Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday strategy? No wrist slaps and no write-offs!

For many who battle with weight, holidays can be times of stress and more often than not folks adopt one of two equally detrimental but diametrically opposite coping strategies - I'll call them the wrist slappers and the write-offers.

The wrist slappers are the folks who believe that long term success with their weight depends solely on "willpower", on being able to "resist temptation", to "just push away from the table", or to simply avoid placing themselves in situations where high calorie options are available. These folks fail in the long run because frankly who wants to live a life that restricts the use of food for pleasure? These are often the "hardcore" dieters that on an annual or semi-annual basis decide to "buckle down" and lose the weight and then inevitably when they get sick of suffering, gain it back.

The write-offerss are the folks who are concerned about their weight but figure because it's a holiday they needn't think about calories at all. They'll eat what they want, when they want and how much they want with their only consideration as to amount being pleasure. These are often folks who believe in "cheat days" and who regularly make excuses for why they needn't think about the foods they're consuming. Birthdays, office parties, religious holidays, vacations, highly stressful days become write-offs. Then the write-offs spill over to days that they've "blown it", weekends and busy times at work. They're often folks who practice scale avoidance when they're in a write-off period and they can gain 3-5 pounds a week during their days of abandon.

Instead of wrist-slaps and write-offs how about try thoughtfulness? What's that? That's where the only limits are imposed thoughtfully. You take stock of the situation, factor in the date or circumstance, have an inkling about calories, have eaten regularly throughout the day to make sure you're not fighting ghrelin's hunger demons and you ask yourself of whatever indulgence you're consider, "How much of that do I need to be happy?". Then you have that amount. If you want more after, ask the question again, "How much more of that do I need to be happy" and repeat until you're satisfied.

Life includes celebratory foods and certainly holidays may make the answer to the question, "How much of that do I need to be happy" a great deal higher than plain old boring days and that's a-ok.

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