My friend Rachel originally posted this in our local paper {The Daily Local} on Christmas Eve.  I’m a little late to the game sharing but she gave me permission to repost and I thought it had some really good tips regarding overeating during the holidays.  First off, you did NOT gain as much as you think.  As we enter into New Years and everyone sets healthier eating goals, give yourself a break and read this article that has some helpful advice for your next party.

Rachel is a nutritionist and she works with the Seeds of Hope eating disorder program in Exton, PA.

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How many times have you said or heard someone say “I’m going to gain 10 pounds over the holidays!” Or at that holiday party, “I can’t eat that, I’m trying to be “good”.”

How about, “I’m going to just eat whatever I want and then start my diet in January.” We all know someone who has said these or similar things (and may have even said them ourselves!), but the holiday foods don’t have to be surrounded by feelings of guilt.

Cookies, candy, wine, eggnog, savory appetizers and large meals are a hallmark of the holiday season. Well meaning friends and family make them part of their get- togethers, drop them off as a holiday wish, share them when you stop by to visit.

These foods are as much a part of the season as lights, songs, and Santa. We shouldn’t have to feel like we cannot enjoy these foods as part of the season as much as we enjoy the other parts! Follow these tips below to approach eating differently this year.

Plan before you go. If you know that you are going to an office party, or a night out with friends, plan ahead for the choices you will make. This doesn’t mean not eating all day in preparation; if you do that it sets yourself up to overeat later. Eat smaller, well-balanced meals during the day, and have a light snack before you head out. By eating normally throughout your day, you are sending you body the message that it is being fed normally, and can continue to eat normally later in the evening as well.

Survey your options. Once you are faced with the deliciousness that is holiday food, take it all in with your eyes. Make choices on the foods you really want to taste, and put these on your plate. Stick with these foods, and feel good about it.

Savor them, and know that you don’t need to eat everything on the table. Don’t give your food power. Food shouldn’t have the ability to determine our self worth. There is no such thing as a “good” food or a “bad” food, only foods we eat more often, and foods we eat less often. Although many holiday foods are choices we make “less often”, it doesn’t mean we should enjoy them less, or feel badly about ourselves after the fact.

Remember this is only a few weeks out of the year. Yes, foods tend to be rich and indulgent at this time of the year. Enjoy them! By not allowing ourselves to have certain foods, we crave them more and in turn are more likely to overeat them.

Studies show that most people actually only gain 1-2 pounds over the holiday’s; not the 10 or more most of us think.

Stick to your schedule, stay active, enjoy the people around you, and appreciate the season instead!

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