With the holiday season upon us, it's safe to say we have already begun to delve into delicious meals and indulge in irresistible desserts. With Thanksgiving recently behind us and the remaining winter holidays coming up full speed, we still have mountains of food waiting for us around every bend. The temptations to overeat are present, real, and often hard to avoid.
Have you ever told yourself, "just one treat and that will be it"? How many times has that "one treat" turned into three or four? Afterwards, how many times have you felt poorly about yourself or your body? Have you ever eaten so much that you feel physically ill? What about mentally ill? If you've ever experienced any sort of food-related guilt over the holidays (or really any time in your life), you're not alone. Whether you're an avid gym-goer, actively trying to lose or watch your weight, or just know you kept eating when you were already full, you're not alone.
Here's the catch. Thankfully, we don't have to feel that way. Food is fuel and we depend on it to keep us going and give us the energy we need to perform at our best. If we develop negative and unhealthy thoughts towards something that literally keeps us alive, we're going to get into a pattern of restriction and disordered habits. Food is not a reward, nor is it means for punishment--remember that.
The trick is being aware of how you enjoy it. Be conscious of your portion sizes. If you're full, stop eating. Don't linger around the food. Pop in some gum. Drink more water. Don't restrict, just limit. The more you restrict and tell yourself you "can't" have something, the more you'll want it. Denying cravings will only make them stronger and stronger over time, leaving you more likely to overeat when you do give in.
It's important to keep perspective in times of indulgence guilt and overeating. Remember, it's one day. One day isn't going to destroy you and everything you have worked for. One day isn't going to make you "fat"--just like one day isn't going to make you skinny. Pick yourself up, forgive yourself (if you feel you need to), and move forward. Get back into your everyday routine. Don't starve yourself the next day to "even it out", don't do an extra hour of cardio to compensate, and definitely don't try any voodoo cleanses or detoxes. That's what your liver is for.
Holidays are not about food. They are not about food. Despite the societal customs we've come to adopt, these winter holidays are about giving thanks, being grateful, celebrating life, and enjoying the company of your friends and family through catching up, reminiscing on past memories, and laughing until you cry. So tell me, would you rather feel guilty over food or guilty for not focusing on what these days are truly meant for?