For many of the women I work with who are on their journey to making peace with food, holidays can be hard- especially when they're so often packed with fun get-togethers, and sometimes a cocktail or two, too.
We all want to be able to enjoy our holidays with family and friends-- without going overboard and feeling terrible, mentally and physically by the time Tuesday rolls around.
If you're someone who struggles with eating well during the week and going a little bit off the rails on the weekend or on holidays, this post is for you.
Here are four strategies to use to beat the binge (before it even happens) and feel good come Friday.
1. Feed yourself. The easiest way to head straight into a binge or overeating episode? Try and restrict yourself to 'save calories' for later on. The same goes with denying entire food groups all day long. If you declare 'no carbs until five!', what do you think you are going to go STRAIGHT for at five? C'mon, friend. #allthechips
Feed yourself breakfast. Feed yourself lunch.
The more calm you are going into an event, the easier it will be to make decisions that serve you.
You are LESS likely to overeat and MORE likely to eat just enough to feel good (and sabotage zero) if you simply allow yourself to feel fed and calm prior to the event.
2. Avoid putting restrictions on the amount or type of foods you will be eating.
If this is your strategy for avoiding bingeing, restricting yourself (the very cause of most binges) is not going to help your efforts. The more restricted you feel, and the more comfortable you become (especially when alcohol is involved) the more likely you are to end up saying "What the heck!" and eating ALL THE THINGS.
The more restricted you feel, and the more comfortable you become (especially when alcohol is involved) the more likely you are to end up saying "What the heck!" and eating ALL THE THINGS.
The caveat here is, yes- if you know your body (actually, truly) feels better having a burger without the bun, go for it. If leaving off the bun makes you feel deprived and eyeing the cookie tray, that's not productive.
3. Pace yourself with drinks. Reminder to make sure you're staying hydrated-- especially if you're in a warm climate, and if you are indulging some adult beverages-- pace yourself. Have a glass of water in between. Not because this will 'dilute the alcohol' (not how physiology works) but because it will help you remain hydrated and help you pace yourself. The steadier you are, the easier it will be to decide what ACTUALLY sounds good, and what just sounds like something you want because you don't allow it during the week (another reason why finding food freedom is SO powerful).
4. Permission to say "No, thanks". I like to recommend my clients approach the food table first calmly, with a glass of water in hand so they're not reaching for everything all at once. Take a deep breath and scan the spread. What ACTUALLY looks good? When it's time to grab a plate, have a taste of everything that sounds good. If you don't enjoy it, it's ok to toss it and move on. Forget about offending Aunt Donna. She'll be fine if you don't eat her pasta salad. And if she holds the bowl in your face and says, "Have some more!", it's ok to politely say, "No thanks, I'm full."
If you really enjoy something, take a portion and enjoy, slowly. While enjoying the day.
Remember: food is fun, but it's not all about the food.
So what if you DO overdo it (this looks different for everyone)?
First, don't panic. If you're on your journey to making peace with food, it's going to happen-- until it doesn't any more. You need to trust that it IS possible to enjoy food, be satisfied and eat healthfully, without restricting yourself. This doesn't happen overnight.
Don't be surprised if you're a little bloated. This doesn't mean you need to go on a cleanse. Drink some water. Like, a lot (throughout the day). This will help your body flush out some of the extra sodium and reduce the bloat a bit. Lemon squeezed in helps, too.
Then listen in. What is your body craving, today? If you ate a ton yesterday, you might notice your appetite isn't as strong today. Maybe it is. But you still need to eat when you're hungry. Your body needs fuel and denying it will only amplify the binge-restrict-binge cycle. So eat! But tune in, rather than declaring you've 'blown the whole weekend!' and digging into an entire leftover pie for breakfast.
You've got this, friend.
Want to dig in deeper with me in your journey to finding food freedom? Let's chat.