Need some healthy tips for holiday eating? I’m bringing back this magazine article I wrote in 2004 because every single tip remains applicable and relevant.
* If the text is too small in the printed article, scroll down and you can read it below.
Despite your attempts to cut the calories, count the carbs, and steer clear of the holiday food temptations, it would probably be safe to say that the turkey wasn’t the only thing that ended up stuffed on Thanksgiving…right? With another holiday around the corner, we need to make sure to focus on the reason for the season, Jesus, rather than on food.
The holidays can conjure up many emotions and anxiety related to food. Ask yourself this question:
“Do I even know when I am truly hungry?”
Unfortunately, many of us have ignored our hunger signals for so long that we have lost touch with our God-given cues.
Here are 12 tips to help keep Christmas eating under wraps:
- Eat when you are hungry…stop eating when you are full (www.NationalEatingDisorders.org). Sound too simple? It’s not the Atkins diet plan or the low carb diet; it’s God’s plan for you. He set two boundaries for our eating: hunger and fullness. Listen to your body!
- Do not plan to diet on January 1st. Rather than thinking “diet” think “eat smarter.” After all, 95% of diets fail because DIETS DON’T WORK!
- Make a plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with, what foods will be available, what foods are really special to you (that you really want to eat) vs. those that you could probably do without. What are your personal triggers to overeat and how can you minimize them?
- Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished. Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you are also less likely to resist the temptation of eating the higher fat and higher calorie foods. Try eating a piece of fruit, a little yogurt, or string cheese before you go.
- Before you take a bite, ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry or am I confusing my emotions (loneliness, anger, boredom) as hunger?” So often we use food for comfort.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Guilt can lead to depression which leads to more overeating.
- Go grocery shopping when you have a full stomach – it makes those apple pies less tempting.
- If you’re an emotional eater, try creating a list of things other than food that make you feel good. When you are on the verge of a breakdown binge, use that list to find another way to soothe yourself.
- If quantity is your problem, start by using smaller plates. Also slow down, focus on your food so you recognize when you’re full, and don’t preload your fork with the next bite while still chewing the last one.
- Eat Breakfast – Ninety-six percent of people who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast every day, according to Ann McDermott, a nutrition scientist at the Tufts University.
- Don’t tempt yourself by keeping trigger foods or comfort foods around the house. If you have them, it certainly increases the likelihood you will overeat. Susan Barr, Dietitian and Program Director for Weight Watchers says “The idea is out of sight…out of mouth.”
- Remember that your body is a temple…Therefore honor God with your body! [1 Cor 6:19-20]
As we celebrate Christ’s birth this year, I pray that you will turn to Him for acceptance, comfort, and companionship rather than to the refrigerator or cupboard.