Its time, panic sets in, you can feel your heart beating through your chest and the sound of a grandfather clock going tick-tock in your head.
The days are getting fewer, the hours are drawing in. Soon the day will come.
You’re already starting to experience the pangs, the inner struggle of defeat. Why even try?
I mean you deserve it, right?
You just want one bite….but you feel the weight of not being to your “goal”.
“Everyone else is doing it.” “Why can’t I just enjoy the Holidays?” The thoughts run through your mind at a million miles per hour feeling prepared and then defeated. The constant battle, the internal struggle, the wanting it so bad you’ll give up anything….but will you?
The day is going to approach, food is going to be served, candy will be everywhere, desserts lining the counters and the options to eat every minute of the day will be available. Just how prepared are you for that day?
This how to eat healthy through the holidays guide is a non-traditional way of surviving the Holidays and even enjoying every second without deprivation or starvation.
STOP the Rules:
The first step in surviving the Holidays and keeping your pants buttoned is letting go of all the rules. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’ve become a rule based society, heck we can’t even determine for ourselves when we should drink, we have to be told this stuff. We like numbers, we like counting and we like feeling like we have control.
But the reality is we really don’t have control because we rely on willpower instead of habit. We get ourselves into one big mental battle which never helps us lose a pound.
Check out this study for instance.
The DIFFERENCE between Dieters and Non-Dieters:
There is a true, scientific phenomenon that shows the difference between dieters and non-dieters. And I must say it is an interesting one at that. So all you people who are planning on dieting this Holiday season, check this out…
Scientist Dr. Janet Polivy, a psychologist at the University of Toronto conducted such a study to measure the amount of indulgence a “dieter” verse a “non-dieter” would give-into. She recruited a panel of over 100 female dieters and non-dieters to test their mental status in reference to food given. She gave them each the same size slice of pizza and then presented them with three trays of cookies. The females were supposed to rate the cookies and were told they could eat as many as they needed to in order to come to a proper conclusion.
The mental problem arose, when the servers of the pizza made it seem like they gave each individual a larger piece than the others had eaten. This lead them to react in two very different ways. What Dr. Polivy found was that non-deters perceive that they may have over-eaten on that slice of pizza, so they took it easy on the deserts and ate less cookie. The dieters on the other hand concluded that their diet was “blown,” and “it wasn’t their fault,” so they might as well make the most of it and dig into the cookies.
Okay this study speaks for itself. Whether it “proved” anything or not most of us can agree that just the thought or telling yourself you are dieting, it changes things in your mental scope.
For lack of cussing on my blog because that isn’t mom approved (I got your back mom) you get the point with the what-the-heck-effect. Unfortunately for most dieters it is a black or white matter. You’re either all-in or your out. Like completely 100% out and feeling guilty.
The all-in approach is a dangerous one because you almost instantly set yourself up for failure. It is pretty rare when there are a few perfect moments a week. Life is hectic, things come up and you feel “deserving.”
Like we mentioned this is not going to get you (us) anywhere. The problem with the “what-the-heck-effect” and more specifically dieting is it becomes more about the rules and less about your body and its true and essential needs are. People who diet deliberately ignore cues like hunger and satiety. As a consequence, over time, they seem to lose the ability to use them.
So instead, eating falls under their conscious control and that is no place for an instinct. Bottom line: STOP Dieting
When WILLPOWER isn’t Enough
The reason you fall into the trap of just throwing in the towel and eating…and eating… and eating most likely is simply due to willpower exhaustion. It’s a thing and a very real thing.
Too often we go on the latest diet, or make a huge plan or large goals without any viable or realistic action steps we get overwhelmed. We’re already feeling restricted and deprived and so we rely on willpower.
It leads you on and then dumps you right before you overcome the obstacle at hand. It leaves you dangling from one hand off of a cliff. Willpower is not your true friend and it doesn’t show you anything about your true colors or what you are capable of. It is not the solution to your troubles.
The reason, willpower acts as a muscle and with too much use, it becomes fatigued and allows you to give in. It always eventually breaks down and the rebound you experience will be far worse than if you weren’t trying to control that specific behavior at all. However, in the short-term it can be incredibly powerful.
When to Use Self Control
In the short-term willpower or self-control can be a great asset. But it is all in knowing how and when to use it. While we can’t and shouldn’t rely on willpower to get us through the day and marching towards our goals, we can use it to overcome an unknown obstacle, enter cravings.
When all of those internal signals start flashing, driving you to do things against your better judgement, it is at this moment you can use willpower to quench the flames. However, the more we use willpower the less benefit is has and the less water pressure you have to actually put out the fire inside.
Use self-control and willpower sparingly, saving it for when you really need it.
But Now What?
Choose habit. Always work on the subconscious so it isn’t a matter of decision, instead you simply act on the decision in a positive manner because you’ve created a habit. While willpower is a limited resource habits are a never-ending one. Scientists have estimated that up to 90 percent of daily food decisions occur as a result of habits.
Pick just one battle, one thing you want to work on and create a habit around that thing. It’s training or retraining your brain by pushing out old “bad” habits with new ones. Just like nails drive out nails, habits drive out habits.
The Bottom Line
While it’s never too early to start forming new habits, sometimes this can take a while and most likely there isn’t enough time before the holidays begin to actually have created and stored a new healthy habit. BUT that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be done. Just knowing how your mind functions, what your goals are and being aware of your mentality and more importantly how your body feels will leave you in a good place entering the holidays.
Here are five tips to help you survive the holidays and get healthier while doing so.
- Leave the Diet in the Dust
- Remember your Health Values
- Listen To Your Body
- Focus on the Reason
- Make Something Delicious and Enjoy it!
You’re going to rock this holiday season and healthier than ever if you just leave the diet in the dust. Starting with unachievable goals or goals that prevent any fun will only leave you feeling restricted and deprived. Of course this doesn’t mean a free-for-all. But what it does mean is you taking some time to put a value on your health. Understanding what you want, more than just a fad diet or to reach a number on the scale and remembering that YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST. Learning to listen to your body will be your GREATEST asset.
It does know a thing or two about what it’s doing. Choose to end the mind games and knowing how to eat healthy this Holidays season, make it one to remember.
Pssst… It’s not too late to get that Holiday Guide to REALLY great food that is also healthy. Check out this 3 hour Thanksgiving Prep Guide by clicking on the image below: