Good things come with the holidays…a TRIP to Grandma’s house, evening drives to see Christmas lights, get togethers with friends, yummy food, a cozy cup of hot cocoa. The one thing that should NOT come with the season is an overwhelming sense of guilt about what you chose to eat.
I’m sure this feeling is all to familiar and doesn’t need any explanation, but just so we are all on the same page…I’m talking about that stabbing feeling of regret when you are sitting on the couch after thanksgiving dinner and you realize that while you were chatting with cousin Billy you ate a piece of pumpkin pie, a piece of pecan pie, 2 scoops of ice cream, and a few cookies. “I’ll go on a run tomorrow morning” you tell yourself…the run gets postponed when, in the morning, Grandma tells you that pumpkin pie is healthy and is supposed to be eaten for breakfast. You figure since you’ve already splurged once, why not keep going.
Here’s some points that I’ve found helpful for getting out of the mental guilt trap.
1. If you have one flat tire on your car would the idea ever come into your mind that since you’re stuck on the side of the road anyways, you might as well just slash the other three tires. Of course not! There would be no sense in that! We play out this same scenario every time we think to ourselves “oh well, I usually limit my carb intake but I already drank two full glasses of punch and ate 3 dinner rolls so I might as well go all out and eat as much pie as I want while I’m at it.”
2. When you splurge, make it a romantic date…let me explain. The pumpkin pie that looks perfectly baked and comes out of a box from the grocery store is a product of a pie assembly line, fabricated by machines. It’s nothing special and there were thousands of other pies made that are EXACTLY like it. The apple pie with the delicate lattice work and hand cut fall leaf shapes on top that your grandma made with apples from the trees in her back yard; THAT is special. That apple pie is one of a kind (unless she made a few others while she was making that one). Once you’ve chosen the most special pie that’s offered, savor it and give it your attention, make sure to taste the apple, enjoy the mouth feel, take note of how the pie taste alone and how it taste along with a bite of ice cream. Don’t eat your special piece of pie while cousin Billy is talking about his opinion on current political topics…that is not a romantic date with your pie.
3. Be choosy. I know that ALL of the dishes offered at the thanksgiving table look wonderful, but instead of taking a heaping spoonful of each dish, take a little of everything to start with and see what truly is the best! When it is time for seconds you’ll know what you want more of. This will save you from mindlessly eating a huge plate of food before realizing that you are well past full.
4. Go for a walk. A leisurely enjoyable walk that actually happens is a better way to get some exercise than mentally beating yourself up by saying you’ll go on a 5 mile run later.
In the end the holiday season is a time to spend enjoying family, serving others and being present and positive. You may think it’s also a time of eating whatever you want. Consider how well you are able to spend quality time with your family when you feel crabby and tired from eating too much sugar…Probably not very well. While it is perfectly acceptable to partake in special treats and deserts this holiday season, make sure you are not trading a happy mood and positive attitude for 5 seconds of taste bud pleasure.