How to Pleasurably Cut Back on Holiday Sweets

Escape. Running woman refuses to eating tasty cakes. DietingSweets seem to be just about everywhere during the holiday season– between the holiday parties, the family gatherings, the strategically placed treats at the supermarket, and the vacations– the variety and bounty of sugar can be difficult to resist. How many of us end up eating foods around the holidays that we actually don’t want to eat simply because they are in front of us? We see it, eat it, and have a physical reaction—we just don’t feel good—but this can also be psychological– we feel bad/guilty/gross/oh my! In part we feel this way because we did not act according to what is important to us. Cutting ourselves off completely from sweets can feel un-festive and bad as well though. In addition, it may not be a realistic goal for many who have never successfully done that before. This blog therefore contains an eating strategy for those of us who are either not ready or don’t want to go cold turkey but are committed to being more intentional and disciplined in our holiday eating.

Many of us have one holiday treat that we really lust after. Mine is pumpkin pie— a fluffy, custardy pumpkin pie whose filling is so silky I could put it on like lingerie. Perhaps your treat involves chocolate or festively decorated gingerbread or candy canes or rich egg nog… In any case, how many of us end up eating all of it? At the office holiday party, we load our plates with whatever draws us in in that moment. For example, how many of us have eaten those powdery Italian wedding cookies that make an appearance this time of year even though we know they’re usually not that good.

This holiday season be choosy. Invest only in the thing you love and get monogamous with your favorite sweet. Let it be your primary source of sweet pleasure. Select one thing— chocolate Bon Bons, gingerbread, even that Italian wedding cookie—and refuse all other temptation. This increases the likelihood that you will ultimately consume less. In addition, your body has to work harder when you eat a lot of different kinds of foods and it becomes harder to realize when you are satisfied and when to stop eating.

In addition, each rendezvous between your favorite sweet and your tastebuds will be much sweeter. This is not to say that you should eat every last bite of your chosen treat available on the table or even as much as your heart desires in that moment. To the contrary! Start with a small amount. Eat slowly—make it a marathon and not a sprint. Relish in it. Savor. Every. Bite. Notice how the quality of this one compares to others you’ve had. What do you appreciate about this one, this moment?

Bringing more consciousness to your eating and cutting back on the things that do not serve you will not only help you to navigate the holidays with ease and enjoyment, but it also starts you off on a less guilty, more pleasurable New Year. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

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