Today’s guest post comes just in time for Christmas and the holidays. Barrhaven resident and fat loss coach Sophie Smith shares helpful strategies to cope with holiday eating and weight gain.
Holiday weight gain is practically a given for most. It’s not that anyone sets out to put on 5 to 10 pounds in a few short months but it happens to the best of us. The interesting part about this holiday bulk is that we all know how common it is and most of us say “not this year”, but, here we are – reaching for our stretchy pants.
I don’t know about you, but I have long associated winter with Christmas – and with Christmas comes hot chocolate, eggnog, cookies, and red wine (not all at once, at least). This season also tends to mean more socializing, which means less control over your daily caloric intake as you’re fed in abundance while in the homes of others who also associate the season of giving with the season of eating, and in offices who have a daily spread of treats brought in by clients. There doesn’t seem to be any escape from the abundance of calories. The good news is you don’t have to avoid it if you choose not to. You’re still just as awesome in body 10, or even 50 lbs heavier than the one you’re in right now – but, it’s 100% your choice.
“Oh, sure. Easy for you to say – you’re a fat-loss coach!”. While that is true, I am a fat-loss coach and it IS easy for me to say – that doesn’t make it any less true – it really IS 100% your choice.
For example: did you know that you can have one slice of pecan pie and not 3? Did you know that you can have a small glass of eggnog and not a carton? Until about 10 years ago, I didn’t know these things either. I was absolutely an all-or-nothing holiday eater. If I was going to go to holiday parties and be presented with all these wonderful holiday treats, I was damn well going to eat them. In theory, this should count as “owning it”, right? Except that, I didn’t own it. I would go home feeling bloated and unwell, and say shameful things to myself as I undressed in front of the mirror. Then, the next day, I would put away my dishes after my healthy “on plan” breakfast, and suddenly I would reminisce about my gluttony the night before and shame would lead me right to the cookies in the pantry. Because apparently eating more reduced the shame of overeating – said no one, ever.
You see, the shame was my reminder that I wasn’t part of the eat-drink-and-be-merry crowd, as I thought I was. I only joined that club a few years ago, and I knew I was there because I learned to understand my limits. I knew that if I had a third glass of wine I was going to reach for a second plate. I also knew that if I didn’t leave by around 9pm I was going to surf that treat table like Pac-Man and there’d be no stopping me and it wouldn’t be a conscious, shame-free choice. I knew my limits – and guess what happened when I started to understand my limits? Freedom happened.
Here are some of the changes I made:
I would plan my eating during the day so I had the caloric wiggle room for a bit of indulgence later that evening and that removed the “shame” piece for me. Without the shame, I didn’t enter that “all-or-nothing” stage where I turned into Pac-Man.
I made sure I had a glass of water in my hands at all times. I’d take a glass of wine when I arrived and I’d have one with dinner but I had water in between. This helped me feel fuller for longer and it removed the option for mindless eating because my hands were busy. If you have one, you could also bring your baby – then you’d be successful for sure because you’d basically be restricted from any movement outside of keeping him/her from pulling furniture on themselves and eating dog food. This is my plan for this year.
Plan to take one plate of food rather than several smaller plates, fill most of the plate with turkey and vegetables, and eat slowly – talk a LOT. Not only will you be the life of the party, you’ll drastically slow your eating time. Unless you’re one of those people who talk with food in their mouth – then you’ll likely choke on your own food and get a ride home in an ambulance. I guess you’ll still have eaten less, so…
Leave before the party winds down. When parties wind down, more food comes out and more booze appears. Besides, this is when people start to get drunk anyway and drunk people do and say stupid things. Nothing good comes from that.
Every time you avoid falling into a trap of previous events that induced shame, give yourself a mental high-five! Celebrate those little successes! Even if you only ate 2 desserts instead of 3 – HIGH FIVE!
When undressing after your outing, say something awesome about yourself and believe it. You’re still incredibly awesome.
Whether you choose to eat-drink-and-be-merry, or enjoy in moderation – it’s 100% your call. So, own it and say NO to shame because, as I mentioned above, shame is a bad character.
Sophie Smith is a Fitness Consultant who provides customized online fat-loss programs and 60-Day Transformation Challenges. You can learn more about her here: