INDIANAPOLIS — We are heading full steam into the holiday season and with that comes a few months of tempting holiday food, drinks and treats.
The prospect of “putting on a few pounds” can cause plenty of stress for some people, but a health expert says it really doesn’t have to.
Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz says stress eating, overeating, and overindulging in things that may not be the best for us happens every year.
Managing it requires dropping the negativity for positive acceptance.
“You need to enjoy the foods that you eat. Food brings so much happiness, it brings comfort, it brings all the good tastes. None of it is bad, really. Even those desserts that are high calorie, high sugar, and high fat, they actually bring you good feelings. But you need to treat them responsibly. Let’s not say, ‘I was so bad,’ ‘this was so bad.’ No, you were not bad. You can enjoy, but you need to be responsible,” Galeaz said.
Galeaz adds it’s about having truthful conversations with yourself about your choices, accepting them and holding yourself accountable.
“And you’re going to say am I going to have two, or am I going to have four (portions)? And if you want to have four, where else are you going to watch the portion and cut back slightly? I love the idea of if you look at the food on your holiday spread, you say, ‘Oh mashed potatoes, I can have mashed potatoes any time of the year, I’m going to forgo those right now or take a very tiny portion, because I want to spend my calories on the mac and cheese, the biscuits with the honey and the butter,’ and that’s A-OK,” she said.
Galeaz says part of holding yourself accountable includes adding exercise to balance those dietary decisions. She adds that you shouldn’t view exercise as some sort of punishment.
In addition, as you’re eating over the holidays, you should try to see the positives in what you consume, not simply reducing choices to “good or bad.”
“I want you to say, ‘My green beans, whether they have the French-fried things on them or not, they are a vegetable, I’m eating a vegetable.’ And I want you to say with your ham, ‘Hey, I’m making a super lean choice,’ because ham, actually, is very low fat and high in protein which you need, obviously. And with the mac and cheese that you love, I’m OK with that, because it’s actually giving you all kinds of calcium and protein of that nutrient-rich cheese. And then you have your macaroni in there, fantastic, because you’ll need those energy carbs because you’ll be out biking, walking, or running, whatever you like to do.”
Galeaz adds a negative view can lead to angst, guilt and shame, compounding negative outcomes. Some can often get “too negative” and simply “give up” out of frustration, opting instead to continually overindulge because “it’s too late now.”
“Why be negative about it? How about this year say, ‘I’m going to have a positive attitude, and I’m going to embrace all of my holiday foods, but I know that I’m going to have to be responsible.’ And you get to choose how responsible you’re going to be.”