When you think of the holidays, is food one of the first things that comes to mind? Some of us can’t wait to cook, bake and eat all of those things we don’t make the rest of the year.
For others, it strikes fear of overindulging and gaining weight. Do you think, “How am I going to control myself around all those tempting foods?” If so, therein lies the problem. If you think that way, you are approaching the holidays – and eating in general – from a mindset of scarcity.
It’s not your fault. In our diet-obsessed world, this is how we are taught to approach eating: you are going to be faced with an array of tempting foods, you have no control, but you have to resist eating them. How depressing!
You may also be thinking: “I only have eggnog once a year, so how can I not have some?” or “We never eat latkes except at Hanukkah!” And this mentality makes you think that there is a scarcity of delicious food in your life, and therefore you must eat these goodies while you can!
But is that really true?
Is there really a lack of yummy food in your life on a regular basis?
I’m not talking about what is in your refrigerator right now or the rules you may have imposed on what you can and can’t eat. I’m talking about what food choices you have available if you want them.
My guess is that most people who are reading this have got tons of options. You can buy or prepare a dizzying assortment of delicious food very easily and most – if not all – of the time.
You probably don’t have to go very far to find a good restaurant, bakery or gourmet shop. Even your local supermarket may have all kinds of scrumptious things to eat.
In other words, you live in a world with an incredible abundance of good food! So why view the holidays like this is your last meal? It is that mindset of scarcity that makes you feel like you need to eat these foods just because they’re there.
What if you adopted an abundance mindset? Instead of thinking, “This may be the last time I get to eat this,” think, “There’s so much great food to choose from! And I’m only going to eat the best things that I love the most. I deserve the best!”
This one change in your thinking can make the difference between really enjoying your food without letting it control you and overindulging, and going overboard. I have seen this approach make a world of difference with my weight loss clients and their ability to not overeat.
Here are some guidelines for approaching holiday eating, and eating any other time for that matter, from an abundance mindset:
Eat only when you’re hungry, but don’t wait until you’re ravenous. When you allow yourself to become too hungry, you may be less selective and overeat.
Give yourself permission to eat the foods you love. If you’re at a party or a dinner with a lot of choices, scope out the offerings. Then tune into your body. What does it want? Not your eyes, your body!
Maybe your body doesn’t really want those rum balls you thought you liked, and would rather have the Greek Shrimp with some of that beautiful salad topped with pomegranate seeds and toasted pecans.
If you are distracted by conversation, savoring your bites might get tricky. But you can alternate between eating and talking. Remember, you’re eating these scrumptious holiday foods because they taste great, so be sure to enjoy the flavor.
Stop eating when you’re lightly full. Know that if you are not going to overeat, you may be able to have only a few bites of each choice. Your experience will be much more enjoyable without a bout of indigestion later. And if you don’t overeat, you won’t gain weight.
Don’t eat anything to please someone else. Just because Aunt Edna made her special pudding that you’re not particularly fond of doesn’t mean you have to eat it. She’ll love you anyway.
If you know there’s chocolate mousse cake for dessert – and you want some! – eat lighter during the meal so you aren’t full when the cake is served.
If you overeat, don’t use it as an excuse to overeat even more. Know that there will be many more opportunities in your life to eat delicious food. Maybe you can even save some for later.
Once you start adopting the abundance mindset, you won’t feel the need to overeat just because “it’s there.” You’ll know that you can always enjoy the foods you love, and that there will be more deliciousness the next time you’re hungry. So enjoy the holidays!
How do you find ways to enjoy holiday eating as a source of abundance? What healthy eating habits are you practicing now that you are in your 60s? Please share your best practices below.