Despite how much fun it is to party, a lot of people actually lament the strain it puts on our bodies. People feel obligated to attend and imbibe. It all causes a lot of emotional stress and for many people, the entire season can be a net-negative! If this is you, keep reading.
The Pot Luck
Bring healthy food (and a sense of humour) to your next pot-luck.
- You arrive with your veggie tray and club soda. The group teases you. You are now “the healthy person”. Congratulations, you just made everyone ashamed of themselves. Don’t worry they will get you back.
- When you eventually have a treat, they jump all over you. “Hey everyone! Look! The healthy person is eating a chocolate!” You try to explain “balance” but it is no use.
- Later, someone quietly thanks you for bringing healthy food. You wonder, “Where were you two hours ago when everyone was teasing me?” You then have to hear a 10-minute description of their nutrition and fitness program. Hey, the good news is you just made a fitness friend. Get their email address.
To Starve or To Eat Before Big Meals?
This is a good question. Each strategy has advantages. “Starving” or fasting (not eating for 18-36 hours) before a big meal is metabolically a good strategy, as you create a big caloric deficit in your body. The potential downside is that in this hungry state, some people lose control and binge-eat. Give it a try and see what happens.
Showing up “full” or “satisfied” is the opposite strategy. The idea here is that you won’t be interested in eating the junk food available because you just ate. Well, guess what? You’ll eat treats (something you really love to eat) no matter how full you are. So now your intake for the day is way over your caloric needs. You gain weight.
So I prefer to either fast or eat very little that day if I know there is a big eating event at night. I also exercise hard before the event. This is a big help metabolically. I can then enjoy a few treats and they won’t turn to fat.
Watch For Triggers
Stress, shopping, crowds, darkness, In-laws, etc, can all trigger coping-eating. You need to know your triggers and be mindful of that ball of stress building up in your gut. “Notice and name” your anxiety. Take a deep breath. Slowly exhale.
Believe it or not, a few bad meals here and there, or even a bad week of eating, does not make someone overweight. You might gain a few pounds but those are transitory, usually. What typically makes people overweight is having an issue with food overall. And a big part of this system is guilt.
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Don’t feel guilty about a few negative eating choices! That guilt is only going to stress you out, and you will eat even worse! In my practice, we work on the concept of forgiveness a lot, and it helps people lose weight. Instead of guilt, look for patterns in your behaviour.
In other words, “Don’t hate; evaluate”.