Staying on Track for the Holidays

By Emily Myers

The joys of eating bagels, hot pockets, and an abundance of coffee are over. You survived finals and are making your way home. For many, this may mean doing away with your usual eating, sleeping (or lack of) and exercise routine, and indulging in one too many sugar cookies. Read these tip to help you stay on track and reduce the post-holiday guilt.
1. Not too Hungry, Not too Full, Just Right
It is important to treat special days like any other in the sense of eating. Wake up and eat breakfast, do as you would if there wasn’t an awesome party to go to in the evening. Restricting yourself for the day may lead to overeating later, whether at the party or after. Likewise, filling up on a large meal right before an awesome party isn’t a smart move either. You want to enjoy all the hard work the hostess put into the event, including the cheese platter, pigs in a blanket, and warm, gooey snickerdoodles.

2. Graze
In short, taste a little of everything and eat all of nothing. For some, like myself, parties are a chance to explore new and different food traditions. There is only one day of the year where Aunt Sue makes here broccoli and cheese casserole, Jake makes his pumpkin crumble, and Olivia shares her almond toffee, and I wouldn’t want to miss out. If you find yourself in a similar situation with too many yummy eats and not enough time, tasting may be the key to satisfying the foodie in you.

3. Eat More of What You Like
On the other hand, eating a well portioned meal may be more satisfying. If you eat turkey but not pork, or prefer green beans over Brussel sprout, portioning out a standard meal may be a better option for you. Stay true to your needs and expectations. You know which track will fill up both your belly and that festive spirit.
4. Sink up with Your Hunger Cues
Mindful eating talks a lot about this term, “hunger cues”. Essentially, it is distinguishing between emotional hunger and physical hunger. Where eating can become a coping mechanism to avoid uncomfortable emotions. It’s no wonder it is a topic so relevant to the holiday season. One tip to help stay in tune with your hunger is to wait 20-30 minutes between helpings. This allows your brain to catch up with your belly, which prevents overeating. Fill the gap with activities, like people watching, or play a game- engage in conversation. Often times, distracting the mind for 20-30 minutes helps distinguish physical hunger from emotional hunger.


5. Slow and Steady
Stay in the moment, enjoy the corny decoration, conversations with guests, and energy of the holiday season. By engaging in your environment the anxiety associated with food may be decreased. Eat your food, notice the flavor and texture- take pride in how it will sustain you through every cha-cha slide and cupid shuffle.

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