Tuesday, 4 December 2012

My food plans for the Holiday season

It's interesting that the closer we get to Christmas the more we're bombarded with thoughts and images of food.  Take a look at Pinterest and you can see societies total obsession with food, especially surrounding the holidays.  Just browsing on my Facebook you see posts upon posts for holiday treat recipes too.  For someone like me, this time of year is utter hell.

For a binge eater, not only is there normal holiday stress that will make you want to eat.  But then you are absolutely bombarded with food everywhere you go.  You walk into a book store, and now they sell candies, treats, hot chocolate, and cookies!  You walk through the mall and every other store is lined with food.  Cheese balls, sausages, chocolates,  crackers, everything!  Large retail chains sell vats of chocolates in their seasonal sections, and cash registers are sugar lined with bright tasty packages.

It's one thing to make a plan for Christmas parties and for Christmas day as to how you're going to eat.  But what most people (myself included) fail to realize is that there are more binge triggers than you realize out there, and just because of what time of year it is.  I never thought that walking around the mall would be a binge trigger.  Or that browsing Pinterest would make me feel anxious.  But here I am confessing that the holiday season is doing me in, and not for the reasons I thought it would.

So what can I do about it?  Well, the big thing for me is writing in my food journal.  I have been neglecting writing down my emotions, and so I need to get back on track with that.  That is a great way to help me identify what's really going on.  I've been craving sweets like crazy, and it totally has to do with being overloaded everywhere I go with pictures of sweets.

So here is my plan for the holiday season.  NOT just for Christmas parties or Christmas day.

1. Write in my food journal ALL of my food (which I do anyways), AND my emotions for the day.  Especially if I find myself wanting junk.  Identify triggers and ways to cope.

2. No more Pinterest, or browsing cooking websites for the rest of the month.  I don't mind these websites usually.  But this month they're especially triggering.  I don't mind reading healthier recipes, but they're too many unhealthy ones going around for me to stay sane!

3. Plan ahead for any events involving food.  Including Christmas day, and try to make sure Dan is there for all of the events just in case I need back up.  If all else fails, he can load up my plate for me at meals.

4. No alcohol unless it is pre-planned.  Christmas and New Years is a bad time of year for this!  New Years you might think you'll have a small get together, but then suddenly someone whips out a bottle of wine, and there goes all planning.

5. Stay focused on my goals. When I'm stressed I need to take the day meal by meal.  So that is my plan for this month.  Focus on every meal, and focus on what I want out of my food for the day.  No eating out on the fly, and no mindless eating.  This also includes making time for runs, and relaxation time that doesn't involve food.

6. Talk to Dan everyday about my goals and where I am with those goals.  Also tell him about any worries I have, and make plans together to make sure I can make it through rough patches.

What prompted this was a few different things going on over the past two weeks.  First of all I started new medication which puts me on edge.  Every time I take this stuff I get overly emotional and anxious quicker than normal.  Also, I experienced a 3 lbs gain this past weigh in day.   Part of it is from the new medication, I need to wait for my body to figure itself out, but after reviewing my food log I realized that I've been very inconsistent with my eating and have gone over my goals almost every day.  What's worse, is I was justifying the reasons for eating badly.

This needs to stop right now, and what better way than to make a plan?  If any of you have started and stopped a diet you probably identify with the downward spiral of gaining weight back.  You think, "what's 2 lbs? I can lose that by next week."  Or "Hey, I'm only at XXX weight, I've been this weight before and I was fine."  Or, "My clothes still fit!".  Or, "I'll just what I like for the holidays, and then I'll go back to my regular diet on Monday." The problem is, is that food is an addiction.  A cruel heartless addiction, and once it gets you, it sucks you in.  If it was hard to justify eating badly, then we'd all be skinny.

What are your plans for staying on track through the month?  And an even better question, what triggers you every year to eat badly? Is it the food? The people around you and the celebrations? Or do you relate the sights and sounds of Christmas to "good" food?


  1. Triggers? Being single while everyone else has partners for those "couple-only" events or events where you are the only single one of your friends. Family driving you crazy. How materialistic it has become and people getting upset that you don't spend hundreds of dollars on their presents.

    I would rather hide and avoid this time of year altogether.

    1. Yes, those are definitely triggers! And I agree, a big part of me wants to hide away until it's over. Or at least become a kid again and remember real joys around Christmas. Like no school, going outside, and watching movies as a family.

      I hope your Holiday season brightens up :)

    2. The good thing is that I do have pets so I spend a lot of time puttering around. I'll volunteer with a bunch of the local organizations too :)

  2. These are such good ideas... I have a hard time reading other healthy living blogs around this time of year also. Our society is so food-centric it makes it tough for me to not think about binge eating all the time. Thank you for sharing this blog! It is nice to know I am not alone.

    1. Yes, I read a lot of blogs now a days and so many of them are hoping on the "Christmas food" bandwagon! I mean, I'm happy they find joy in it. But it's hard not to feel bombarded sometimes! (Besides we only need so many recipes for cookies!)

  3. I fear those few pounds that sneak up thats how my weight snuck back up on me every 2lbs that I didn't lose the following week continued to add up my mind set was oh well i have been 30 lbs heavier so I'm still doing good but not this time..

    1. Yes, exactly! It's a terrible cycle the sucks you in. I thought the same thing, I gained a good 40 lbs back once, then I realized I gained FOURTY pounds!

  4. Great plan to stick with it and not be distracted by the countless holiday parties. There's SO many images of food during this time, and it's definitely tempting. You got this though!

  5. Great plan!!! I think that if you stick to it and work hard you can make it through the season with success!!