How Restricted Eating During the Holidays Can Backfire
| 3 min read
What is restricted eating?
- By time: Similar to intermittent fasting, some set up a window of time each day when they allow themselves to eat. If they pick an eight-hour window (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for example), eating at an evening holiday gathering is off-limits.
- By meal: Some people skip certain meals throughout the day, saving up all daily calorie consumption for a large holiday dinner.
- By food type: Some define their restrictive eating by food type and declare some types of food or ingredients off-limits. They might decide not to drink alcohol, or forgo any desserts, passing up all the holiday cookies, pies and chocolates. Others may lean toward a vegetarian diet during the holidays, saying “no thank you” to all the turkey, ham and bacon-wrapped appetizers offered on the spread.
Why restricted eating is problematic
- A mindset of restriction can make people feel stressed
- Banning certain foods can make a person want them even more
- Feelings of guilt and shame may arise when eating a restricted food, depriving the person of enjoyment
- Feelings of being food-deprived can lead to binge eating or overeating
- Ongoing restriction could impact metabolism, and may make it more difficult to achieve weight loss
How to enjoy holiday favorites in moderation
- Aim to fill half the dinner plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein and the remaining quarter with the rest.
- If a large meal is being served, go light on the appetizers. Drink a hydrating beverage before the main event.
- If asked to bring a meal to a potluck or party, bring something balanced with plenty of fiber, nutrients, protein and healthy fats.
- If invited to a late dinner or evening party with food, have a snack at the regular mealtime and then stick to small portions during the event.
- Take a small serving of all holiday favorites and concentrate on savoring them.
- Don’t skimp on sleep, water or regular exercise during the holidays. All these things can keep a person feeling their best.