Happy (almost) New Years! Our plan is to enjoy New Year’s Eve, but also to stay in control of our eating and drinking so that we can feel good every minute of 2016 and start 2017 in a great place. What’s your plan?
Some dieters tend to consistently eat until they’re overly full – often saying something like, “I just like to eat.” We remind them that if they work on portion control, they’re not giving up eating, they’re only giving up OVEReating and the uncomfortable sensation of having eaten too much.
Sabotaging Thought: I can’t throw away this leftover holiday food, it would be a waste of food and money.
Response: If I eat food my body doesn’t need, it will be wasted in my body by turning to fat. Wasted in the trashcan or in my body, either way it’s wasted. Also, the money is already gone, eating the food won’t bring the money back, but what it may do is cause me to gain weight.
If you’re surrounded by tempting holiday food, it’s critical that you have a list of distracting activities you can do once a craving hits. Remember that cravings only last as long as we pay attention to them, and the moment you get distracted is the moment the craving starts to go away. You don’t have to power through a craving on your own (although you can!). Use distractions – they will help!
Over and over again we hear from dieters how gaining control of their eating has positively impacted their lives in so many ways beyond weight loss and how, as they go, they discover so many new advantages that they hadn’t foreseen at the beginning. Why wait even one more week to start working towards such an important life change? Make healthy choices TODAY and that way, at least you can look back and say you really turned things around by the end of the year.
Remember, your body doesn’t know or care that it's Christmas weekend. While it may be perfectly reasonable to have extra calories over the next few days, do it in a deliberate and planned way, instead of just allowing yourself to eat more and telling yourself that it doesn’t count. Also, if you eat extra in a planned way, you’ll enjoy it more because you’ll know that it’s part of your plan for the day, and you’ll be on track the whole time so you’ll have nothing to recover from.
If you want to lose weight during the holiday season, or even maintain your weight, the simple fact is that you won’t be able to eat all the holiday treats that you want. Work on eating the treats you plan to eat slowly and mindfully and keep in mind that one cookie eaten slowly and while enjoying every bite can be more enjoyable than four cookies eaten very quickly without paying much attention to them.
Sabotaging Thought: My eating has been so bad lately, I’ll just wait until the New Year to get back on track.
Response: Absolutely not! I will get back on track right now because every minute I eat off track is another minute I feel bad about myself and my eating. It’s worth it to me to get back on track now and start the New Year off right.
If you think, “The holidays are stressful and I just want to relax and not have one more thing to worry about,” remind yourself, “In the past I’ve seen that worrying about my weight and feeling bad about my eating is a huge drain. Maintaining control over my eating will actually make me feel better because it’ll help me feel more in control in general AND it will reduce my stress because I won’t have to worry about gaining weight.”
Working to stay in control of your eating can be difficult and can sometimes feel not worth it, but ultimately the rewards of losing weight are SO MUCH more important and ALWAYS worth it, no matter how hard dieting may feel at any given moment. This is true, maybe even more so, during the holiday season when staying in control can feel so much harder but doing so feels so much more empowering.
The Beck Diet Program was developed by Dr. Judith S. Beck with Deborah Beck Busis, LCSW.
Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading international source for training, therapy, and resources in CBT.
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