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Do you find yourself already getting laxed about your eating habits, now that the holidays are approaching? Like ever since Halloween hit, you’ve started the never-ending cycle of candy and sweets consumption, and you’re not going to bother changing your habits until the new year?

It’s so easy to get into holiday mode long before the holidays officially begin.  And while the holidays should be a joyous occasion, they don’t have to become an all-out food fest for 2 months.  Gaining a few pounds around the holidays may not seem like much, but if it happens every year, it can add up and then be more difficult to lose.

The good news is you can still enjoy your holiday food and festivities without eating everything in sight.  Plus, if you can manage to find that balance, then this could be the first year when you don’t have to surrender to the “new year, new you” cliché. Imagine how good that would feel!

Here are 5 ways to stop the all-or-nothing mentality around your holiday food and stop stressing:

  1. Take the focus OFF food.  Yes, that’s right.  We put so much emphasis on the food during the holidays, and not enough time on the real meaning – spending time with family and enjoying the simple things in life, that often we don’t get time to enjoy. Think of the food as a side note, not the main focus of your event.  If you think too much about the food part, you are more likely to overeat and feel like it’s the last supper.  
  2. Eat a little treat every day (or most days).  Starting with Halloween, we have had candy or cookies in our house constantly.  I do love to bake, and particularly love to on a cold day.  Rather than feeling like you can’t bake because you’re tempted to keep these treats in your house, change your mindset.  If you eat a little bit every day, you will satisfy that craving.  If you don’t have it at all, you may find yourself going on a sugar binge once the holidays hit.
  3. Don’t think of holiday food as a “one and done deal.” Meaning don’t feel like this will be the only time you will eat turkey, stuffing, or pecan pie.  You can eat all of these foods whenever you want, if you choose to.  And when you do have a more balanced diet without restriction on a regular basis, you will be less likely to let these “indulgent” foods have power over you.  
  4. Exercise even more than usual. You wouldn’t believe how much exercise changes your mindset. You’re so much more aware of your body’s internal hunger cues (your body’s way of telling you when it’s actually hungry, or if you’re just eating because it’s in front of you) and are more cognizant of your food choices.  For example, you are more likely to grab the foods you REALLY want, but leave the ones aside that you feel are just not worth it.
  5. Make time for self-care.  This one is huge.  You may be wondering how does this relate to my food choices? Well, food is a huge comfort and can be a common way you reward yourself.  If you don’t make time for self-care, you are more likely to use food as a form of self-care, because it is so easily accessible.  Food then will be a crutch to manage stress and deal with emotions resulting from a lack of self-care, rather than as fuel.

Remember, self-care does not have to be anything extravagant.  In fact, you’ll get more benefits from practicing simple daily acts of self care, rather than an all-day spa day.  Some simple examples of self-care are reading, meditating, journaling, or spending 10 minutes outside in nature (even on a cold day.). These are all activities that don’t take a lot of time and are easily accessible.

I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season and enjoy every minute of it!

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to grab my FREE Guide to Overcome Overeating below. This may be just what you need to start getting into balance this season!