Go Ahead, Indulge!
Now is the time to celebrate: Good times, good company, and yes, good food. But if you’re worried that enjoying yourself will pack on extra pounds, relax. The holiday season can actually be good for your waistline.
If you’re like many weight worriers, restricting the holiday treats that abound is a losing battle fraught with guilt. Give yourself a break and skip the self-control — you’ll be happier and, chances are, at a healthier weight. Ironically, if you savor rather than forbid your favorite foods, you’re more apt to stay on track with your overall healthy eating plan.
Allow yourself to have whatever you want, and you may begin to be more selective about what that really is.
This kind of balanced, mindful eating can eventually result in a natural, easy-to-maintain weight, no matter what the month.
It can also help to realize that overeating is perfectly normal, not in the least a lapse in good behavior. It makes sense. Food is about pleasure as well as good nutrition; sometimes we need more of a food than what is recommended to feel truly satisfied both physically and emotionally. Plus, rich food by nature stays with us longer so we don’t need to eat as soon or as much at following meals. Rich foods, when eaten in moderation, won’t make us fat.
As long as we tune in to internal cues of hunger and satiety and trust our bodies to guide us, the calories balance out in the end.
Give yourself permission to eat for emotional reasons, too. What’s so bad about eating chocolate kisses from the stocking simply because you did so when you were a kid? Just make sure it’s not the only way you deal with being happy or stressed. At other times, walking the dog or reading a book may feel more nurturing.
Other thoughts to indulge your taste buds:
- Feed yourself. Continue to eat regular, balanced meals; we are better able to decide what we really want if we come to the experience already well-nourished.
- Eat mindfully. If you’re home baking gingersnaps and want to sample your work, savor the smell, texture, density and taste of every bite; you will be less likely to devour the entire plate of cookies before you know it.
- Cultivate a discriminating palate. You decided to have a slice of the cherry cheesecake at the office party, but you quickly discovered it’s not nearly as creamy as you had anticipated. Toss it. Why eat something you don’t enjoy?
- Keep moving. Physical activity keeps you in touch with your body’s wants and needs. Take a family stroll before you sit down to dinner.
- Enjoy the season. Enough said.