Oh, the holidays…
During the holidays food seems to be everywhere. Its a season of parties and gatherings – work parties, invites from friends, and of course family gatherings. The holiday season can provide a perfect storm if you let it. Its a time of heightened emotion coupled with lots of food. The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year, most people gain weight. It’s no wonder…
Just like you would prepare for a coming storm, you have to plan in advance for the holidays. I’ve been an emotional eater for most of my adult life. I’ve often turned to food to dull the emotions I was feeling inside. After becoming a life and weight coach, I’ve learned that I can process and feel my emotions instead of eating everything in sight. Even still, holidays can be a challenge when I don’t plan in advance.
Planning In Advance
Last Thanksgiving was the first time my husband and I implemented a protocol for what we would eat that day. While this sounds very official, all we did was decide the day prior what we would have. For my husband’s health, we had started eating low carb, so my protocol was that I would have turkey and salad and a small portion of mashed potatoes. I decided I would forgo the rolls and any of the stuffing – which I’m not a huge fan of anyway. I also decided I would not have any desert.
There were some questions and some explanations, but for the most part it was no big deal. People really don’t care what you eat. We both stuck to our plan that day and felt fantastic at the end. We not only honored our commitment to ourselves, but didn’t have that overly bloated, stuffed feeling after eating too much.
What Is A Holiday Protocol?
A protocol is simply a plan you make in advance. You decide ahead of time what you want to eat and how much. When you decide in advance, you can be deliberate with your choices. You use your planning part of your brain, the part that is willing to forgo momentary pleasure for long term gain. This part of your brain knows that over eating at the holidays will cause you to gain weight and feel terrible.
Some people may think this sounds too structured on a day when you are supposed to just relax and enjoy yourself. However, when you decide before hand what you will eat, you are able to be more present during the day because you’ve already made all the decisions you need to. You won’t spend time deliberating on if you should have another piece of pie. Whats more, when you stick to your own plan for the full day, it’s one of the most empowering feelings!
How To Make A Holiday Protocol
It is an easy process. Simply decide in advance what and how much you will eat during the next day. Decide what and how much you will have at each meal. Decide if you will have a desert or not. Will you allow yourself seconds? Make a decision about each meal and either say it out loud or write it down. It needs to be very clear.
For example: At dinner I will have meat and salad, no bread products. I will only have one serving, no seconds. For desert, I will have a cookie.
This is important. What exactly you decide to eat that day is not as important as sticking to your plan. This is keeping your commitment to yourself. You will want an additional cookie. You may want one of the home made rolls. Remember, it is the part of your brain that knows what is best for you long term is the one who made the plan – so honor and trust her. She knows what is best for you regardless of how you feel when the cookie try is passed around.
I highly recommend making a protocol for any event out of the ordinary. You can even have a plan for the entire holiday season. Every time you are invited to a party, decide in advance what will you will eat and how much.
Making commitments and honoring them for yourself is one of the best ways to be kind to yourself. Think of all the commitments we honor for others, yet we so easily let our own selves down. Don’t do this to yourself. You deserve better!