Now that the holidays are upon us, my clients are expressing their fears about how to behave at parties. They fear eating too much, losing control, getting too fat. They are afraid of becoming a manic eating machine-one that starts to eat, and cannot stop
One of the reasons I work so hard with clients on their relationships with food is because when you are at peace with food, you realize you cannot lose control. Of course, as with all relationships, you have your ups and downs, and holiday time may indeed be one of those “down” times. But you need to trust yourself and believe that even if you have several days of overeating, even if you feel you are in a “bad” relationship, you WILL work it out. Your relationship WILL improve, because you have made it a good one.
Remember, we are talking about a few holi-DAYS, not five or six holi-MONTHS!
Being at peace with food allows you to go into the party, take a deep breath, see all that is available, and make choices you know you like. Maybe you don’t feel like eating at this moment, you would rather go talk to a friend. Perhaps that chocolate trouffle just looks too delicious to pass up, so you put it on your plate. Remember to take some time with your food choices; because this is the only possible way you will be able to really enjoy them. My mother used to say, after we’d rushed through a dinner that she had spent time preparing “you people don’t eat food, you INHALE it!” Don’t inhale your éclair; take some time to enjoy it.
If you want a glass of wine, by all means, take one (just don’t go out and drive right away). My suggestion about parties and drinking is this: one glass of wine, followed by one glass of seltzer water, followed by one glass of water. Following this recipe, you can walk around with a beverage in your hand, always be sipping on something, and not worry about losing the control that happens with too much alcohol. Plus, you will not experience the symptoms of dehydration that often accompany too much drinking (in other words the hangover).
This is a time of year when you start seeing lots of recipes for modifying favorite foods. If that is something you want to do-of course, you do it. But I believe that a modified recipe makes it a new food, and perhaps not a favorite one anymore. Often around the holidays, you take out those old family recipes, or the ones that you’ve made into new family traditions. Please, keep them the way they are, the way they have always been. Don’t be afraid, and here’s why:
As I said earlier, when you are truly at peace with food, you feel safe around meals, snacks, desserts. You trust yourself to make the choices that are right for you, and you know how to balance your eating behaviors. You are confident that the times of overeating are balanced by the times of eating smaller servings. This is a relationship that will work for the duration, for the long term.
Please be gentle to yourself during this time of year. These times are supposed to be enjoyed, not just barely endured. It is a time to be with friends and family. Happy holidays.