There are a few common behaviors that can lead to guilt and overeating, particularly during the holidays:
1. Labeling foods as either “good” or “bad.”
2. “Saving up” your daily calories for a huge meal.
3. Approaching your food choices with an all-or-nothing mindset.
4. Grazing at the buffet table (or the Costco-sized containers at home).
If you recognize yourself in some of these behaviors, first know that you’re not alone. Second, if you’re wondering how you could change, here are a few ways to enjoy your food guilt-free:
1. “Bad” Foods
It’s hard to enjoy your meal when the voice in the back of your mind keeps telling you that a particular food is “bad.” The normal reaction to eating bad foods is to feel guilty about it.
Tip: Get rid of the “good vs. bad” foods mindset. Yes, it’s true that we should eat some foods less often or in smaller portions compared to others. But labeling a food as “bad” and banning it from your diet can lead to guilt and disappointment.
2. Saving Up Calories
Saving your calories for a huge meal will most likely backfire. If you’ve gone a whole day without eating, it’s hard to stop when you’re full. Plus, skipping meals really messes with your body’s blood sugar levels. Missing a meal or restricting what you eat so you can eat more later on can actually make food cravings worse and lead to overeating.
Tip: Eat regular meals, even on the day of a party or a family celebration. When it’s time to sit down and eat, choose foods that you know you’ll really enjoy. Take smaller portions and pay attention to how your body is feeling. When you feel full, stop. Skip the second helpings, and choose to eat one or two of your favorite holiday treats instead of the whole plate.
3. All or Nothing Thinking
If you eat a “bad” food, all or nothing thinking makes you think the whole day is shot, and you might as well just keep going. Especially during the holidays. One Christmas cookie leads to a handful of caramel popcorn and then a slice of that amazing cake your co-worker always makes and on and on and on.
Tip: Avoid all or nothing thinking, and don’t assume that a single food choice will ruin the whole day. If you choose to eat a piece of chocolate, enjoy it! Remember, there aren’t bad foods.
4. Grazing and Costco-Sized Containers
When you make a pass at a table full of food, you might grab a handful of chips here and a few appetizers there. On your second pass, you might pick up a cookie or two. And so it continues throughout the night.
Tip: Control your food portions by using a plate. No, it’s like a good manners thing; it’s a portion control thing. Similarly, when you’re at home, avoid eating snacks straight from the container. That Costco-sized container of peanut butter filled pretzels is just asking you to take another handful. Instead, pour an appropriate amount into a plate or bowl, put the lid back on, and walk away.
No matter what time of year it is, enjoy what you choose to eat! Try to slow down and make choices that not only align with your goals but also help you avoid feeling guilty.
At Cannon Fitness and Performance, we wish you and your family all the best this holiday season. To find out more about the programs we have to offer our community, contact us today.