Published November 25, 2009

Eat with Control This Holiday Season

by Helen M. Ryan

You wake up feeling sick: Head hurting, stomach squirrely, very tired, and thirsty. You know you shouldn't have done it but you did anyway. You drink a gallon of water, eat some carrots and swear you won't ever do it again. But you will - in less than a month. And once more you will feel awful. What did you do? Overindulge with food - and suffering the proverbial "binge hangover."

Holiday Hell
The Holiday season is starting again, and with it comes the constant parties, gatherings, and family get-togethers. Everywhere we look there is food, food, and more food. Most people have a hard time resisting the temptation, but for those of us with food issues the Holidays are the equivalent of hell.
No one would bring an alcoholic to a bar and tell him that just one drink won't hurt. No one would leave a prescription drug addict alone in a pharmacy and encourage them to use whatever drugs they want "just for today." Yet - how many people encourage you to eat at Holiday gatherings, telling you that "one day won't hurt," "you can start tomorrow," or "don't be so rigid?"

One day will hurt.

And tomorrow you may feel so bad about yourself and your lack of control that you won't regain it, pushing your "fresh start" further out of reach.  That is the scary truth.

Losing the Battle with Food
As someone who lost 82 pounds awhile back (and regained a few of them), I can testify to the negative powers of Holiday pressure. It's hard to say  no when everyone around you is eating. It's hard to stay in control when everyone around you is out of control.

But I've already blown it...
Learning to control Holiday eating is a common problem. Aidalyn Soliman Myers of Murrieta lost 60 pounds in the last two years and expresses a sentiment shared by many. "My biggest thing is eating something early in the day and thinking to myself, 'Well, I already ruined it, so I'm going to go all out today and pig out!'" Myers, who is a certified Spinning® and Zumba instructor, had to alter her mindset to keep her weight at bay. "Now, I changed my way of thinking and try to eat healthful after that and tell myself that every bit counts, so eating healthy even after falling off the wagon will definitely count!"

It's you - and only you - for the Holidays
As a trainer, Spinning instructor and motivational coach I should know better. But, like many people, I am human, sometimes weak - and easily led to the "dark side" of eating. The moment of joy, of relief, of sensory pleasure as the brownie hits my lips is indescribably wonderful and almost worth the price. But only almost. We all need to learn to enjoy our food - savor each bite - without over doing it. It's OK to indulge a bit on the Holidays. Just don't go all out, and don't feel guilty about it. Make the moment count.
What are you going to do this Holiday season? Let food control you or will you control your food? The choice is always up to you.