This time of year is really tough for people in a lot of ways. Money. Stress. Food. Weight gain. Lack of sunlight. Cold. Really friggin’ cold (you know – depending on where you live…).
When it comes to health and eating habits in particular, a lot of people get stuck in the holiday conundrum: I don’t want to gain weight, so I can’t eat that. Well, then you don’t eat that, feel deprived/stressed/overwhelmed – whatever – and then overindulge. Or, you tell yourself, “Just one.” Then that “just one” becomes three or four (or more – no judgies).
Here’s the thing that I try to remember around this time of year, in particular. I can have what I want – as long as I have it in moderation.
What do I mean by that? I mean, if I want a slice of my mom’s chocolate dream pie, I’m having a piece of chocolate dream pie. But that’s the kicker – I’m having one. And that one is a normal, or even slightly smaller, piece of pie. It’s not, “I can only have one so it’s going to be half the pie” one.
And once I’ve eaten that one slice of pie, I’m done, and I don’t punish myself for it. I don’t feel guilty because “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”
I’m a big believer it the “everything in moderation” philosophy. It puts me in a healthier mindset – I’m less likely to overindulge, I don’t feel deprived, and it gives me the opportunity to think about what I actually want. Do I really want another piece of pie, or do I want it because I’m not allowed to have it?
With nothing being “off limits,” I’m empowered to make clear-minded decisions. Sure, I still end up overindulging sometimes. It happens to the best of us. I just try to take it in stride, don’t punish myself, and approach the next occasion as an opportunity to do it better.
And remember to reward yourself when you succeed. Did you listen to your body and skip that second serving of mashed potatoes and gravy because you knew you’d be uncomfortably full? Good for you! Reward yourself with a new song for your running playlist, or something that small that suits your lifestyle. Rewards don’t have to be fitness-related, but try to avoid rewarding yourself with food. (It’s pretty counter-productive, after all.)
So if you tend to struggle through the holiday temptations, give this a shot. I’ll post some other tidbits that might help, but for now, this is a good start!