I’ve been getting lots of emails from panicked people worried about holiday binging and weight gain. So, I thought I’d do a post to alleviate those fears and help you stay balanced. Here are 4 tips to say no to extra food this holiday 🙂

1. Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

I will always have this as my number one tip for any “out of the ordinary” situation with food.

Make sure to always keep your blood sugar balanced. It’s super basic, but super important.

Plan your snacks, don’t go longer than 4 hours without eating, add protein to your meals, and keep yourself balanced!

This will allow you to rely less on willpower & discipline, and enable you to say “no thanks” much more easily.

Eating regularly and often (and not “saving up for”) helps you operate from a more balanced, even place! (And this is where we make more nourishing, self-aware decisions).

2. Only Commit To Things You WANT To Do

Usually those of us who’ve struggled with food are the consummate people-pleasers (*raising my hand, as this is something I continue to work on!). We don’t want to cause conflict, rock the boat, or disappoint anyone.

So we say yes to everything. Which then leads to being overbooked, overwhelmed, and overly resentment of who/what we committed to. (This actually leads to overeating–being resentful of saying yes and then stuffing our feelings with food).

Look at where you can say no this holiday (politely, of course 🙂 ).

Can you let go of something that you don’t want to attend? Can you go only for an hour? Is there a way to find a balance between what you want to do and what your family wants you to do?

This can be challenging when you’ve always done something or it’s a tradition to go to an event. If you don’t go or do something differently, it goes against the grain of what people expect.

(But much of this letting go of dieting path IS going against the grain, so it’s great practice!)

Let yourself be in the discomfort of saying no. It’s one of the hardest things I’m still learning, but has some of the biggest rewards.

Remind yourself of the payoffs…you get to be true to yourself AND create a calendar that is filled with much of the things you love.

Typically, when we are at an event or party that we don’t want to be at, we get resentful, which can lead us straight to the food.

So looking at ways you can do MORE of what you want and LESS of what you don’t will help you say “no” to extra food more easily (because you’ll show up present and happy that you are there! 🙂 )

3. Take A Moment To Check In With Yourself Before Dessert

When someone makes a dessert, they often insist that you try it. There’s usually no room for an excuse; if your Aunt makes a killer apple pie, you better believe she’s insisting that everyone try it.

What do you do with the food peddlers? (My dad and grandmother are king & queen of food peddling…I like to think they are only doing it out of love 🙂 )

Pause and delay before you make a decision. Check in with yourself. Get up from the table to breathe and see how you’re feeling.

You can say something like:

“I’m stuffed right now, but might have some later!”

“Thanks, I’m still digesting dinner, so don’t have any room at the moment.”

“I filled up on the XYZ we had at dinner, so may have dessert a bit later.”

Yes, the person may be offended, but they’ll move on. YOUR feeling of “balance” around food is the most important thing.

Create a plan if you need to, have a “buddy” you call when you struggle, or say no if you want to. Whatever it is you need to do, do it! (And of course, say yes if you want to eat it!)

4. Eat Only When You Can Enjoy It

Sometimes, when I know I’m overwhelmed or stressed, I’ll consciously decide to NOT eat a sweet (but reevaluate the decision later when I’m calmer).

For example:

On Christmas Eve, I get together with 30+ family members. Everyone is loud, people are drinking, sweets are everywhere, and I’m always a bit overwhelmed by the chaos. It’s fun chaos, but chaos, nonetheless.

So, I choose to NOT eat desserts when I’m emotionally overwhelmed. It’s not a restriction for me; it’s a way to stay balanced.

I know when I get triggered (when I don’t like small talk, when I get irritated over a comment, when I feel like it’s sensory overload), my old default is to turn to food.

Sometimes (and not every holiday, but if I’m feeling off balance with my food), I’ll choose not to have any sweets during the party. I’ll always check back in with myself the next day and THEN choose to mindfully eat a dessert if I want it.

If I can’t FULLY enjoy it, then I’ll delay my decision. I’ll revisit it when I’m calmer and feeling more sane. And make a decision from THAT place.

Usually, I’ll have a delicious dessert the next day, in a quiet, calm environment and I’ll fully allow myself to enjoy it. I’m able to make more conscious decisions when I’m not surrounded by a million people and overwhelmed with potential triggers.

So if you aren’t able to fully enjoy it; find a quiet place where you can or decide to enjoy it only when you can fully take in the experience.

And above all else, remember, it’s only a few days when “holiday eating” seems to be in full swing. Be easy on yourself and remind yourself it will be over before you know it.

If you eat too many cookies one night, let it go. Don’t let one “bad” day, or even a couple bad days, turn into weeks of binging.  If you overindulge one night, allow yourself to acknowledge, accept it, and gently move on.

No berating yourself, no ruminating over it in your mind, no regrets, and no criticism. It’s hard, but so important to take a deep breath and really let it go.

Perhaps you eat a healthy breakfast the next morning to kickstart your day. You go for a run to get yourself moving. Whatever you do, be kind to yourself.  Criticizing yourself for the extra food you ate will do nothing but hinder your goal to eat better the next meal.

Allowing some room for “error” will keep expectations in check and make for an enjoyable holiday season.

Your Turn: 

Which one of this tips resonated with you the most? Is there something you can say no to? I’d love to hear YOUR helpful tips for staying balanced this holiday 🙂 Share in the comments below.