Thanksgiving officially kicked off the season of dread for many weight worriers. And no wonder. Sally Squires in her Washington Post column says that healthy weight folks usually put on about a pound during the holidays. But the weight strugglers among us are looking at an average of five extra pounds by the New Year. (BTW, Sally’s got generally good tips in this column but I think sometimes they’re too diet oriented; for example, she recommends counting calories at the Thanksgiving meal to make sure they don’t exceed 1000 calories. To me, that’s a good way to ruin the meal.)
The Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) recently sent an email of “Helpful Holiday Tips” for people with eating disorders and their families; if you or a family member have an eating disorder, check it out.
The email inspired me to come up with these tips for those of us who don’t exactly have an eating disorder but don’t have it totally together with our eating either, especially during this time of year. They focus on attitude more than anything else. When it comes down to it, that’s what usually leads our success.
- Ban conversations about food and weight. Forgo the ‘body scan’ that takes place among friends or family who haven’t seen each other for awhile (you may not be able to stop others, but at least you can refuse to participate). If it advances to conversation, change the topic. Likewise with comments “I feel so fat” or “I shouldn’t have eaten so much.” They just serve to focus us on the negative.
- Try to eat regular meals on something of a schedule, instead of grazing. There’s often just too much rich food around to make grazing a healthy option among those of us who are not completely in touch with internal cues for hunger and satisfaction.
- Be a role model for those around you, especially if you have children (who too many times do what you do — not what you say!). Make conscious choices about what you’ll eat, build in physical activity regularly, and stay positive. You’ll all have a much better time.
- Include your friends and family in your effort, if you feel comfortable doing so. Support is a key factor in success, and what better time to feel supported by your loved ones than during the holidays.
Hope you have a wonderfully fun holiday season!