6 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty About Indulging at a Holiday Dinner

woman eating pieFrom the holiday season kickoff at Thanksgiving dinner to the never-ending parade of cookies and candy until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Day, it's tough for someone like me who basically breathes on something fattening and gains five pounds. Thankfully, there are ways to indulge and enjoy without beating yourself up the next day (okay, fine, days, like I usually do!).

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Speaking exclusively to The Stir, Lisa DeFazio, MS, RD, reveals her five best tips to make it through this season of eating without massive amounts of guilt the morning after. Yes, it IS possible.

1. Prepare. You can always preempt overindulgence by setting a smart tone earlier in the day. "Eat lighter that day, but take in plenty of lean protein and vegetables," DeFazio advises.

2. Put things in perspective. "You ate cookies and stuffing," says DeFazio. "Big freaking deal! Is this a life or death situation? NO! Be grateful you even have food to overeat, be grateful for the friends and family who were at the party with you, be grateful for the pajamas and warm bed you sleep in every night. Come home and write down a list of all your blessings."

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3. Practice self-compassion. "What would you tell your child if she/he overindulged at a party and they told you they feel guilty for eating too many cookies and are obsessing about how much they ate?" DeFazio asks. "Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your child -- in a loving, understanding manner."

4. Play these "mind games." "If you start feeling full, but really want to try certain desserts, ask to take some home and you can try [a more controlled portion] them the next day," suggests DeFazio. "If you feel bloated the day after, remind yourself that you're retaining water due to all the salt you ate. There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. You have to eat 3,500 extra calories above what your body requires to survive just to gain a pound. So, if you ate 5,000 calories at a holiday party, you maybe gained a pound."

5. Don't dwell. "Don't turn a night of indulgence into a week-long binge," notes DeFazio. "You have to remember how you felt at the time you ate the holiday food. You wanted it, you took a bite, and another bite and it was delicious! Dwelling on the food you ate yesterday... just wastes time and energy. Get up and run errands, go shopping, and get things done. You will be productive and feel better just by getting out of the house and being active."

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6. You CAN reset. "Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy carbs for the week following and drinks lots of water," advises DeFazio. "But be kind to yourself. We create unnecessary stress from overeating. It is done, you wanted the holiday treats, and feeling guilty is not going to make you go back in time or get rid of the calories!"

 

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