7 Ways to Avoid Overeating When the Holiday Treats Are EVERYWHERE

christmas cookiesEnjoying  the holidays AND feeling in control with holiday treats and choices can be a challenge—‘tis the season. Clients and vendors are sending boxes of chocolates and holiday treats. Everyone and her mother is baking, the lunchroom has a counter full of cookie trays and everyone’s desk seems to have sprouted a candy jar overnight. It’s wonderful—unless you are trying to lose weight or gain control of emotional eating and overeating.

Here are some tips for staying in the driver’s seat with food and weight during the holidays:

  1. Have plans. Make decisions ahead of time about what you are truly interested in savoring and indulging in and the portion that you will take.  For instance, there are certain once-a-year homemade foods and artisan chocolates that I only see in December. I do indulge in these, and I make sure that I mindfully enjoy every bite. On the other hand, I don’t really need to taste the candy canes, colored M&Ms, and store bought desserts that aren’t really that special to me. Knowing I’m going to eat the really special stuff means I don’t feel deprived when I don’t eat the other choices. One more thing–when you do indulge–serve yourself a portion. Don’t just keep going back for tiny tastes. By serving yourself and stopping to eat and really taste it, you’ll enjoy it more and probably eat less.
  2. Find solidarity. If you work in an office, I can practically guarantee you that you aren’t the only one who’d like to stay on track with your eating and your weight this season. Can you and your coworkers agree on areas where the food will and won’t be? Can you find a partner to keep you motivated and to talk you down when the food is just too compelling? Someone who’d like to spend their break taking a brisk walk instead of smelling the sugary treats?
  3. Don’t go hungry. You’ll eat more and have less impulse control. Make sure that you have healthy and filling options around. I know you are busy, but take the time to pack a healthy lunch.
  4. Be aware of the times of day when you are more tempted or more susceptible to emotional eating (stress eating, comfort eating, eating as a pick-me-up). Know the occasions when you might be especially tempted and create a strategy ahead of time that you can implement–instead of overeating.
  5. If you do overindulge (don’t we all?) forgive yourself and keep moving forward making the best choices you know how to make. Resist any urge to beat yourself up about it. Self blame tends to lead to emotional overeating or bingeing or all-or-nothing eating (“Now I’ve blown it so I might as well go all out!”). Not helpful.
  6. Find other ways to socialize, take care of yourself, or reward yourself that don’t involve food so that avoiding the cookie tray isn’t all about deprivation. What nonfood treat can you have instead of eating food you don’t want to indulge in?
  7. Join the party. Share a dish that you want to enjoy and that you really love. It doesn’t have to be dessert–in fact, your colleagues will probably appreciate a break from all the sugar. What about a pot of soup or a favorite tea? This is the time of year I love a bowl of satsumas to snack on.

Take good care,


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