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Calorie Count Blog

5 Tips to Prevent Holiday Overeating


By +Diane Petrella on Dec 01, 2011 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

By Diane Petrella, MSW
 
An abundance of food and sweets, and the added stress of increased obligations during the holidays, challenge even the best weight loss intentions. Here are five strategies to help you prevent overeating and enjoy a holiday filled with peace and well-being.

1)  Pause and Breathe

Your breath is a simple and powerful coping tool. If you generally use food to manage your feelings, stop and breathe at the first sign of emotional unease.

Try this: breath in deeply, hold your breath slightly, and then release. Repeating these simple steps helps you calm and settle yourself. By feeling more grounded, you can then make more conscious, rather than mindless, food choices.
 
2)  A Powerful Question

Ask yourself:  "How do I want to feel one hour (or one day) from now?"

This question helps you anticipate the results of your choices. Do you want to contaminate the next hour or day of your life with guilt and regret, or do you want to feel strong and confident?

For example, before entering a holiday party imagine how you want to feel as you drive home. Or,  when observing an array of foods at a holiday buffet, imagine how you want to feel one hour later. This question helps you link to a positive mental image and guides you to make confident choices. Repeat this question often.
 
 
3) Carry a Symbol of Inspiration
 
Find a special object to help you feel grounded and inspired this holiday
season. For example, you may like crystals or stones, have a symbol of your faith to wear as a necklace, or a special ornament to hang on a Christmas tree.
 
When you find your special object, imbue it with the qualities you want to possess. For example, while holding your object, say to yourself: "This crystal symbolizes my strength and confidence. I make wise choices."

As the holidays approach, keep your object visible and easily accessible. When feeling triggered, hold onto or look at your object as a reminder of your
strength.
 
 
4)  Write a Supportive Note  
 
Buy a beautiful card and, as your own best friend, write yourself an encouraging note of unconditional love and support.

Praise yourself. Review your goals. Include in your note reminders to use specific coping strategies to manage overeating. Keep your note with you during holiday celebrations. When you feel the impulse to overeat, find a private space and read your note. You'll find comfort in knowing that support is only a note card away.
 
5) Forgiveness

For some, the holidays may include challenging family interactions and painful memories which can trigger emotional eating. As difficult as this may be, do the best you can to enter those situations with a forgiving state of mind. This will help you maintain a healthy boundary and release toxic emotions that can lead to overeating.

Likewise, forgive yourself. Being accepting and gentle with yourself helps you confidently manage holiday stress and emotional eating triggers. The tendency to be upset with yourself for overeating melts away when you accept you did the best you could and let it go.

 

Your thoughts...

What helps you manage holiday overeating?


Diane Petrella, MSW is a psychotherapist and life coach. She offers her clients a spiritual approach to weight release and helps them develop a loving, respectful relationship with their bodies. Receive a free copy of Diane's Seven Easy & Effortless Weight Loss Secrets by signing up for her monthly e-newsletter, Living Lightly, for spiritual insights and tips to release weight with confidence and love. To contact Diane, visit www.dianepetrella.com




Comments


I didn't over eat for Thanks Giving.I planned ahead what I was going to eat.I logged in all foods in advance and the amounts i want to eat.I made it so my plate was worth 1400 calories.When at the table I weighed out all foods on scale to the amounts I had pre logged in.Turned out to be a pretty hefty plate.I even saved 300 calories for desert. Making my total meal 1700 calories.My limit is 1750 but i try to keep it at 1500. But since it was Thanks giving I allowed myself 200 more calories. That's the only meal I ate that day.It was a successs.I lost a total of 3 lbs that week.All without a shread of exersize.I just eat 1500 calories a day and weight falls right off. You have to be dilegent about it though.I measure all food.If I don't know a foods caloric value and can't find it out.I simply don't eat the item.Do yourself a favor.Buy a food scale. makes life so much easier then measuring and you know exactly how much you are eating and exactly how many calories you have taken in.Don't stress the exercise part so much..It's hard enough to deal with the reduced calorie diet.Give yourself several months for body to adjust to the lower amount of food your are eating.Exercise is good.But it also makes you more hungry.and you tend to talk yourself into eating more. since you think you can,since you have exercised.Ive talked myself into gaining weight many times like that.This time im sololy concentrating on diet.I will work out once i get closer to my goal and used to eating less food



Although they are all "nice" things to do... I'm not sure any of them would actually help me not eat what's there!

I would suggest the most important thing before going to a party is to decide what your plan is. Make sure you're not starving, but then decide on exactly what you will eat while there..... 2 appetizers and 2 desserts, etc. What happened to me over Thanksgiving was that I didn't keep my regular routine of exercise which had me moving into my old patterns. But having said that, I only gained about 1lb and it was probably bloat from the starches. But I had allowed myself that at the beginning.

I changed my eating habits two months ago and have lost 13lbs slowly but surely, and still the most important thing for me is to decide what my goal is and really go for it. I'm a sugar addict, so I can NEVER go back to the way I used to eat. For me it's about telling myself the truth and being very practical with how I live.



Wow.  Numbers one and two will work for so many areas of life, eating included.  I think this will be so helpful for me to remember.



Great tips! I'll try some.



Right this minute I am sitting here at work drinking my coffee and wanting that chocolate donut or that walnut pound cake, to go with this wonderful cup of coffee. Its starting already. Everyyear the goodies start rolling in from our vendors and customers and our little kitchen has a new decor. Colorful candies, scrumptious gormet cookies and cakes. Im sitting here breathing, and counting to ten hoping it will help. After eating all the Thanksgiving dressing and treats I know how I don't want to feel anymore, not an hour from now or a day from now. All this is great advice but, Help me Jesus!

 



I agree with bghanks.  This time of year in a corporate environment is very hard.  We get food from vendors, leftover food and treats from group meetings and it is constantly paraded or available to you.  You think a little of this now and a little of that later is not that bad.  Then, eventually, you have added too many calories to your daily plan and feel like a loser for not sticking to your guns.  I like the tips shown above.  However stress and the feeling that you are running out of time to finish Christmas shopping, work related items and travel for the holidays, sure takes it's toll on you and your affirmations for yourself.  Thanks for the good advice.



I appreciate your comments, thank you!

burrall8 - I understand what you mean about these being "nice" things to do, but questioning if they will help.  And I imagine others may wonder about this as well. Please don't equate "nice" or simple with ineffective. One of the reasons these tips are useful is that you are turning your mind's attention away from food and onto your inner strength. You're using the power of your mind to remind you of your longer term goal, which is to release weight, and helps you shift your focus away from immediate gratification. And when you take the time in advance to either write yourself an encouraging note, or to find an inspirational object, you're already setting in motion the intention to successfully manage difficult situations.

I hope that helps and I hope you'll try some of these tips. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

And for those of you at work right now feeling tempted by lunch room treats, ask yourself, "How do I want to feel when I leave work today?" Visualize yourself at the end of your work day feeling confident and proud of yourself about how you handled this. Best wishes!

Warmly,
Diane



Seems all a little to "hippy" to me. 

If the goal is weight loss, I find strength in the math behind it.  Heat in, Heat out... read heat as calories. 

Thanksgiving rolled around and I knew I was going to eat 3500 calories that day.  A pound of fat is about 3500 calories.  Since I'm going to burn calories that day, it was going to be about 1000 calories I didn't burn.  That is less than 1/3 of a pound.  I'm okay with that for a holiday and I more than made it up over the next few days. You've got to allow your self to live if you are going to call it a lifestyle. 

I had about 80 pounds to drop when I started.  As of today I am exactly at my halfway point (40.2 lbs lost).  It can be done without all the angst of over eating on the Holidays. 

This article mentioned "toxic emotions" but I would hold that if you are so worked up that you will not allow yourself even the few days of celebration each year then you have some other "toxic emotions" that are not being addressed.  Food is not your enemy.



Original Post by: bghanks

Right this minute I am sitting here at work drinking my coffee and wanting that chocolate donut or that walnut pound cake, to go with this wonderful cup of coffee. Its starting already. Everyyear the goodies start rolling in from our vendors and customers and our little kitchen has a new decor. Colorful candies, scrumptious gormet cookies and cakes. Im sitting here breathing, and counting to ten hoping it will help. After eating all the Thanksgiving dressing and treats I know how I don't want to feel anymore, not an hour from now or a day from now. All this is great advice but, Help me Jesus!

 


I hear ya! I stay away from the break room at work because someone always brings delicious treats in there... and I don't carry spare change on me so I can't go to the vending machines. My sweet teeth tend to get me in trouble.



I think these tips are helpful but as far as holiday eating, it is what it is. One thing I am definitely doing is trying to maintain my water intake, that helps with the hunger and cravings. I also try to keep healthy snacks close by. So even if I do indulge I don't desire to indulge deeply. I can take a smaller piece of cake or cut a donut in half and still enjoy. Exercise makes me feel better so I try to do it in the morning (in hopes of kick starting my body in burning calories) but not as much as I have been doing, I call it taking a holiday break. I didn't gain weight for Thanksgiving but Christmas is coming and so are the parties. We will see if it works.



Original Post by: kmccpht

Wow.  Numbers one and two will work for so many areas of life, eating included.  I think this will be so helpful for me to remember.


So agreeing with ya buddy :-) These tips will work beyond food issues! This article has really helped me! Thanks for sharing.



Well said!



Original Post by: tinlar

Seems all a little to "hippy" to me. 

If the goal is weight loss, I find strength in the math behind it.  Heat in, Heat out... read heat as calories. 

Thanksgiving rolled around and I knew I was going to eat 3500 calories that day.  A pound of fat is about 3500 calories.  Since I'm going to burn calories that day, it was going to be about 1000 calories I didn't burn.  That is less than 1/3 of a pound.  I'm okay with that for a holiday and I more than made it up over the next few days. You've got to allow your self to live if you are going to call it a lifestyle. 

I had about 80 pounds to drop when I started.  As of today I am exactly at my halfway point (40.2 lbs lost).  It can be done without all the angst of over eating on the Holidays. 

This article mentioned "toxic emotions" but I would hold that if you are so worked up that you will not allow yourself even the few days of celebration each year then you have some other "toxic emotions" that are not being addressed.  Food is not your enemy.


*well said!



I manage to keep myself off from over eating just by reminding myself that I worked so hard to lose those pounds to gain them back over a binge fest. It's not worth it, and I don't like having to face the guilt of stuffing my face with food that is too much to be good for my body. Last thanksgiving, I saved myself from being in the situation by socializing with my bf's family and getting to know more about them. Talking does stop me from eating out of boredom. I also alternate my wine with a glass of water so I don't over drink as well. I think it's a constant effort to look good and keep our body fit but it's not a burden when I know that I am doing myself a favor, to fit into nice things and never outgrowing my clothes.

All we need is just the constant reminder to ourselves that we matter the most, and we should put ourselves first, and do what is ultimately the best for us. That way, we care about everything that is going on, and eat right. Takes years for me to finally be able to say this, it takes a gradual effort for me to realize that we are only gonna have one body and that's it. No amount of self loathing will change that, so we should make the best of it and learn to stop hating ourselves for our flaws and enhance our beauty instead. :)


Original Post by: girlabsolut

I manage to keep myself off from over eating just by reminding myself that I worked so hard to lose those pounds to gain them back over a binge fest. It's not worth it, and I don't like having to face the guilt of stuffing my face with food that is too much to be good for my body. Last thanksgiving, I saved myself from being in the situation by socializing with my bf's family and getting to know more about them. Talking does stop me from eating out of boredom. I also alternate my wine with a glass of water so I don't over drink as well. I think it's a constant effort to look good and keep our body fit but it's not a burden when I know that I am doing myself a favor, to fit into nice things and never outgrowing my clothes.

All we need is just the constant reminder to ourselves that we matter the most, and we should put ourselves first, and do what is ultimately the best for us. That way, we care about everything that is going on, and eat right. Takes years for me to finally be able to say this, it takes a gradual effort for me to realize that we are only gonna have one body and that's it. No amount of self loathing will change that, so we should make the best of it and learn to stop hating ourselves for our flaws and enhance our beauty instead. :)

Those last two sentences are so true!



I slacked for almost 2 weeks. I was just diagnosed with hypothroidism and it sent me into a depression, plus the emence lack of energy this disease causes. On top of that it was Thanksgiving and my time of the month. I needed the break but unfortuantly I gained back 4 lbs. Hoping it is just water weight from my special time. I picked back up on my routine on Monday and I have exercised every day since and have stuck to my calories. I am on meds now, it will be a week on Saturday since starting. Hoping they help and I can stay on track and actually lose weight this holiday season! To realive stress about presents for the holiday we saved up and set a budget at the beginning of the year. We do this every year and it works out great. As for sticking to my diet I simply incorporate the treats into my every day allowed calories. I don't eat treats every day but during this time of the year I eat them more often then not. I did well on Thanksgiving and I plan on doing well on Chirstmas! I have lost 65 lbs since last October! I plan on losing 50-60 more in the next year! The holidays don't bother me. I don't understand why CC keeps bringing binge eating and stressful articles up for us all to read!



Original Post by: bghanks

Right this minute I am sitting here at work drinking my coffee and wanting that chocolate donut or that walnut pound cake, to go with this wonderful cup of coffee. Its starting already. Everyyear the goodies start rolling in from our vendors and customers and our little kitchen has a new decor. Colorful candies, scrumptious gormet cookies and cakes. Im sitting here breathing, and counting to ten hoping it will help. After eating all the Thanksgiving dressing and treats I know how I don't want to feel anymore, not an hour from now or a day from now. All this is great advice but, Help me Jesus!

 


How about....Saying yes to that what ever it is is saying hello to you and your coffee.  And put it to the end of the day.....IF you still want it. 

Just having the mental freedom of making your own choices is totally empowering.  It is there.  You want it.  But YOU will decide when and how. 

And the mind can hold only one thought at a time.  So you can also decide to focus on something else.

That 'scrumptions stuff. ?  It's really not food.  It's sugar and fat.  It's toxic. !!



Original Post by: drgarcy

Original Post by: girlabsolut

I manage to keep myself off from over eating just by reminding myself that I worked so hard to lose those pounds to gain them back over a binge fest. It's not worth it, and I don't like having to face the guilt of stuffing my face with food that is too much to be good for my body. Last thanksgiving, I saved myself from being in the situation by socializing with my bf's family and getting to know more about them. Talking does stop me from eating out of boredom. I also alternate my wine with a glass of water so I don't over drink as well. I think it's a constant effort to look good and keep our body fit but it's not a burden when I know that I am doing myself a favor, to fit into nice things and never outgrowing my clothes.

All we need is just the constant reminder to ourselves that we matter the most, and we should put ourselves first, and do what is ultimately the best for us. That way, we care about everything that is going on, and eat right. Takes years for me to finally be able to say this, it takes a gradual effort for me to realize that we are only gonna have one body and that's it. No amount of self loathing will change that, so we should make the best of it and learn to stop hating ourselves for our flaws and enhance our beauty instead. :)

Those last two sentences are so true!


This is great. !  You got on your own side with these words and reminded us too.  We only get one body and no amount of self loathing will change that....focus on the beauty and LOVE that temple. !!! 

 

Do it often enough?  And it becomes a habit.  !!  I love the wisdome on this site.   And # 2 is a piece I will take away also:  What's THIS choice going to feel like in the morning. !? 

And on forgiveness?  Forgivness is giving up all hope of a better past. !  :)



Sometimes it's fun at a function to count the calories I'm deciding NOT to eat.  And putting it in the bank for when I DECIDE it's time for something. Another strategy is to nibble tastes and leave the rest.  Play but not get dirty.

I mean really. ?  Who's in charge here anyway. ? !  :)



Iamsoonline, that is exactly what I did and you are right. I didn't give in at the moment. Walked away and went back after a couple of hours and only had a small taste of the walnut pound cake with my second cup of coffee. If I had given in at the moment it would have been mindlessly and I know I would have gotten a huge piece without thinking about it and felt bad later. I decided when and how much. I am learning to not give in at the moment and give it time. Sometimes that craving leaves and I dont give in at all or I find something healther to have but still good tasting. Thanks to all of you for your comments and as for the original topic, I like the two first ideas and think they would be very helpful!



Treats with coffee is one of my main problems, holidays or no, but holidays makes it all that much worse.  I really need the caffeine sometimes though!  It's easy to say avoid it, but my lifestyle is stressful, not by choice, by necessity!  Coffee does help.  I don't go overboard with it, the most I drink is two cups a day.  But I like coffee with something sweet and carby!  Even if I eat something healthy, it's still extra calories.  I have a desk job and a long commute, very little time to exercise.  It just adds to my stress to try and keep my calories so low I don't gain.  I'm hungry a lot.  So while the strategies work sometimes to keep you from eating, they don't help with the stress, which is hard to deal with on top of the stress of being slightly hungry all the time.  I don't care what is said, a low calorie diet (1200-1400, which is what Calorie Count recommends for me), often leaves me slightly hungry.  But if I don't eat a low calorie diet, I sure as shootin' gain weight!  And I'm already on the cusp of being overweight.  I'll never forget Julia Roberts saying in the movie "Notting Hill" that being hungry all the time was what it was like to be a movie star.



lpinkmountain, I am with you on all that you said. I also have a desk job, not really stressful however, but still hard to lose weight because of sitting all day. hard to get my calorie count low enough without staying hungry all the time. I know where the answer is but just have not done what is necessary yet. I know I have to up my activity level on a consistant basis or I will never lose weight. Im just trying to figure out what kind of activity to incorporate into my daily life so that I will enjoy it and stick with it. I can't say I have this one figured out yet. Exercise also helps with the stress. I wish you the best and hope your stress level reduces soon. Its not good to be that stressed in life. It will steal your joy!



When I know I am going to party, out to dinner, etc I plan my other meals and workout around it. On Thanksgiving morning I drank a full bottle of water and ate a cup of grapes for breakfast. Although, it was not my usual heavy cardio day I did 50 minutes of cardio and some weight lifting. For lunch I had a spinach salad with light dressing and I continued to drink water throughout the day; this was helpful because I was not starving by dinner. First I placed items such as green leafy vegetable on my plate and turkey and then I add a very small serving of other items I wanted to indulge in. I had a bottle of water with dinner and concluded with a slice of warm apple pie my husband and I shared. Two days after Thanksgiving I was at my prior weight which I felt really good about, as of today I am two pounds lighter. I intend to repeat this over the Christmas Holiday and at two parties I have coming up.



Because I was eating at my parents', and the menu was a collection of everyone's collaborative efforts, I knew there was no way I could count calories with any kind of accuracy. So, I just concentrated on portion control. I ate only my very favorite things, including fried turkey and dressing with potato salad, cole slaw, and sweet potato casserole. Oh, and a nice dessert plate with very small portions of three different pies/cakes. My second meal that day was an even more abbreviated version of the first with no dessert, and I resumed my normal reduced calorie diet the next day. Results? I continued my weight loss as if Thanksgiving Day never happened. In fact, I've dropped a couple of pounds in the past week.

While this article is relevant and no doubt helpful for some, there wasn't much useful information for me. My big problem with weight and eating has more to do with the fact that I LOVE to eat. Food tastes great! No emotional attachment to it other than family time was supper time when I was growing up. My family spent an hour or so over the evening meal discussing the days events, what was going on with each other and just laughing and talking. It's still like that. I just have to consider the simple math of it all - input versus output - and juggle what my body requires and what it desires. I've lost almost 35 pounds since the last week of July and have only a paltry 20 pounds to go. Smile



Thanks for sympathizing Mrspaulding.  I too know I have to up my activity when not at work and also try to find ways to get exercise that I like.  The double whammy is not only do I sit all day, I have a total of 2.5 hours in the car commuting each day and when I come home I'm exhausted, and I don't even want to leave the house again to take a walk, something I used to enjoy.  BF commutes the same, and the only reason he's not piling on the pounds is he does physical work all day.  We tried doing yoga tapes at night before bed, something we both like, but we were often too exhausted even for that!  Of course we keep trying, but it bums me out that it is a constant battle.  I like so many low fat and healthy foods, keeping my weight down used to be so easy for me.  But when I'm stressed, I know this sounds absurd, but I don't even want to eat a salad, I don't want to have to hear those loud crunching sounds and work my teeth that much!  :)  Comfort food is soft for a reason, lol!

Kim, I really love meal socializing too.  That would be a great topic for a thread, good low cal socializing meals!  Food that goes well with conversation!  :)  My mom used to keep a big bowl of nuts in the shell on the living room table, folks would converse around the bowl, and the act of getting the nuts out of the shells controlled the portions and also burned a few calories along the way!



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