The holidays can be some of the most tempting of times when it comes to celebration and indulgence. This, more often than not, includes copious amounts of alcohol, treats, and plate fulls of meals.
And of course, life is worth living, so it’s totally normal to indulge a little over the holidays. The problems arise when you over do it…
Indulgence, however, doesn’t mean destruction. Whether you currently struggle with binge eating, or you’re someone to let loose during the holiday season, it may be time for you to consider implementing strategies that can help you avoid such destructive behavior.
What follows will be a discussion of how you can begin to eliminate poor holiday eating habits while still managing to enjoy the indulgences of celebration. By implementing the following tips, you’ll be better equipped to handle temptations as they arise.
Following a Plan
As mentioned, life is worth living, especially during the holiday season. As such, it’s important to allow yourself to enjoy the finer things in life. However, you need to set boundaries, limitations, and rules to ensure that you don’t go overboard.
This is where creating and following a plan comes in to play.
Your holiday plan should consist of portion sizes, a naughty and nice food list, and strategies that you can immediately implement upon temptation, as temptation is likely, if not totally inevitable.
Avoidance is difficult, especially when you’re surrounded by those who are participating in the same destructive behavior. By creating and following a plan, however, you give yourself a road map to better behavior, even when times get tough.
As a tip, consider following the 80:20 rule. Simply put, the 80:20 rule requires you to follow a strict diet plan 80% of the time, while allowing yourself to indulge 20% of the time. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’ll help you stay the course at the very least. After all, a plan is better than no plan.
Build a Support System
As previously discussed, surrounding yourself with those with the same destructive behaviours make it extremely difficult to stick to the game plan. Willpower is one thing, but during the holiday season? That’s a whole other ball game.
By seeking support and encouraging those around you to support you in what you’re trying to do will create an environment of encouragement rather than peer pressure. Often times those that tell you to have that extra drink or eat that last cookie are those who are simply unaware of your goals and intentions. By putting the word out there, you inherently gain support, making decisions much easier in times of temptation.
So, consider reaching out to your family, your close friends, and even send out memo’s to those you’ll be celebrating with and inform them of your goals and intentions, asking for their support.
By doing so, not only does this take the pressure of you to join in on the fun, but it allows you do continue to enjoy the party, just in your own way.
Build Mental Fortitude
While following a plan and having a support system are great tools and strategies to help you avoid overindulgence, at the end of the day, it comes down to your own mental fortitude, willpower, and strength.
In other words, the tools and strategies that you implement are only as strong as your own mind to follow them. Discipline and commitment are the price you pay to reach your goals, whatever they may be.
In order to master your mind, you need to set boundaries and shift perspective. By doing so, you better equip yourself to stay strong with the going gets tough, when feelings of guilt arise, and when fear of missing out teases you with a good time.
Of course, no one’s perfect, and it’s likely that you may falter, however, as long as you have built the fortitude to gather yourself after a relapse, you’re doing better than most.
Fill Up Before Going Out
The primary strategies for succeeding and remaining healthy during the holiday season involve creating and following a plan, building a support system, and mastering your mind. However, there are other tips and tricks that you can implement to make it even easier to avoid holiday binge eating.
One of the most popular strategies? Eat before going out!
By eating and filling your stomach before going out, you kill cravings in their tracks, suppressing your appetite so that you’re not even encouraged to dive into those party treats. It also allows you to be in control of your diet.
One concern that you may have with this strategy is coming across to the host as rude. After all, when you’re invited to a party, aren’t you supposed to accept their offerings and enjoy what they’ve prepared? Of course, but…
This is the intention of building a support system and putting the word out there that you’re on a health journey that requires you to do so. With that said, to avoid feelings of guilt, simply inform the host prior to arrival that you’ll be eating beforehand, so you may not be indulging in all that they’ve prepared. Nine times out of 10, they’ll completely understand and support you in your journey.
It’s a Balancing Act
It’s likely that you’ve heard the infamous saying “all in moderation”. If not, it simply means that life is a balancing act, meant to be enjoyed, but to avoid overindulging in any of life’s pleasures.
This goes back to following the 80:20 rule. At the end of the day, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just do all that you can to set yourself up for success, allow yourself a leash to enjoy indulgences, and if all else fails, act in moderation.