Enjoying the holiday season can be hard when you’re living with the regrets of Christmas past.
With the knowledge of New Year’s Resolutions looming, it can be tempting to give into the same bad habits that put on much-dreaded holiday weight in years past.
However, holiday weight gain is not a foregone conclusion. Using the lessons of past year’s celebrations, you can prevent unnecessary damage on the scale and enjoy the holidays without remorse come January 1.
If you’ve experienced regret in years past, ask yourself these four questions ahead of the holiday season:
Who will be there?
Food pushing relatives can get the best of even strong willed souls. Even if a relative, friend, or coworker is well intentioned, don’t be afraid to set boundaries, and remember that “no, thank you” is a complete sentence.
What will be served?
Most families follow a set of traditions around food. Since you’ll likely know what’s being served ahead of time, set a clear expectation for yourself on how much you’ll eat and what you’ll abstain from, and then stick to it.
What are my triggers?
Holidays often bring with them emotional triggers: the stress of shopping, traveling, cleaning, and prepping for celebrations can leave you feeling frenzied and apt to self-soothe with the convenient tin of holiday cookies sitting on the counter.
Reflect on trigger emotions and trigger foods and resolve to limit the number of trigger foods allowed in the house at any one time.
Create a plan for your emotional triggers to reduce the likelihood that you’ll turn to holiday treats to deal with your feelings.
How can I de-stress?
Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, sad, lonely, or any other “big” emotion during the holiday season, it’s important to have a plan of attack for how you’ll deal with those emotions in a positive way.
Exercising, journaling, speaking with a friend or family member, joining a new social group, listening to cheerful Christmas music, or engaging in another form of relaxation or social connection can help you handle your emotions without using food.