Back on Track after Holiday Eating
Food Addiction
3 Quick Tips to Survive Holiday Food Temptations

For anyone who has tried to change their eating habits or even eat "in moderation" for that matter, knows that it can be hard to say no to that chocolate brownie that "has your name all over it". What is even harder, is trying to stick to your healthy eating during the holidays. From Thanksgiving dinner to office parties to the endless amounts of Christmas cookies, it can seem like the eating is nonstop.

If you nibble your way through the next two months, you are not likely to move in the direction you want to go: a place of improved health with a better quality of life. (Let’s face it… every day, regardless of the season, involves numerous food temptations!)

It can be tough to avoid those year-round food temptations, never mind the holiday favorites that you (used to) look forward to every year. It can feel nearly impossible to forego the over-the-top unhealthy, non-nutritious, fattening concoctions of chemicals (which most of us cannot even pronounce), filled with sugar and simple carbs that are manipulated and engineered to make us crave more of the crap that we call irresistible “food.”

I doubt that short diatribe of mine (although truthful) will decrease the temptations that certain treats can elicit. In fact, as most of you have shared with me, temptation is nearly impossible to avoid. Yes – even after bariatric surgery. Research indicates that even billboards can elicit physiological cravings for certain foods.

Similarly, our emotions can trigger eating habits; again a psychological result of how we associate food with feelings.

So before we get into full swing of the holidays and you start thinking about pressing that pause button on your health, take a minute to read over these helpful tips that will armor you with the tools to ward off food temptations at home or at the holiday parties.

1. Reword Your Mind.

When we try to change our eating habits and eliminate certain foods from our diet, it is easy to say "I can't have that". The logical response someone would ask is, "why not?". This can begin to make us feel less empowered and in control of our own decisions over a prolonged period of time.

When we use the word "can't", we are tricked into thinking that we are restricting ourselves from certain foods only temporarily. Similarly, the use of the word "can't" reminds us of our limitations and that we are forcing ourselves to do something we may not be too keen about doing. 

On the contrary, when we use the word "don't", we recognize that our change in eating habits is not just a fad but is a lifestyle adjustment. We create a thought process that triggers us into thinking that we are in control over our decisions and this ultimately propels us into the take-back of our health.

Make a list of all the foods that you want to eliminate from your diet, whether it be for weight loss reasons or for the healing of your overall health. Now, go over that list and tell yourself "I don't eat {insert food here}". By making this simple change in your phrases, you are much more likely to stick to your long-term goals when faced with continual temptation.


2. Open The Gift of New Traditions.

Is it "tradition" to always indulge in your mother's famous pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or it's a family ritual to bake (and taste test) Christmas cookies while singing along to Jingle Bells? Well, this year work to reword that commitment. Instead of following old  "traditions" and "rituals", create new ones that are better for your health. 

As we mentioned above, food cravings are a result of the associated environment we have with a certain food or eating pattern. It can be hard to resist the temptation to not overindulge in these traditional eating habits unless you begin the holiday season with a game plan.

This season, think about all the unhealthy rituals you and your family may have. Now, put them in order from your most favorite to your least favorite. Change ALL of them except for your #1 pick. It is important to keep some family traditions alive, whether they be healthy or not, so you can continue to tell the story of your family history.

Apart from passing down traditions through history, it is also important to disassociate your unhealthy holiday eating habits with your commitment to tradition. Create new, more healing holiday traditions. Instead of spending all afternoon baking Christmas cookies, decorate the house as a family and still sing Jingle Bells.

3. Mentally Map Out Your Plan.

....Or a write it down. Over the holidays, make yourself a written plan to help you stay true to your healthy behaviors. Keep the plan on your smart phone so that when your resolve weakens, you can retrieve it in an instant. If relatives pressure you to “eat more” or “try just a bite,” you can look at your plan and follow through with behaviors that DO lead you to improved health and a better quality of life.

Eat before the party.

With the holiday season comes lots of parties and with parties comes tables filled with delicious treats. As a part of your plan, make sure to eat a meal high in protein before you attend the party. By filling up on protein, you will be less likely to overindulge in high-carb, non-nutritious foods thus sabotaging your healthy eating.

Survey the potential damage.

Before you begin scaling the edges of the food table with your empty plate, walk around and see all of the food options. This will prevent you from packing your plate full of food that you didn't really want but you grabbed because you didn't see that there was something better. We have all been there. 

Practice portion control.

Don't forget that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the days in between are just any ordinary day in regards to your food consumption. Before you sit down for a meal, remember to practice portion control. Grab a smaller plate or only choose your 2 favorite sides out of the endless selection. Whatever your method may be, stick to it and don't leave yourself feeling guilty, or even worse, physically ill!

Celebrate your success. Celebrate your relationships with others. Celebrate you. Keep the vision of where you are headed in the forefront of your mind every day. We move in the direction of what we think about the most. Therefore, think about being bigger and stronger than the temptations you will meet every day and live according to that reality.

Avoid temptations by keeping your goals in mind, remembering the success you are already enjoying and by reaching out for help when you need it. Remind yourself: My Health. My Responsibility. This Day. Every Day.

See if this is right for you.
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