Tis’ the season for overeating, fa la la la la la la la la. Most people don’t want to look at their eating habits this time of year. Once Thanksgiving hits, most plans for healthy eating and physical activity tend to go out the window. The average American gains anywhere from 1-5 pounds (statistics vary depending on the source) during the holiday season for a few reasons:
You treat the holidays like the last supper. It is a challenging time of year with all of the treats you receive. Cookies, cakes and candy are everywhere! It is hard to avoid. You figure, “What’s the use? I’ll just go on a diet for my New Year’s resolution.” This thought process keeps a lot of people stuck in the weight loss/weight gain yo-yo and you keep battling your body.
You deprive yourself throughout the year. There are many holiday treats and traditions that you only allow yourself during that time, so you take full advantage. Stop depriving yourself the rest of the year. By having access to those treats all year long, you don’t feel compelled to eat them whenever they are available. When you treat certain foods as good or bad, and deprive yourself of the “bad” foods, you will likely obsess about them until you allow yourself to eat them. This tends to be a set up for binge eating.
It is a good excuse. The holidays are a good excuse to overeat. Everyone else is doing it, so you may as well join in. It is a very easy way to justify what you want.
Instead of putting all of your healthy behaviors on hold, continue them with flexibility. Just because the holiday season is in full swing, doesn’t mean you have to have an all or nothing approach. By maintaining physical activity and eating healthfully most of the time, your stress level can be lower and you will sleep better. Allow yourself to have treats, but keep all of your other healthy habits in place. It is all about keeping everything in balance.