When the holidays arrive do you just say fuck it to any healthy eating plans you had set in place? If you do, you’re not alone. And most likely, you spend the next 6 months getting Summer Bod ready only to then repeat the cycle a few months later. It’s a never ending yearly self-sabotage situation.

I’ve fallen victim to the holiday struggle far too many times but one thing I’ve realized over the years is that surviving it really relies on one thing: getting your mind right.

Understanding any food triggers you might have is the first step to combatting any unintentional or unwanted overindulgence during the holidays. Maybe you’re someone who just likes to stuff your face for one day and then you are totally fine the rest of the month, but for some people it’s much more complex than that. One of the biggest challenges and triggers for me is that I easily slip into an I have to eat this all right now because it’s my only chance mindset (without even realizing my mind is there).

When I was younger my family would make an entire separate mixing bowl of mashed potatoes just for me, because as an overeater I was never full until I ate a vat of mashed potatoes. And of course, I saw the holiday season as my only chance to eat like this without judgement. It’s so easy to see pies, stuffing, potatoes, and ALL OF THE CARBS and have your mind play mean tricks on you. I know my mind tends to say IT’S HERE AND I NEED TO EAT IT ALL! Is it just me? No? Maybe you can relate.

stickman-carbs

If you spend all year restricting yourself, it’s more likely that you’re going to think OMG NOW IS MY ONLY CHANCE. And the OMG NOW IS MY ONLY CHANCE voice not only forces you to eat more than you actually need or want, but it can also spiral and follow you through the rest of the season. Because that voice thinks Hell, what’s one more day? Until suddenly there are no more mashed potatoes in the house and gym memberships are on sale.

Our bodies are programmed to survive and when we restrict or tell our bodies no over and over and over again, that no turns into a temptation and during the holidays that temptation screams bloody murderous pie.

If you have similar struggles to what I’ve gone through, I challenge you to do this (and quite honestly I think it will help you survive the holiday season) – make an early New Year’s resolution to live a life of more balance. Then know that every once in a while you can allow yourself to eat pie. Remind yourself that cake will always be there, that mashed potatoes are only a few ingredients and you can make (or buy) them whenever you want, and that just because it’s “The Holidays” doesn’t mean you have to sabotage yourself by falling off the bandwagon, gaining a million pounds, and spend the following months in a state of regret, restriction, and panic.

Allow yourself to indulge from time to time year round, make healthy choices as much as possible, and know that you are only human and as humans we will always face the challenge of temptation and delicious carbs. So when you see that pie on Thanksgiving Day, know that you can have a piece of it and that if you want to have another piece next month and the next month and the next month that it’s ok. I think your brain will have a much easier time saying no to the whole pie.