It’s inching into that time of year: the TV commercials, glossy magazines, and local newspaper lifestyle sections are brimming with foodie suggestions for the upcoming holidays. Feel just like Pavlov’s dog reading all the yummy ideas, salivating at will. Along with all that temptation of delicious food comes what one organization has dubbed SOD: seasonal overindulgence disorder*. I think that title has nailed the problem. We certainly want to treat ourselves and indulge in the holiday eating splendor. It’s the OVERindulging that’s a problem.
The way we approach the holiday foodie excesses is laden with black and white, all or nothing thinking. Why not stuff yourself? “I’m having some, so may as well go all out!” Or perhaps, “it’s the holidays–let’s celebrate!” Worry about the excess pounds in January, when austerity on the plate is expected. It’s an uncommon mindset to enjoy the indulgence in small doses–or portions. Indulgence just seems equivalent to excess.
With a small bit of advance planning, you can avoid the 5-7 pound (or more!) holiday pound pack-on. The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) is offering practical, concrete strategies to get through this season of heaping plates and ignoring hunger signals. Research has shown that changing just three small habits can make a very big impact on weight maintenance. You can follow the link above, but here’s a sampling of three tips to try. Visit the site and check out the full list if these three don’t speak to you. The most important factor in any behavior change is picking strategies that are a fit for you!
1. Eat in a well-lit room. You eat less when you can see what you’re eating. Not exactly party atmosphere, but you can be prepared!
2. Keep the bones. We have a better sense of how much we’ve eaten when we can see the evidence. This could mean keeping empty beer bottles lined up on the table or hot wing bones on a side plate.
3. Use the 1/2 rule. Aim for 1/2 as much protein and carbohydrates while doubling your servings of vegetables and fruit.
Who says you have to succumb to SOD and too-tight pants in 2012? This is one perfect example of “control what you can.” Just three things! And if you want to really indulge in the science and solutions psychology and medicine have to offer on this topic, consider signing up for NICABM’s free seminar on nutrition. I’ll be listening and hope to share some of the knowledge here, but it’s free to listen at the time of broadcast.