In the midst of holiday cheer, many people fall into thought processes that can dampen their holiday spirits and cause setbacks on their journey to health. All-or-Nothing Thinking and the idea that the New Year is the time to “get healthy” often set people up for failure as they try to create a new and better relationship with their body.
At holiday get-togethers, we often justify binge eating sugary foods by saying “we’ll just start again in the new year.” This is a classic example of All or Nothing thinking. We tell ourselves that our only options are to either binge or abstain. Such extreme thoughts can wreak havoc on our bodies and are not conducive to long-term success.
We should instead try to think about sustainability by finding ways to enjoy ourselves without going overboard. It is possible to feed our hearts and bodies at the same time. Ultimately, this balance is what AH is all about!
How to Handle the Holiday Binge
We’ve talked previously about the Power of Choice in relation to food and eating. If you do go overboard, you can always start again in the next moment. Health choices do not have to be all or nothing. There’s no reason to wait until the New Year to begin again on your journey to health. Start again with the next meal or even the next bite. You have the power to choose.
If you know you will be attending a holiday party that will be full of foods that trigger unhealthy habits, make the decision ahead of time to eat as well as possible at home so you can be prepared for an off-plan excursion. This has several benefits. First, by adhering to the AH plan at home, your body will naturally crave less sugar so you might find that you have no desire to binge at parties! But healthy eating at home also puts your body in a good place to be able to handle a sugary evening out without causing you to spiral back into your old ways of eating or leave you feeling weak and bloated.
The New Year: Time to Get Healthy?
Many people go from binging over the holidays to an extreme cleanse mentality in the New Year. This approach makes January a time where you repent for all the sugary food you ate in December. Doesn’t that sound fun? We certainly don’t think so!
Instead of berating yourself for your choices in December, why not just own that you treated your body in a way that wasn’t health supportive and then begin anew with a way of eating that energizes you? Better yet, plan ahead so January doesn’t have you swinging wildly from binging to abstaining. Again, think about sustainability. We often view our relationship with food as one of extremes: we can either enjoy friends and family by binging or we can avoid all of it and force ourselves into a healthy lifestyle by sheer willpower. Neither way is health supportive. AH is a lifestyle and no long-term plan will be made of extremes. (This includes extreme feelings of guilt and white-knuckle will power!) You don’t have to give up everything you love in order to eat well and feel good.
After eating the AH way for a few months, people tell us all the time that they no longer want to go back to the way they ate before. Sugary, carb-laden diets always left them feeling bad. Now, they feel energized, happy and best of all, they love their food! We’ve built the AH program to help give you the energy for all the things you want to do in your life, however that looks for you. Avoiding extremes helps you lose weight permanently.
The Big Why
This year, when thinking about New Year’s resolutions, take a look back at the chapter in Always Hungry about your Big Why (page 128 – 132). This will not only help you create new goals for the year, but also remind you that your original goals for beginning AH were to increase your quality of life. If you’ve met your weight loss goals, your new goal might be to cultivate a lifestyle that gives you energy to keep up with your grandkids.
Maybe you’ll find that your life has shifted so your goals need to shift too. That’s okay! AH is a program that can move with you to any new phase of life, not just help you lose a few pounds in the New Year.
We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday! Thank you for joining us on this journey. We look forward to everything the New Year will bring.