Enjoy Holiday Eating without Gaining Weight

2 Satisfying Holiday Eating Tips For Losing Weight and Receiving More of What You Need

In my last newsletter I promised you I’d be sending tips that are simple, sustainable and satisfying to help you through all the festive eating.

I’ve seen a lot of holiday eating tips for maintaining weight at this time of year, but don’t see much written about losing weight at this time of year.

I’m going to share a personal experience that taught me about the connection between our essential needs and hunger.

In the past, when I struggled with my weight and food, I use to lose weight at Christmas time. Odd right? And, completely counter-intuitive with so many opportunities to eat, and, with so many tasty foods that only appear once a year.

Come the Christmas holidays, I usually visited family and friends that I didn’t see very often.  At parties or dinners I would be so busy catching up, that my focus was on talking and listening – not eating. Also, I was too busy enjoying the holiday buzz around me – bright lights, Christmas carols, the energy of joy and gratitude in the air,  This wasn’t an intentional diversion on my part. I still ate, but, I was unknowingly being fed by spending time with people I loved and the spirit of the holidays so I didn’t feel as hungry.   

At the time, I didn’t know why I wasn’t as focused on food. Now I understand why this was happening – I was feeding my need for love, connection, and belonging.

Have you noticed times in your life, or situations where you don’t feel as “hungry”.

What need is being “fed”? Is it the need for connection, creativity, play, or belonging?

You are probably too busy with the holidays to sit and ponder these questions, but knowing more about why you are eating will always serve you well.

Here are my 2 simple tips to enjoy the holiday season: 1 emotional and 1 practical.

Holiday Tip # 1: Focus on People not on Food.

Pretty self-explanatory I know, but the next event you go to focus on the people not the plates of food. This refocusing allows a couple of things to happen. You are more likely to really connect in a new and deeper way with family and friends, or, be more open to meeting new friends. Also, if you are self-conscious about your weight or appearance, it puts your attention on others instead of thinking negative thoughts about yourself.

If the people you spend your time with don’t meet your need for love and connection, try not to focus on food or drinking to avoid uncomfortable feelings. You will only feel worse. Just by being aware and naming (to yourself without judgement or blame) what is going on during situations where you feel a sense of disconnection with others will give you sense of control. When you are in a state of non-judgemental awareness you are less likely to mindlessly stuff your feelings and numb out.

Holiday Tip #2: Don’t Eat Before Going Out to a Party.

I often come across this holiday eating advice: “Eat healthy food before going to a party so you won’t be hungry and tempted to eat all the unhealthy party food”.
This makes no sense to me. If you eat before you go to a party where there is lots of food, you are either going to overeat because you are already full or be frustrated that you can’t eat anything. Just because you go to a party hungry doesn’t mean you are going to stuff yourself. Isn’t the point of providing food at a party that people will eat and enjoy it.

The only exception to this is if you know that only small nibbles like chips or nuts are going to be served.

Enjoy the holiday season – people, food, singing, playing. Beautiful sights and wonderful smells – take it all in.

See how many needs you can meet so your heart will be full instead of your stomach.

Wishing you all a heart-filled Christmas!


P.S. If you, or someone you know could use individual wellness coaching, the New Year is one of the best times to make lifestyle changes.

Helen Croza MA RCC
therapy + coaching for women