The Holiday Feast
Although the holidays are supposed to be about friends & family, caring & sharing, and – for a good number of people – faith & devotion; something else has the power to totally eclipse the sacredness of the season…and that is eating. The truth is that for most of society, the Holidays are also primarily about feasting, usually on delicious dishes that you only get once a year.
Restriction Leads to Binging
This perceived scarcity is part of the reason most people also overeat during the holidays. It’s a basic psychological fact that when we are deprived of something – like our mother’s favorite stuffing recipe that she only makes this time of year – we automatically binge on it. (This is also why I discourage dieting, by the way.)
Emotional Sleigh Ride
Another issue is that the holidays have a tendency to stir up a lot of emotions for people – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And if you have even the slightest tendency towards Emotional Eating, which most people do, you will surely find yourself surrounded by heaps of nerve numbing dishes, like pumpkin pie a la mode, heavy enough to dull out even the sharpest pain.
Is Stuffing Normal?
Now before you start feeling guilty and depressed, let me say that this behavior has actually become normal for most people living in societies that do not encourage natural processing of emotion. (Notice the use of normal vs. natural, they are not the same thing. Many behaviors which have become the “norm” in our society are anything but natural…like feeding 1-year-old babies fake artificially colored cake frosting and calling the induction of a life-long sugar addiction “celebrating”.) Anyway…back to Emotional Eating.
Food is the Fat Drug
In a society where we are not taught how to process emotion, food has become the drug of choice. And as a result, the society has become one of the fattest in the world. So this is a deep sickness that you likely share with most everyone you know!
So what’s the solution?
Replace Deprivation with Moderation
Don’t be deceived, for an over-eater moderation is one of the most difficult virtues to master…but it is SO worth it (more on this later). To address the scarcity factor – remember, it’s biological, so don’t think willpower is enough – you could encourage mom to make your favorite stuffing more often. Why not; who made rule that it’s only allowed during the holidays? And while you’re at it, maybe you can tweak mom’s famous recipe making it a little more healthy as well. (Like making it vegan for starters, then replacing the cooked oil with raw oil, or even removing the oil altogether!)
The other strategy in your stocking is to eat more Mindfully. If you missed my video on Mindful Eating for Weight Loss, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3hioMuFbWo This works for two reasons: When you eat mindfully you slow down, become more present and actually enjoy your food more. This leads to more satisfaction with less. Mindful eating also creates the space and a state of consciousness for unprocessed emotion to surface. This is a Good thing! Because, when you recognize what is driving your Emotional Eating, you are empowered to heal.
Raw Food Plug
This is my bonus tip for staying slim during the holidays. It’s a fact that raw fruits and vegetables are not only more nutritious, but they’re also far less likely to put on excess weight. And the higher percentage of raw you eat, the better. The water and the fiber in raw fruits and vegetables keep you feeling fuller, keep your bowels moving (essential for weight loss and maintenance), and their superior nutrition helps to satisfy cravings (many of which are triggered by deficiencies). You can incorporate raw foods in lots of different ways; be creative. Some of my favorite go-to raw-power meals are green smoothies, fresh raw vegetable juices and big full salads. Try having your raw food meal before the big feast (at least an hour before with smoothies and 30 minutes before with juices) and see what happens. You may even notice that your raw foods satisfied more than the cooked!