Holiday time I'm tempted to overeat. (photo-Alison Marras)
Today, I stood on the scale, and my weight was normal. “All is good,” I thought to myself.But a dark thought took over, “It’s holiday time. How will I stay at this weight?” Holidays can be an obstacle to a stable weight, but they don’t have to be. There are preventive measures you can take to avoid weight gain. I know, I know. It’s downright impossible with all the delicious food. I remember ages ago when I spent my first Thanksgiving of my college years with my grandma and my aunts and uncles. Dormitory food was blah. Home-cooked food was for those who could go home. I couldn’t go home because my parents were overseas. But my aunt’s cookies left me longing for one more.And so I kept eating one more until my jeans wouldn’t button up, and my stomach felt as if would burst like a balloon. I went to bed wishing I hadn’t eaten that one extra cookie. I’d dream up how I’d run in the morning and feel better. But morning came, and grandma had a breakfast of eggs and bacon ready for me. She pushed me to eat lots. I didn’t feel any hunger during that Thanksgiving holiday. Some hunger pains would have been a relief. It was my first Thanksgiving away from home and I was unprepared. The first step to not gain weight during any holiday season is to be prepared. Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed. You are prepared when you know what to expect. I had grown up with having turkeys and all, but nothing could prepare me for the vast amount of desserts and sweet things available. My head still spins when I remember all the different kind of cookies (can you tell I’m obsessed with cookies?) pies and candies that were there. It was a feast. And I wanted everyone to be happy with me. Every time I was offered something, I said, “Yes, thank you.” Even if I was full.But after that experience, I learned how to say, “No, thank you, I’ve had enough.”I’d say that sentence is one of the most important sentences for anyone to say and is key to not gaining weight. You need to say it even when someone insists and says, “Oh come on have some more. You know you want it.” It requires you to buckle down and be firm. Another thing I’ve learned is that I have to decide ahead of time what I’ll allow myself to eat. It’s much easier not to overeat if you decide ahead of time that you will only have one of the desserts. But to help myself be successful, I’ll allow myself one dessert and give myself room to try maybe a part of a couple of others. I’m only human after all.Recognize what food is your weakness. Which food might cause you to overeat. And set yourself a limit. Cookies are my weakness. I could eat and eat cookies. So with cookies, I have to tell myself the amount I can have, and I get them on a plate, and I get away from the table to eat them in another place, so I don’t have easy access to seconds. The other thing that helps me not to overeat is to sit down when I am eating. Or if I must stand, I make an effort to think about what I am eating, what it tastes like, the texture, the aromas. It’s a way to enjoy eating, and I get satisfied sooner. The longing for more cookies vanishes. I’m no longer left craving for my aunt’s cookies like I was that Thanksgiving so long ago. I know that I can stop and don’t have to eat just one more cookie. Be prepared and have a plan this holiday season. Decide how much you want to eat ahead of time and stick to your plan. Better yet, why don’t you get a buddy to do this with you? Accountability is a great motivator! And you can get some encouragement from me by joining my Facebook group at Heart2Live.com where we encourage each other to keep fit and healthy.