THE BLOG
11/11/2013 02:15 pm ET | Updated Nov 11, 2013

Enjoy the Holidays Without Weight Gain (and Guilt!)

The holidays are fast approaching. For some people, it is a magical time of year, but others are filled with anxiety. Here is a list of anxiety-provoking thoughts that can ruin your holidays.

• I am trying to lose weight, and I know I will gain weight from all those holiday foods.
• Holidays bring too many stressful family encounters.
• I cannot afford the right presents.

I would like to offer you some different thoughts that could make this holiday season the best year ever.

Holiday Food

'Tis the season to be jolly. Thus, we celebrate the holidays with food and more food. Some of these delicious treats you only see at this time of year. Along with that comes the dilemma of overeating or fitting into that party dress or pants.

This is not the time to skip meals. You will overeat when you do eat. Remember, the first meal of the day starts your metabolism. Make sure you eat at least three healthy meals a day so you will not have mood swings and will have the energy and emotional stamina to make the holidays fun.

Recognize that the holidays are a time when most people do overeat. If you overeat, just wait until you are physically hungry before you eat again. You will be surprised how stable your weight will remain just by eating intuitively.

Don't deprive yourself! If you feel deprived, you will make up for it later. How many times have you chosen the tasteless diet food, only to end up eating what you really wanted to eat later? Enjoy the holiday foods and desserts with others instead of eating by yourself. You will be less likely to overeat when you are around other people.

There is also something to take special note of here. Currently there is scientific evidence that some substances like sugar affect some of us differently. You may have a dessert, and then you crave more food and eat uncontrollably. You may become tired, lethargic and depressed with an uncontrollable craving for more food. The cravings are hard to battle. If you are in this category, you may think it through and decide to have something else instead because you do not want to feel that way. It is important to know how different foods react with your own body, mind and emotions. There is a website, SugarAwareness.com, that has a self-rated assessment tool that you can download.

Watch your alcohol intake. You cannot take back words or actions that may interfere with your family and work relationships in the future.

At the office, don't keep candy or other snacks at your desk. You will be less likely to eat them mindlessly while you are working. Bring some fruit and nuts to the office so you have a healthy option if you choose. This could help your coworkers too.

Family Encounters

Many people eat when they are stressed. Watch your stress levels and take time out when you need to do so. Food does not work for emotional reasons. The emotions or stress may seem to subside by concentrating on the food, but you will feel worse for overeating and the stress will still be there.

Remember, how you react to situations is the only thing you can control. You do not want to react in a way that you will feel bad about later. Also, reacting in an unhealthy manner gives the other person something else to focus on instead of seeing his or her own part in the disagreement.

Be cautious of perfectionism. We may think that other people should live up to our standards, or we might correct them, disempowering them. Make a rule: If it is 80 percent right, then it is OK. You can pick your own percentage and it can be different for different people. Praise other people's efforts.

Ask for help with the holiday festivities. Allow others to put their own creative flair into projects. No one likes to be around controlling people. Try being more of a team player instead of being in control and exerting your power.

Gift Giving

Don't allow yourself to waste your precious energy by trying to change things that you cannot change. This especially applies to other people. "I am who I am," said Popeye. One of the greatest gifts to give someone during the holiday season is acceptance of who they are. They may change eventually but you trying to make it happen is counterproductive to them and you.

It is important to remember that self-care has to be a priority during the holiday season. You can only give what you have inside, so spend extra time to fill up on love, peace, appreciation and kindness. Kindness is the most underrated present we can give at this time of year. Small acts of kindness not only make you feel good, but it is contagious.

Time and undivided attention are some of the best gifts we have to give. Plan some family holiday festivities that do not involve eating. A group that has not been together for a while will have less stress if there is an activity involved. It can also be fun planning a holiday outing.

Keep a positive attitude and invest time making authentic connections with loved ones. Remember what is truly important: relationships, love, happiness and peace. This is much more important than obsessing about presents, food, weight, diet or how you look on the outside. The results will be that you will enjoy the holiday season and not gain weight.

This is what I hope for you this year!

If you a friend or loved one that needs treatment for an eating disorder, go to rebeccashouse.org or call 866.554.1851