Trying to eat well during the holidays is never an easy task. Family and friends shower you with treats and delicious, homemade meals. As someone who suffers from binge eating disorder, but is now working towards recovery, I’ll be going into my first Christmas with a new mindset. Surviving Christmas is possible, and with December just around the corner, I’m going to show you how.
Don’t Try to Follow a Restrictive Diet
The goal here isn’t to follow a perfect diet where we never eat any trigger foods. Instead, learn to eat these foods in moderation and not allow them to lead to a binge. This is something that I’ve struggled with for over half of my life before I mastered it and made a new habit. This Christmas, I’ll be keeping my #1 holiday trigger food on my coffee table.
Keep yourself hydrated
I know what you’re thinking…”Ang, I’ll be drinking plenty!” Well booze and sugary drinks don’t hydrate you quite as well as you think. Alcohol can dehydrate you, while drinks high in sugar can reduce the amount of fluids you body retains. Choose water (it’s cheaper!), lightly-flavoured sparkling water or tea/coffee with a bit of milk.
Don’t Mess with Your Sleep
With the parties, get-togethers and vacation happening during Christmastime, it’s easy to forget about your regular sleep times. Lack of sleep tampers with your willpower and can make binge eating urges nag at you a lot more.
Exercise. I Mean It.
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should just give up every healthy habit you have and just go buck wild! I know that New Year’s is just around the corner and you’ve convinced yourself that you can restart when it comes. You’ll feel in more in control if you still keep some of your regular routine intact. Travelling? Bring a resistance band with you. You can work out every part of your body with them, and they’re cheap and portable. You can find my favourite set here!
Everything in Moderation
I know binge eaters have the most trouble with this part. But would you believe me when I say you’re the one in control? Yes! You can totally say no to those thoughts you have urging you to binge eat! I know it’s not the easiest thing to do, especially if you’ve created a long-term habit for yourself. But believe me, it’s possible.
Ignore Peer Pressure
Christmas is the worst time for goal invalidation. You’re going to be offered a lot of treats and everyone is going to act offended if you say no. You’ll hear “but it’s Christmas! Don’t worry about it” so much that you’ll hear it in your sleep. Believe me, saying “no, thanks” gets easier with practice. You’ll want to give in but remember it’s not worth it.
Lastly, Have a Plan
You WILL be offered junk food, and you WILL deal with people pressuring you to eat it. That’s a fact you need to get used to. It’s frustrating to say the least, but you are stronger than you think. Prepare to politely say no. Have a goal to only have a couple treats/drinks at a party. Choose to order veggies instead of fries as a side dish.
Whatever plan you make you must aim to achieve. Know yourself well enough to make a plan that you know you’ll be able to follow and not lose control. In the end, you’ll be proud of yourself for making a goal and reaching it.
A Bit of Tough Love
I know a lot of my advice here may be scoffed at by readers (and their family members and friends at events). Since Christmas is the ultimate special occasion, it’s the pinnacle of bingeing excuses. Here’s the deal. If you don’t put in the work, you won’t see results. Binge eating is a serious disorder, and like alcoholism, needs to be monitored at all times. Not just when it’s convenient.
You can do it! I totally believe in you and am happy to offer encouragement when you need it. We’re all going to struggle together but surviving Christmas is definitely possible. Above all, you need to believe in yourself, be willing to do the work and be strong.
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