Sharing meals with friends and family, spending quality time with your loved ones and enjoying the support and sense of belonging that comes with being connected to people, is far more meaningful and important than stressing (or obsessing!) over an extra few pounds. Rather than waste your energy wondering how you are going to restrict yourself to just one of those peanut butter Kiss cookies, try using the three “R’s:” Reduce, Relocate, and Resist.
Step 1: Reduce
Ok, it is the holidays. No sense in trying to eat salad all day and hope to get through your friend’s cocktail party without a little splurge. Instead, eat throughout the day as you normally would, but reduce the size of your plate! I like to eat on salad plates rather than dinner plates as the visually pleasing “full” plate makes me feel as if I’m eating more. This little trick has helped me on numerous occasions.
And don’t forget to plan ahead for the evening splurge. Will it be two cocktails? Extra shrimp? If you arrive at your guest’s house with a plan in place, you’ll be much more likely to keep your overeating to a minimum.
Step 2: Relocate
Remove the tempting food from its current location and relocate it somewhere in your house that requires about a 20 or 30-second walk in order to retrieve it. Maybe it’s a shelf in the laundry room, the basement, a spare cabinet in a guest room, or the garage (just make sure it’s stored in an airtight, critter-proof container). Sometimes even a too-high-to-reach shelf in one of your kitchen cabinets is all that it takes. It’s that simple. I did this with our leftover Halloween candy this year and boy did it make it make a difference!
Step 3: Resist
New research contradicts previously held beliefs that willpower is a finite resource. In the past, willpower was believed to behave like a muscle, i.e. it gets “fatigued” after use and therefore is unavailable when needed for those chocolate truffles. In 2013, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the results of a study that showed that people who believed that willpower was abundant in supply, and not something that could be depleted, performed better at resisting an impulse after completing a series complicated tasks. The subjects who believed that willpower was a finite resource however, did not do well on the secondary task and gave up more easily.
Start practicing using your willpower in little ways and build up to things that are harder for you to resist. An example might be to start resisting watching the commercials during a tv program by leaving the room or switching the channel. Start simple and easy. You want to feel in control before tackling the leftover cheesecake in the fridge!
Did any of these strategies work for you? Was one easier than another? Spread the word by “liking” this post on Facebook or sharing this article on your favorite social media platform. And of course, I’d love to hear about your success story, so join the conversation below!