The Holiday Season, a time that is supposed to be about a celebrations, may be torturous to some who have eating or body image issues. Why is this so? Because women, still, have set-notions for the proper ways to behave during a holiday.
This can be summarized with two thought-patterns engrained from childhood and passed down for generations: Cook, but do not eat too much, and look good.
Looking your best is an expectation, especially during holiday parties, but the duality of preparing food and not eating it while overseeing that all goes well, plus the stress of hosting family or visiting relatives may send many (if not every woman in the planet), straight into compulsive-eating mode.
Not only do women prepare food for those who will come to celebrate (or take it to someone else’s home) but, in order to look their best, a must during those holidays, she is told not to eat the food she is surrounded by. In trying not to eat it, she eats it guiltily, maybe compulsively, and feels no pleasure.
The following are some tips to avoid eating compulsively during the Holiday Season:
1. Do not decide to diet right before the holidays. It will put you in binging mode due to the weeks of deprivation.
2. Remember that deprivation leads to binging.
3. Don’t make eating a secret. Feel entitled.
4. Acknowledge the foods you enjoy. Enjoying them is not a sin.
5. Make public that this Holiday Season, you will not diet. This will take the pressure off of you.
6. Refuse to engage in diet talk. Diet talk may feel as if it connects you with other women, but in fact it does breed anxiety.
7. Do NOT deprive yourself, ahead of time. It always backfires.
8. Do not fill up on diet foods before a party because you will still eat at the party, and feel worse.
9. Have a friend (or a family member) enlisted and available to talk to, if anything upsets you during the holiday event.
10. Practice feeling hungry without getting upset.
11. Measure your hunger from 0 to 10, so you know when you are heading to eating compulsively.
12. Eat something before you are so hungry that all you can do is eat compulsively!
13. Imagine eating in a relaxed manner everyday, from now on, toward the holiday party.
14. Ask for the recipe, if you love something you tried. Remember, you could have it every day, not just once a year.
15. Do not ‘Talk Diet” to yourself or others while eating.
16. Do not criticize yourself no matter the weight or shape of your body.
17. Remember that dieting is not the answer to a weight problem or body image issue since dieters tend to yo-yo and gain more than they lost in the first place.
Enjoy your holiday. I hope these tips help you this season!
Irene Celcer, 59, is a mental health professional and parenting expert with specialties that include ADD, bullying, infertility, and third party reproductive assistance and adoption. A regular guest on CNN, she has extensive expertise in eating disorders, body image perceptions, and women’s issues. In addition to her authorships and philanthropic work, she maintains a private practice; she lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. 99Tips to Reset The Table: Parenting in a Society Obsessed with Food, Weight, Obesity and Body Image (Graphite Press) is her latest book. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/celcerirene and on her website http://irecelcer.com. Her daughter is 16 years old.