Gearing Up – or Down – for the Holidays

This is the time of year when women become tempted to “blow it” throughout the holidays and start over after the first of the year. What is the “it” they are blowing? Usually it’s a relatively rigid idea of what they should or should not eat. The rules are for the most part culturally determined and based on a notion of what is “fattening” or “bad.” Since the holiday season (usually starting with Halloween) exposes women to an overwhelming number of “bad” foods, they feel helpless to “stay good,” and decide to look forward to the day – usually in January – when temptation will be removed (at least until Valentine’s Day!).

Women do not realize that their legalism regarding foods actually leads to holiday weight gain. If all foods are “legal,” then there is freedom to choose what you really want to eat at any time of the year. Then, when the holidays arrive, you do not feel deprived of “treats,” so there is no “hunger” to indulge in “forbidden fruit.”

In my home there is a pretty good supply of candy bars, cookies, chips, and ice cream—year round. And none of these foods call to me like a Siren, because they are not forbidden. If I want any of them, I’ll eat them. But I don’t eat them daily and don’t binge on any of them, because I dislike the physical side effects, side effects I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve either eaten a pretty steady diet of such foods or tried to suppress uncomfortable emotions by binge-eating.

While foods were forbidden, I concentrated on abstaining from, or overindulging in, what I couldn’t have. Once the foods were all allowed, I was free to concentrate on whether I really enjoyed how “too much of a good thing” made me physically feel. As a result, I don’t even think of cookies or ice cream except when I’m really hungry and feel they will satisfy that hunger well.

If you’re thinking about “blowing it” from now until January, maybe your thinking needs to change about what foods are okay all year long.

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