THE BLOG
12/17/2014 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Worried You'll Overeat This Holiday? Follow These 5 Simple Steps to Help Keep Your Eating in Check!

Have you ever had that meal where you've eaten so much you feel like your pants are gonna pop, your stomach is going to burst, and you need to be rolled away from the dinner table? Yep, been there, done that.

I'm going to save you the misery of having your holiday dinner be one of "those meals" with these five simple steps.

Here are five things you can do this week so you don't overeat this Christmas (or whatever festivities you have this week!):

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1. Plan Ahead
Planning can be a huge tool to help you stay sane and not overindulge. Remember that you can plan ahead and bring your own options! If you want to ensure there will be healthy choices at upcoming holiday happenings (and feel a little bit more in control), offer to make something and bring it yourself.

Do you have a work party to attend? Offer to make a salad. Headed to your in-laws for the holidays? Tell them you'll bring a healthy vegetable casserole this year.

There are plenty of dishes to make that can be extremely tasty and healthy. Plus, you'll breathe easier knowing you can bring something that's healthy.

When you go in to a situation without knowing what types of food there will be, it can cause anxiety, which can lead to out of control eating.

But, when you know that there will be at least one option you can eat, you can relax and feel like you have some sense of control over your food.

2. Stay Satiated
There's nothing worse than showing up to a party and being so hungry you could eat a horse. When you're starving, your blood sugar is low, and your body will crave an instant hit of sugar to boost your energy.

When you keep your hunger levels more "even" (and don't let yourself get too hungry), you won't arrive at the party/event/dinner wanting to eat 17 pieces of bruschetta plus the appetizers on the plate next to you. Have a small snack before the event: an apple with some peanut butter; a handful of grapes with some cheese; a protein bar; or even a small salad with a hard-boiled egg, to keep your hunger levels steady and even.

Keeping yourself fueled and your hunger levels steady will allow you to make healthier choices.

And when your hunger levels are even, you won't immediately arrive and want to eat cookie after cookie after cookie. Eating something little beforehand can actually allow you to eat less when you're there!

3. Enjoy the Heck Out of That Pie
If you decide to indulge in a piece of pie or two, make sure you actually taste it! This seems like common sense, but so many times when we eat dessert we're fighting internal battles within our minds.

We feel guilty, tell ourselves we shouldn't eat it, berate ourselves while we're eating it, and then criticize after we eat it. And then we miss the entire experience of actually eating the pie!

If you savor the flavor, texture, and taste of whatever you're eating, you won't need to eat six more pieces to satisfy you. One will be enough.

As long as you are eating, you might as well enjoy it. The best part about this is... that overeating and mindfulness cannot coexist. Once you become aware of what you are doing, it's harder to continue with the same hand-to-mouth momentum.

You can't be stuffing your face with food and be enjoying, mindfully eating at the same time. It stops that compulsion right in it's tracks.

So, sit down and be there while you're eating. Focus on what's in front of you. Close your eyes. Taking pleasure in and tasting the food you're eating will result in much more satisfaction. And, the best news is that satisfaction = less overeating

4. You've Got To Move It, Baby!
Get outside (or inside) and get moving! It is amazing what a little bit of exercise can do for your mindset during the holidays. Exercise increases endorphins (which are those brain chemicals that make you feel happy!).

It's essential when you are feeling sluggish and heavy in your body to do something every day to get you moving.

When you're eating foods you don't normally eat all the time and consuming more desserts than you normally would, moving helps you sane (mentally, as well as physically!).

It's especially helpful after a big meal. So, whether it's a walk outside, some weight-lifting, a yoga class or a run in the park, use this as an excuse to exercise and take some "stay sane" time for yourself.

5. Let. It. Go.
Remember, it's only a few days when "holiday eating" seems to be in full swing. Be easy on yourself and remind yourself it will be over before you know it.

If you eat too many cookies one night, let it go. Don't let one bad day, or even a couple bad days, turn into weeks of crazy eating. If you overindulge one night, allow yourself to acknowledge, accept it, and gently move on.

No berating yourself, no ruminating over it in your mind, no regrets, and no criticism. It's hard, but so important to take a deep breath and really let it go.

Perhaps you eat a healthy breakfast the next morning to kickstart your day. You go for a run to get yourself moving. Whatever you do, be kind to yourself. Criticizing yourself for the extra food you ate will do nothing but hinder your goal to eat better the next meal.

Allowing some room for "error" will keep expectations in check and make for an enjoyable holiday season.

So, there you have it. Five things you can do to this week to help you keep your sanity over the holiday! Pass along to anyone who struggles with holiday eating, so we can all keep our "food sanity" this season!


Tired of always starting over on Monday? Download your FREE "Must Have Guide to End the Diet Cycle Today." For more information on how to stop obsessing over your eating and weight, visit jennhand.com and come say hello on Facebook!