If you find yourself devouring a few too many helpings of yummy dishes at festive feasts, we’ve got three words for you: Stop feeling food guilty. Really. It could make a big difference in whether you pack on pounds this holiday season.
A study out of New Zealand studied 300 women about their feelings over eating chocolate cake. The group who felt guilty about eating the cake reported feeling less control over their eating and were less successful at maintaining their weight over an 18-month period than those who reported feeling happy after the cake.
Registered Dietitian Eileen Behan, author of For the Love of Food blog, says she isn’t surprised by the results because those who can’t handle certain foods often feel like a failure and abandon their proper diets altogether. But, she says, that needs to stop.
She offers five ways to take back control and stop feeling food guilty:
1- Identify your trigger foods
Make a list of the foods you crave or find yourself overeating when given the chance.
2- Nothing is forbidden
Behan says do not forbid any food forever or you’ll be doomed. Instead, think of foods in terms of calories. Is a 600-calorie piece of cake worth it at this moment?
3- Plan ahead
Next, make a plan. Before a holiday party, pick a must-have treat and plan to eat and savor it. If you feel guilty, banish the feeling.
4- Practice, practice, practice
Think of every holiday party or dinner as an opportunity to practice eating without feeling guilty. This may help you enjoy the season rather than dread it. If you slip… just move on. Life happens.
5- Be patient
Finally, be patient. Don’t expect to be able to handle your trigger foods overnight. In fact, you may have to eat chocolate cake every day for a month to normalize it. How’s that for a wonderful assignment?
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