on the side. Skip the sauces, frosting, and whipped cream.

If you must eat a sweet, pick a small sized cookie or sweet without frosting or other added ingredients (like chocolate chips, marshmallows or nuts) as they just add extra calories. "Think small!" Eat slowly. Think about what you are eating, how it tastes and appreciate the flavor before taking another bite.

Remember your brain

Remember the thinking brain and emotional brain story? When we eat to soothe a feeling, we are TEMPORARILY comforting our self, not fueling our body because it needs it. Take a look at the action plan to help you to stop eating emotionally.

The emotional part of our brain sometimes tries to trick us into thinking the food will make us feel better. But, our thinking brain knows we will actually feel worse afterwards. Remember that the thinking part of the brain is BIGGER than the emotional part of the brain so WE CAN LEARN TO CONTROL THE EMOTIONAL BRAIN. It just takes practice by becoming aware of what is going on.

Practice talking to and reasoning with your emotional brain. Say, "No, emotional brain! No! I am not going to let you trick me!!" "I do not need that food because I am not hungry. GO AWAY!!"

Tell yourself, "OK, that tasted good and was a treat, but now I want to get back to my healthy living objectives, eating healthy and exercising. Move on!!"

If holiday treats are a real problem food for you that you are trying to get unhooked from, then you may have to completely stay away from them. Otherwise, you may get hooked again, and you may not be able to stop. Look at it just as if you were allergic to the foods. You can't have just a little bit of a food you are allergic to. The same is true for your problem foods.

Then, go do some fun activity to take your mind off the food. YOU CAN DO IT.

Exercise and Fun Activities.

Take time to exercise. Think you can't exercise in cold weather? Think again. Click here for some ideas.

Make exercise a fun activity, something you can do by yourself or with family and friends. Schedule a time for an activity and stick to it. Keep moving!!!

When food is all around you, here are other things you can do:

- Fill up on the raw veggie tray - skip the dips!

- Drink more water often and in between meals.

- Eat only at meal or snack time. Make sure you don't snack all day long. BE MINDFUL!

- Fill up a SMALL PLATE only once with only the stuff you really like! Now you are done, STOP!! REFOCUS! Go play, dance, play games with others, get your mind off of food.

- If you messed up today, start over with a new plan for tomorrow. Think positive!

By following many of these tips, you can overcome the holiday eating dilemma and you'll be armed with more confidence knowing that you are enjoying the holidays but in a more healthy way. You've got to feel good about that!!

Remember, YOU CAN DO IT!!

Happy Holidays!!!

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