With just a little life experience certain things become, well, if not predictable, at least pretty likely. Our annual holiday procession of opportunities to overdo seasonal goodies–Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas parties, New Year’s revelries, piles of potato pancakes, copious cups of eggnog, pumpkin pie a-plenty–will end for many people with a sense of regretful gorging. In the face of so much temptation, it is the rare soul indeed who won’t treat herself to just a little tasty something extra, and on multiple occasions. We may start out with the intention to hold the line against overindulging, only to feel disappointed in ourselves way before the New Year’s ball drops on Times Square. The logic here seems to be if I can’t keep 100% to a diet commitment, the least I can do is feel guilty about it!
Well, the truth is that all of this self-imposed guilt and resentment is misplaced. First of all, studies indicate that people gain–at most–around a single pound during the holiday season. But more to the point, this self-directed guilt and resentment is as unhealthy as it is unhelpful. Negative-self talk is likely to result in future unhappiness and unrealized intentions. Beating ourselves up has no upside.
So out with the guilt, in with enjoying the present! And with that in mind, here are a few elements to filter into your mindset now, before the calendar flips to January 1:
1. Give Yourself a Break. After all, we are all human; we have all been programmed to get some measure of pleasure from food. Accept that. And enjoy what the season has to offer.
2. No One is Perfekt! People who adamantly and stubbornly cling to an idea of eating perfectly are setting themselves up for failure. Do your best, and then allow a little wiggle-room. Good enough is good enough.
3. Just a Taste or Two. We tend to remember and enjoy the first and the last bite of yummy treats. The truth is, a mouthful of something delectable is can as satisfying as a plateful of it. So you can have a taste of lots of things…and still not overindulge!
4. Eat Intuitively. That means, slow down the eating and then pay attention; honor the fact that your body knows what it wants. If you eat mindfully–even treat food–it is much easier to stay on the healthy track overall.
5. And Then…Let It Go! Like the “Frozen” song says. As the holidays come to a close, say goodbye to whatever you ate in the past. Say goodbye to however you felt about whatever missteps you feel you might have made, and move on. There’s a brand new wonderful year ahead, we should all embrace it without the baggage of unresolved regret.
This is a first blog co-written by Jodi Baretz and Lisa Ellis, two Westchester County-based health care professionals concerned with–among other things–emotional and nutritional wellness.
Jodi Baretz, LCSW, CHHC, a psychotherapist and mindfulness & health coach, has more than twenty years experience providing clinical services, psychotherapy, and nutritional counseling, and is the author of the upcoming book Mindful is the New Skinny, Changing Your Mindset from Weight Loss to Well-Being. Jodi has a private practice at The Center for Health and Healing in Mt. Kisco, NY and offers Skype sessions. Facebook Group: @MindfulMoms, follow on FB and Instagram: Mindful is the New Skinny
Lisa D. Ellis, MS, RDN, CDN, LMSW, CEDRD is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian, and therapist whose areas of expertise include eating disorders and emotion-triggered eating. A recognized expert in the field for three decades, she contributes regularly to major media outlets. Lisa has a private practice at Integrating Nutrition, Inc., in White Plains, NY and offers sessions on-line. @LisaTheRD www.integratingnutrition.com Facebook: Lisa The RD
Periodically, Lisa and Jodi combine their unique perspectives to share thoughts, observations, and useful advice on mindfully relating to our bodies, the food we eat, and ourselves.
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