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Holiday cookies in the shape of snowflakes and Christmas trees

When Everyone Else Is Inhaling Sugar Cookies, Should You?

Mmmmmmmmmmm it’s that time of year again! Reese’s peanut butter cups as far as the eye can see! Hot, buttered rolls fresh from the oven! Broccoli and cheese casserole with that crispy crust! Seven kinds of pie, right at your fingertips! Leftovers for days!

That’s right: the holidays are upon us.

It’s fun to look forward to all that delicious food, isn’t it? But maybe you feel that you aren’t allowed to enjoy them anymore, and if you do eat them, you feel guilty and end up spend two straight months beating yourself up over your health and choices. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide if you should be feasting or fasting (don’t really fast, though):

Make sure it’s worth it. Like, really worth it.

Store-bought cookies are not worth it. Ever. You can get them any time of year (if not with festive turkeys iced on to them). Eggnog? Maybe it’s worth it to you since it’s seasonal. Deep fried turkey? Yeah, again, maybe it’s worth it to you because it’s not something you can get any other time of year. Be picky; don’t just eat it because it’s there.

Sit down and savor every bite.

If you’re going to feast, make sure you taste it; it will leave you feeling much more satisfied.

Get out of the “but everybody else is doing it” mindset.

Instead of focusing on what everybody else is doing and eating, try to bring your focus back to your own personal goals and how you’re going to achieve them, even with a bowl of mashed potatoes staring you in the face.

Participate in or create some non-food related traditions.

Holidays really do feel like they’re all about the food, don’t they? The party food, the cookie baking, the meal prep, the leftovers. But food does not have to be your central focus. What about creating a new family tradition that involves a 1000 piece puzzle? What about visiting one of those drive-thru light shows? Looking at pictures of holidays past and making fun of each other’s hair? Come up with something new the whole family will enjoy (or at least tolerate).

Don’t drag holiday eating out from October 31st to January 1st.

You can totally live it up and feast if it feels really important to you—but do it once or twice through the holiday season, not every day. Trust me, you’ll feel much better when the new year rolls around.

Take good care of your whole self.

I’m not trying to get all touchy feely on you, but if your traditions are mostly centered around food (as many families’ are), you might feel like you’re seriously missing out, and that may make you feel lonely or resentful. Keep your own health and self-care in mind and do something extra (that doesn’t involve food) to keep your spirits up.

Rethink what “deprivation” means to you.

Remind yourself that you’re not depriving yourself of cheesecake, you’re depriving yourself of an upset stomach. You’re not depriving yourself of a third serving of pie, you’re depriving yourself of sky rocketing blood glucose numbers. Make it about the positive things you’re missing out on.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.