Just Saying No to Holiday Overeating


No stickerWe’ve all been there before.

  • Grandma made her special dish and wants so much for us to eat some.
  • Our friend is dying for the holiday cookies but doesn’t want to eat by herself.
  • We’re staring down a bowl of nuts but really aren’t hungry.

Do we go ahead and eat, even though we really don’t want to?

You probably already know the best answer to that question. So the real question is, how do we stay true to what we really want? It’s a question that’s especially relevant during the holidays when food traditions and socializing surround us and healthy eating can seem out of reach.

Just saying “no” is hard for many of us, whether we’re saying it to others or to ourselves. There are likely many reasons for that, and understanding the reasons can help us figure out how to avoid having to look after the fact for ways of managing emotional eating. One good way to discover the reasons is to write about what’s challenging us in the situation. We can uncover a lot of our hidden thoughts and feelings.

But that can take time. In the meantime, remember that we have the right to say “no.” Dietitians Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch, authors of Intuitive Eating, have written an “Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights” that have some good nuggets to help us eat well during the holidays. When you’re working to say no, they remind us that:

  • It isn’t our responsibility to overeat in order to make someone happy.
  • When we’re offered more food, we have the right to say, “No, thank you” without explaining why.
  • We have the right to continue to say “no,” even as someone repeatedly offers more. Their suggestion for what to say: “No, thank you. Really.”


How do you stay true to what you really want during holiday food fests?

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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