This is the third article in my series on reducing stress at Christmas time.
Many of us make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight each year, yet we spend the month of December having one food and drink binge after another. We eat like there is no tomorrow, as if we will die if we don’t stuff ourselves until we feel sick.
Have you ever stopped to think about why you do this? What is it about this time of year that is different to the rest of the year? Do you enjoy overindulging until you feel sick or get a bad hangover? What would happen if you did things differently this year?
I have outlined some strategies below to help you reduce the need to overindulge this festive season:
- Eat Mindfully: Eat slowly and really taste and enjoy each mouthful. Before you reach out for another piece of cake or drink, ask yourself “Am I physically hungry or have I had enough for now? Do I really need this right now, or can I wait for a while and have it later?”
- Ensure that you eat some healthy foods throughout the month so your body receives the nutrients it needs, as well as eating some of the less healthy choices. Take along foods that you really love and are also healthy, such as a special dip that you rarely buy, or asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon.
- Be Selective: At parties, choose to eat only the “special foods”, the ones you don’t have very often. You don’t need to eat a serve of everything that is on the table.
- Practice saying “No, thank you, I’ve had enough”. You don’t need to give long explanations or apologies for saying no to excess food.
- Focus on the people or the event rather than the food. Talk to others and enjoy yourself.
- Don’t equate food with love. You can show someone that you love and appreciate by giving them a hug or spending time with them. You don’t need to eat 3 pieces of the cake they cooked to show that you love them.
- Find an excuse to leave the table – you can serve others or offer to clear the table or do the dishes.
- Go for a gentle walk after the meal. This takes you away from the food and can give you time out to relax if you are feeling stressed.
- Be Prepared: Have strategies to deal with difficult people and reduce your stress levels so you don’t overeat or drink to calm yourself. There may be people you don’t get along with at your work parties of family events. Plan before the event what you will say or how you will deal with issues that may come up.
- Give yourself the gift of being healthy this Christmas. Treat yourself with love and kindness. You wouldn’t force-feed a close friend until they felt sick, so don’t treat yourself this way.
Last Christmas Day, it felt so good to drive home knowing that I had enjoyed myself, I had enjoyed the food, I felt relaxed and my stomach felt satisfied. I felt fantastic knowing that I didn’t overindulge. Try it for yourself this December and notice how you feel. I promise you, you won’t regret it!
© Bernadette Blake 2013 www.BeEmpoweredNow.com.au