If I had a dollar for every time someone “cheated on their diet” and had to restart, I’d have enough money to travel the entire world — about ten times. Truth is: many diets don’t work. Yet here we are, about to start the Holiday season and I bet you could name a handful of people in your social circle who are trying to go cold turkey on the cookies, cakes, and pies that inevitably (and rightfully-so) accompany this time of year. You may not be convinced that diets don’t work yet, so you tried one or maybe you’re trying one right now. But after being (understandably) frustrated that your Ketogenic diet didn’t allow even one piece of your grandma’s homemade pumpkin pie, you decided, “That’s it!,” and ate the whole thing. Now what?
1. Stop the Shame Train
It’s easy to fall into a guilt trap after indulging in holiday treats. But shame and guilt are only going to make you feel worse. They are also bad motivators, and probably won’t motivate you to make healthy choices in the future. Remember that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying a treat during the best time of the year.
2. Get in Tune with Your Body
It may surprise you to learn that you may actually want the foods you restrict even more than if you were to allow yourself to have them. We tend to conjure these grand illusions of different “off-limit” foods being so unbelievably delicious that when we allow ourselves to have them, we realize they’re just foods. Sure, they’re tasty. But the likelihood that the donut you finally had would turn into a habit of eating 27 donuts every single day is extremely low. Look for a mix of different foods, and get in tune with what foods your body wants to feel its best. Typically, a combination of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, whole grains, and an occasional sweet treat is your best bet for a healthy and sustainable eating plan.
3. Stop Thinking of Food as Good and Bad
Some dieters find that fitting foods squarely in categories like “good” and “bad” is a path to inevitably overeating and guilt. It’s important to recognize that all foods can fit into a healthy eating style at all times of the year. Practicing intuitive and mindful eating by listening to your hunger cues, and appreciating the food you’re eating can help you eat portions that are satisfying without feeling deprived or too stuffed.
The holidays are one of the most wonderful times of the year. Let them to be filled with joy, not stress, when it comes to food. By focusing on your hunger cues and truly listening to what your body is craving, it should be easier for you to choose and savor the foods you eat without wondering whether or not you should have tried that pie.