Need some strategies for managing through the holidays? Consider these tips (also posted previously in 2007 and 2011):
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1. Figure out why you are going to a social occasion like a party or family gathering. (See chapter 25 in Thin Within.)
– Write down your purposes in attending and plan accordingly. Most of us, once we have decided to surrender this area of our lives, don’t go to parties intending to overeat. So ask yourself if it is because you want to connect with family, friends and co-workers, it is easier to accept that food isn’t required for that.
– Then, when you get to the event, achieve your goal! Socialize or network or whatever it might be!
2. When planning to attend a social event that includes food, plan to be at a zero (stomach totally empty) by eating a smaller meal earlier in the day.
– It may be unreasonable for you not to eat at some events–like sit-down holiday dinners and the like. If your event is at 7pm, for instance, and you get hungry at 5:30 pm–you are definitely at a 0 at 5:30pm–then have just a few crackers or a cup of milk or something that will just remove the hunger. You don’t need to eat to a 5. This way, you will be more likely to arrive at your holiday dinner at a 0 and ready to eat.
– You can also “ride the 0” a little while unless you know yourself well enough to know that you will have a hard time eating slowly if you get “too hungry.” When we eat too fast, it is easy to eat way too much.
3.) When you are eating 0 to 5 at a holiday party and there are TONS of choices from which to choose, you can look at all that is offered and evaluate before you choose the foods you will eat which choices are most likely to be “teasers,” “pleasers,” and “whole body pleasers” (see chapter 18 in Thin Within). You want to be “picky” about what and how much of each “pleaser” or “whole body pleaser” food you select.
– Identify which foods offered are teasers and don’t even “go there.”
– If something is available all year long (like fresh french bread) you may want to forego selecting it in favor of something that is a favorite at holiday time (chocolate peppermint pie? LOL!).
4. ) Look around the party or dinner for a naturally thin eater and note their behaviors. See if you can spot someone who is naturally thin, but who is enjoying the party without overindulging. (This may be tough as most Americans use holidays as an excuse to eat way more than we need…thus the “average” American gaining 8 pounds in two month’s time.)
5.) Sometimes people give gifts of food. It is true that some people love on others by giving food any time of the year–all the more during the holidays! In Thin Within, there is nothing wrong with having a small piece of whatever food that you receive, of course. If you know that you can withstand temptation to overeat it, feel free to have it in your home, of course! But if you know that you can’t handle the temptation, then here are some suggestions:
– When someone wants to send you home with a bunch of treats 🙂 either politely tell them “No, thank you,” or oblige and state (or not) that you will be glad to share the treats with others…then re-gift them as soon as possible before temptations lures you into eating them.
– I found that friendships didn’t end and family members didn’t disown me if I refused food from them. Maybe your friends and family are different…but really, when you consider where “people pleasing” has gotten most of us, it is like a death sentence. Most people who love us well enough to give us food gifts are aware of our struggle. Depending on the person, I have admitted my weakness as I explain why I have to turn down their kind offer.
– When you end up with treats anyhow…THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FLUSHING THEM DOWN THE TOILET THE MINUTE YOU WALK THROUGH THE DOOR! If you are like me and sometimes need “permission” to do something so drastic, consider this a blanket permission… “Flush the cookies, cakes, pies, candy, whatevers…down the toilet!”
6.) Put the fork down between bites when you are eating out or at a holiday party. This helps slow me down quite a bit any time…not just for holiday parties.
7.) Maybe most importantly, EXTEND GRACE to yourself. If you “blow it” for a party or a meal or even for a day or a week…just OBSERVE and CORRECT! This isn’t a diet, so you don’t have to feel like you “blew it!” Instead, you just had a step or two back on your path…but forge ahead “forgetting what is behind!” Remember this is a journey…a life long journey! God extends grace to you in all things, so extend some to yourself!
What about you? Do you have strategies that have helped you make it through the holidays?