What to do when the holidays make you feel “crazy” around food

 

During my dieting years I accumulated lots of knowledge on the “best” way to approach the holidays without packing on the pounds. Whether I was sitting in a Weight Watchers meeting or reading one of my countless diet books and magazines I often found the same advice:

 

▪ Never go to a party too hungry

▪ Drink more water

▪ Add veggies to your plate

▪ Only take a couple of bites of dessert

▪ Focus on the people not the food

▪ Exercise

 

While these are all valuable points, my ability to follow through always failed.

 

What was the problem? I assumed these plans didn’t work for me because there was something wrong with me. They didn’t take into account the fact that I was “crazy”.

 

I didn’t just eat because I was hungry or the food tasted good. I ate and ate because there was something wrong with me.

 

How could I possibly stop at a couple of bites of dessert? I was too busy trying to figure out what I would eat next. Would it be another brownie or perhaps I should try the cake. In the end I would have both and much, much more.

 

Food was my escape from the stress. It was my feel good drug. The problem was I wasn’t feeling good.

 

So what can you do when the typical advice to “drink more water, workout and don’t go to a party hungry” leaves you feeling lost?

 

Try this:

 

Take time out to “Mother yourself”. Think about how you would talk to a child. Would you yell at her for being out of control with food? Would you tell her how fat she is going to get if she doesn’t stop eating so much? Would you make her get on the treadmill for an extra hour to “burn those calories”? Of course not. You would speak to her in a gentle, caring way. You would make sure she is getting enough rest, play, healthy foods and fun.

 

Make time for YOU. This goes along with mothering yourself. With all the busyness of the holiday season we often neglect ourselves. Lack of self care is one of the biggest reasons we seek comfort from the cookie jar.

 

Slow down and savor the food on your plate. Take time to really enjoy your holiday favorites.

 

Practice Self-Compassion rather than self punishment. This is a tough one. I am always working on improving in this area.

 

Know that you are NOT crazy, you are human.

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