The Dietitian

Self Care for Long Term Weight Loss: Holiday Edition

By Guest Contributor: Hallie Fawer

Happy Holidays!

The holiday season can always present challenges for individuals who are on a diet. Is this food “approved”? How many points is “x” food? Should I “save” up my calories earlier in the day so that I can enjoy the meal later tonight? Should I do a “turkey burn” workout so that I can burn calories in advance of the meal? 

These are the questions that often flood the quintessential dieter’s mind. When someone is on a strict diet, it is understandable that the individual would worry about eating food that is not made under the person’s “control”. 

Perhaps, the holiday meal is more caloric than your traditional week-night dinner. However, I can not stress enough that one meal will not impact your overall weight or your health and well-being. 

Here are a few tips to enjoy your holiday meal, so that you feel your best (emotionally and physically): 

1. Eat a satisfying and balanced breakfast and lunch. I would recommend creating a balanced plate filled with vegetables, fiber-filled carbohydrates, fat, and protein. 

2. Go into the holiday meal with the mindset that you’d like to practice being truly present. The holidays are a special time that allows us to express our gratitude for our family and our friends.  Holiday meals are intended to be remembered and appreciated. I hope that your memories are not tainted by worries about the food on your plate and questioning whether it is “approved” on your diet. 

3. If you overeat, give yourself grace. It can feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable in the moment. I understand, as I have been there on many occasions. However, I have realized that self-deprecation and self-hate is not productive. In fact, it doesn’t change past behaviors or your food intake. In fact, it can only further damage your self-image and self-worth. 

4. I would try to find comfort in knowing that most people overeat at some point in their lives. Please know that you are not alone. 

5. If you overate or binged the previous night, don’t restrict the following day in order to “make up” for the excess calorie intake. This behavior simply fuels the binge-restrict cycle. Begin your day on a positive note by engaging in mindful movement, eating a nourishing breakfast, drinking a tall glass of water, or anything else that may bring you happiness and an element of purpose to your day. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been very stressful, to say the least. I hope that the holiday season does not serve as a source of stress in your life. Instead, I hope that everyone can enjoy the precious time with their family and friends, whether that is in-person or virtually. If you are stressed about overindulging or overeating during the holidays, I urge you to keep this last thought in mind. I hope that you are fortunate and lucky enough that you have plenty of food on the table and that you are healthy enough to consume a hearty meal with loved ones this season.

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