Speaking Point: The holidays can be a stressful time if you’re trying to lose weight. Parties are focused around food, alcohol and temptation. So, do you throw up your hands in defeat before the party even begins? Here are some tips to cope and still enjoy the festivities.
Speaking Point: 1. Emotional Eating: Holiday time is an emotional time. While food fuels your muscles, it also feeds your feelings. When eating is triggered by an emotion rather than physiological hunger, it's known as 'emotional eating' and it comes at a cost to your health if you don’t control it.
Speaking Point: 2. Curbing Emotional Eating: The solution to emotional eating is to first recognize it as well as identify a pattern. The next time you have the urge to eat, stop and ask yourself if you're physically hungry. Then rate your level of hunger on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being ravenous and 1 being barely hungry). Next, rate your mood. Are you happy, sad, lonely, bored, stressed, etc.? Then note what food you're craving. This exercise will help you identify whether your need to eat is emotional or physiological, which emotions trigger you to eat, and which emotions are associated with particular foods.
Speaking Point: 3. Action Solutions to Emotional Eating: Express your emotions rather than shove them down with food. Call a friend of write about your feelings in a journal. Get physical or productive. Go for a walk/jog, play with your pet or play a game, or work out at the gym. (Exercise helps release endorphins that trigger feelings of well-being.) Wash the car, clean house, do laundry, work in the garden, or redecorate a room. Calm yourself. Do yoga/meditation. Seek help. Individual or group counseling may be effective in coping with emotional stress. Find ways to have fun and laugh.
Speaking Point: 4. Focus on the People, Not Your Plate: There will be lots of food and worse yet, many of the guests will be congregated around it. Divert your attention away from the table. Join in or start conversations. That’s not to say you have to be the “life of the party” — just engaged. Move around the room and find pockets of conversation. Remember… being a good conversationalist is NOT about doing all the talking. It’s someone who’s genuinely interested in the other person, asks open-ended questions, and lets the other person talk.
Speaking Point: 5. Facing Food Fears: The holidays are associated with food and overeating, but all is not lost if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan. When invited to a party, offer to bring something to share. Your host/hostess will likely be appreciative. Preparing healthier alternatives will ensure you have something to eat. You can still share in the food, occasion and fun. Denying yourself from partaking in what's on the table or bowing out of the event altogether because of your food fears can set yourself up for frustration, loneliness and binge eating later.
Speaking Point: 6. RSVP Stress: Being social shouldn’t mean accepting every party invitation. Parties can be fun but can also be a stressful obligation — especially if it means finding something to wear (that fits), preparing food to share, trying to stay on your ‘diet’, and all the other reasons that you might find unsettling. Before the party season even begins, plan out your calendar. Set aside what days, nights and weekends you want to keep open for things you want or need to do… and stick to it. If a party cuts into your scheduled time, then you already “have plans”. Exercise tends to be one of the first things to be knocked off a list when things get busy, so be sure to schedule it in.
Speaking Point: 7. Realistic Scripts for Food Pushers: When faced with feeling obligated to taste or eat food (especially from family members) that you’d rather not eat, i.e., it’s too rich, sweet, salty, etc. and/or you know it’d be difficult to not devour the whole tray, kindly decline with a firm “no, thank you” without any explanation. If that doesn’t work after several times, snag some other guests and enthusiastically suggest they try it, then slip away. You can also say that you’d love to try it later as it looks delicious then quickly change the subject.
Speaking Point: 8. More Scripts for Diet Sabotage: If Aunt Clara and Grandma still insist, be honest. Tell them what you’re going through, and enlist their support and understanding. You can also turn the conversation around to focus on them. Ask them how they made it, what’s in it, their technique, etc. And finally, if they’re REALLY insistent, you can graciously accept the food, but say you’re really full right now and would love to take it home and eat it later. (Then dispose of it at your first opportunity.)
Speaking Point: 9. No Sat Fats: Avoid eating saturated fats. Research studies have shown that saturated fats affect the hormones that control your appetite. This effect can set you up for a vicious cycle of overeating as it can last for several days. So steer clear of the party platters of cheese and meat, creamy dips and dressings, as well as the buttery foods and rich desserts.