The Holiday Food Binge Has Begun!
It’s not your imagination. You are gaining weight as the temperatures drop and the holiday food fest continues in full swing. You likely ate Halloween candy and treats and there are likely boxes of treats in your home and at your workplace just begging you to dip in. You are probably juggling invites to various holiday parties and you are probably entertaining with your favorite holiday recipes front-and-center. Your kids may be tagging along, also over-eating during this two month period. You should know that a new study suggests you will pack on holiday pounds in this short time and it will take much longer to lose the weight, if you even bother to try. The holiday food binge has begun!!
Every year we offer a column on ways to limit calories, fat, and sugar during these holiday months with Thanksgiving and Christmas meal “makeovers.” But the truth of the matter is that you probably need a mind-reset because of the way you interact with food on the holidays, especially if you struggle with weight issues or already have a diagnosis of obesity. This can be especially important if you have a child or children with weight issues.
It may be a good idea to drop the notion of dropping weight during the holidays, even if you are currently doing well on a weight-loss program. Staying at your current weight may be more realistic and help to limit the stress of trying to hit weight loss goals during the holidays.
Though there are likely many treats and family recipes that you feel are unique to these few months, the reality is that you can access most foods year round and bake or make your holiday treats whenever you want. So you need to put the kibosh on that feeling of desperation, “if I don’t eat it now, I will miss the opportunity till next year.”
Holidays are supposed to revolve around seeing family and celebrating with family, so if you do have weight issues, you need to shift your holiday focus dramatically. That may mean limiting yourself to one small treat at each special holiday meal, especially if there are several holiday meal celebrations in succession. If you have serious weight issues it may mean enjoying one or two treats every several days. If you feel deprived, you need to figure out a balance between enjoying the holiday fare and managing your weight. This may require extra support, so consider asking family or friends to help you manage the tempting food environment. It’s not unreasonable to have some sessions with a therapist before and during these holiday months.
If your child has weight issues then you need to figure out a plan with them so they can enjoy the holiday with minimal deprivation, while understanding that obesity is a disease just like diabetes or heart disease. Engage with your pediatrician to create a battle plan and allow your child to help with the diet (and exercise) outline.
Don’t abandon exercise during the holidays. On the contrary, try to fit in more physical activity to help balance the extra calories you are likely enjoying. Try to get the whole family to move more and more often. HIIT can help to shorten workout times.
Making just these changes and deciding to focus on the social aspect of the holiday, more than the food aspect, can help you and your kids to value and enjoy the holidays in a whole new way!!!