Halloween sets it up with the candy, and if you have kids who are competitive they want all the candy. Of course as a good parent you can’t let your kids eat all the candy so you take one for the team and charge a candy tax, and sneak one or two pieces along the day…every day.
And then Thanksgiving shows up as the candy starts to run out. The same sugar shows up in the form of pies and turkey shaped cookies. You are served the largest meal of the year and then fall asleep in a food coma with dreams of marshmallows dancing on sweet potatoes.
From that point on it doesn’t stop until the new year. You immediately start the 25 days of Christmas Cookies and enter into a sugar induced coma until you come out and it’s New Years Day.
I wish I was writing this and telling you it’s easy to avoid the overeating. I’d like to tell you to eat a bunch of salad before you go to a holiday party and that will prevent you from craving the dips and sweets in front of you.
I can’t and I don’t think there is a right answer for everyone. We all have a different relationship with food and different struggles that drive us to overeat. I can only tell you what I do for myself during this time in order to hopefully pass on some tricks for you to carry with you.
I work out every day
Even if it’s simply getting out with my headphones, listening to music and going for a walk, when the holidays hit in November and December I make sure I move every day. It’s a reminder how good it feels to feel healthy.
I start being strict on my overnight fasting
I stop eating late at night. I’ve been giving myself 13-15 hours of overnight fasting time (usually 8pm – 9 or 10 AM.) This is giving my body a chance to catch up.
I heard the analogy: If you always are hosting guests in your kitchen, when do you get the chance to deep clean your kitchen? Similarly if you never stop eating, when does your body ever get a chance to deep clean all the cells and excess that you take in and get it out of your system.” That stuck with me and since I’ve tried to give my body that break overnight to deep clean.
I go to sleep.
I would argue sleep is one of the most important, especially during the holidays. Skimping on sleep can be detrimental. You can’t out exercise or eat healthy enough to make up for the lack of sleep you might be getting during the holidays. Stress is heightened during the holidays and lack of sleep will only heighten your stress which typically drives majority of people to overeat.
I don’t keep the cookies or tempting food in my house
If I make cookies with my kids, we package them up and spread Christmas cheer to our neighbors (after we of course eat a few). I do my best to not keep tempting foods in the house, because it’s near impossible to say no to oreo balls until they are all gone. Typically I don’t cook enough food to have leftovers for days, I make enough for our meal and then we typically try to go back to our normal eating routines of mostly plants as soon as possible.
I don’t socialize near the food table
If I’m at a party and I happen to end up talking to people near the food table I will 100% eat more food than I would if we were talking across the room. There are many parties that Josh and I leave and I instantly say “I’m starving” and he always replies “we just left a party that had a full spread of food”. When I’m at parties with friends I make it about them. I usually spend so much time talking and hanging out, I forget to eat or don’t have time to make it to the food table.
This is what works for me when the holiday eating starts. You need to figure out what works for you and come prepared every November and December to fully enjoy without overindulging in all the fun. Make your holidays centered on the people you are with and the memories you’re making, not the food that you are eating.