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Gifting Food Freedom this Holiday Season

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Avoid the pitfalls of dieting this holiday season and enjoy the food you eat.

The holiday season can be absolutely wonderful, but for many it is also very stressful. The list of to-dos gets longer and longer every year, and we find ourselves scrambling from store to store along with everyone else. Tensions run high as we lose precious hours of daylight along with the motivation to be active and maintain our stress management practices. So how do you navigate this time of year knowing

that just around the corner is the new year, the most popular time to sign up for a gym membership and go on a diet in an attempt to amend for the holiday treats that we indulged in?

Why do we do this year after year?

Isn’t there a way to actually enjoy the season and maybe get some much needed rest? Isn’t there a way to avoid the pitfalls of the holidays and the dry spell that hits after the New Year? Why do we label ourselves as naughty during the holidays only to turn around and repent for the following months?

Do I really want to “be naughty” this season and resolve to “be good” next year?

There are many reasons why those holiday treats are so tempting

Sweets are so easy to get and it's so easy to eat them. They are in almost every store you enter, every office and almost every friend or family member seems to be baking this time of year. Cold weather makes us want to bundle up and stay indoors. It also signals to our bodies that is it time to gain weight as a means of helping us stay warm.

The hours of daylight shortens sending the signal that it's bedtime earlier and earlier and to wake later and later. Many people also suffer from seasonal depression because of the change in hours and quality of sunlight. The combination of the change in temperature and hours of daylight make it harder to wake up and get outside which ultimately reduces our activity and changing our metabolism.

But we still need that dopamine rush!

Dopamine is a happy neurotransmitter in our brain. When we play video games or scroll through social media, we look for the dopamine rush of getting comments on our page or from hearing the "ding" every time we score points in our game. We get dopamine from food, too, especially food that contains sugar. Our bodies need carbs for fuel so it makes sense from a evolutionary standpoint that we get positive feedback from our brains when we eat them.

When we just want to sleep but there's a million things to do, we look for things to raise our energy level and bring us some of that happiness we so desperately need. One of the fastest ways to get this is through eating treats. The fat and sugar in treats gives us that dopamine and makes us feel more energized momentarily. It wears off quickly, but there's always more treats to be had! So if we are not careful, we've eaten an entire pie before realizing that eating only for pleasure is not sustainable.

We are often taught that we are "being naughty" when eating sweets, but the reality is that we are being human.

It's tough, though, when coworkers and friends are bringing in treats constantly, trying to spread holiday cheer. If we have learned not to bring treats into our homes because we lack the self-control to avoid them, all of the sudden we find that treats are everywhere we look and the temptation is hard to bear. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by saying "no thank you," so we sample, and sample again, and maybe just one more..


So what are some techniques people use to help prevent overindulging in holiday treats?

There are many techniques for enjoying the holidays without worrying about gaining weight or feeling bad. We are often taught that we are "being naughty" when eating sweets, but the reality is that we are being human. If we can change the way we think about holiday eating, we can enjoy ourselves much more. This holiday season, be thankful for what your body CAN do and forget about what it isn't.

Go against diet culture: DON'T weigh yourself