Avoiding the Slippery Slope

Nov 29, 2022

It’s that time of year - parties, feasts, and festivities abound! Gathering with family, friends and loved ones is wonderful; creating and deepening connections and community is as vital to your health and well-being as is plentiful rest and hydration. 

But…can you enjoy the feasting, the libations, and the late nights without careening down the slippery excess slope that comes from throwing caution to the wind in the name of “it’s only a few more weeks till the holiday season is over”?

How to enjoy and celebrate without sliding? That course will look different for different people, but here are a few universal suggestions that I personally find helpful, and many of my patients do as well.

Enjoy everything you eat and drink 100%. This is not as easy as it sounds. Relationships to food and drink are often complex. Most of us carry lots of guilt and shame when we indulge. This guilt keeps you from being completely present with what you are eating and drinking. You miss out on the deep satiation and satisfaction that comes from allowing yourself to thoroughly enjoy your food. Being 100% present and joyful with food ends up with less over-indulgence than when you try to restrict yourself through guilt. 

Focus on your favorites. Everyone has their favorite feast foods. What if you choose to make more room on your plate for your favorites, and skip the dishes that leave you lukewarm? For me, I can pass on potatoes, and stuffing, but I will not pass on pumpkin pie loaded with whipped cream. Eaten with 100% enjoyment and a big smile on my face. 

Be very kind to yourself. You are just as human as the rest of us, so likely you will over-indulge. Do not berate or chastise. Wrap yourself in a blanket of self-compassion while hydrating and resting.

Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages: If every other glass is non-alcoholic, this provides a passive “break” system. A simple trick that does the trick. 

Go clean on non-party days: this strategy does take planning, and the wherewithal to not just slide on down the slope of indulging daily, but it can be game-changing in terms of how you feel come early January. Consciously set aside the wonderfully fun food “drugs” - alcohol, sugar, comfort carbs, and heavy doses of caffeine - on non-celebration days. 

Send guests home with leftovers: if certain foods hold a siren call over you, instead of relying on restraint to not dive in several days in a row, send those foods home with someone else! We are not all mesmerized by the same foods, so this isn’t necessarily inflicting your “kryptonite” on others:)

Use this time of year to deepen the dialogue between you and your body: it’s pretty common to let your mind and emotions lead your choices. This often works out pretty well, but during feast season, can lead to the body feeling under-represented in the decision-making process. At the end of the day, it’s your body that has the last say. So why not consciously include your body in how you choose to celebrate? It can be quite enlightening to allow your body equal air time. Your body really does know.  

May your feasts be satisfying!

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