The Seven Ways To Keep Food Cravings Under Control During The Holidays
by Sheila Olsen (fitsheila.com)
Sheila Olsen has been a personal trainer for more than five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. Sheila created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.
With the holidays just around the corner, the annual season of binge-eating has begun. This can be extremely stressful for people who are trying to lose weight, and whose junk food cravings become more pronounced during a time when delicious treats are everywhere. The following tips can help you keep these cravings under control and stick to your desired food plan during the holidays, throughout the coming year, and beyond.
Start writing down everything you eat and drink, as well as the time. You may struggle to remember at first, but you will soon pick up the habit. This will help you notice any patterns, such as overeating when watching TV, or late-night snacking. Research has shown that keeping a food diary can double weight loss results, as it allows people to form an objective view of their own food habits. Not to mention that you’re holding yourself accountable.
The holidays are a stressful time, and in stressful times many people turn to fast food. It’s convenient, cheap, and tasty, and it keeps both kids and adults happy. However, it’s not news that fast food is also incredibly unhealthy and high in calories.
If you do opt for fast food, one thing you can do is to reach for healthier choices on the menu. However, an even better option is to create your own convenient, cheap, and tasty foods for those days when cooking feels overwhelming – crockpot meals are the best for this. It’s as slow as food gets, and you can throw it all in there in the morning and come home to a hearty homemade meal at night.
Try not to eat after dinner, as late-night snacking has been identified as a significant cause for weight gain. The secret is to simply eat well at dinner. Don’t starve yourself but don’t carb-load either. Have an after-dinner treat if you want (those festive chocolates aren’t going to eat themselves), and then say no to any further snacks.
Chances are, if you tell people that you are trying to stay healthy during the holidays, you will get some exasperated looks and a lot of “go on, it’s Christmas.” Be honest and try to convey how serious you are about it, while staying friendly and positive. They will understand. MyFitnessPal offers some great advice on dealing with this type of peer pressure. At myfitnesspal.com you can learn about how to role play scenarios that will be challenging, let others show their hospitality in other ways beyond food, and how to respond to food offered with values not outcomes – for example “No thanks, I’m trying to be a better me.”
If you’re a stress eater, then you need to make sure your environment is as stress-free as possible. Taking a weekend to organize and optimize your home can make it a healthier and happier place where you spend time, reducing your need for comfort foods. Also, try to make time for relaxation and downtime during the season, and this includes downtime from stressful family members and co-workers. Less stress means a better chance of avoiding that need for a cookie when anxiety kicks in.
One of the things that makes festive food so appealing is its rarity. The holiday season is full of foods that only come around once a year, thus making it a ripe time for binge eating. Before you reach for some eggnog or a candy cane, ask yourself a few questions. First of all, do you actually like this? If no, why are you eating it? If yes, could you make this or eat it at any other time of year? If so, then why are you having so much of it now?
Finally, this advice may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important. Everyone overindulges a bit during the holidays. If you slip up on your eating plan, just start again tomorrow. Being too hard on yourself can lead to self-sabotage, which in this case usually means giving up on healthy eating entirely until the New Year.
Above all, remember to enjoy yourself. Allow yourself small amounts of the festive treats you love, focus on getting enough fruit and vegetables, and try to keep stress levels low. You don’t have to have a miserable holiday season just because you’re trying to be healthy – in fact, you will probably find it a lot more enjoyable.
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