I’m sure you are at least superficially aware that diets don’t work. If not, let me give you a pro tip: Diets Don’t Work. They don’t work because they often require a Herculean effort in willpower that is made even more difficult by the simple fact that you’re flipping hungry. You’re hungry because you’re restricting calories and likely, in the process, also cutting out the very things that make you feel satiated (i.e. fat).
Then the holidays come around with endless temptation at every turn, not to mention the lack of sunlight causing seasonal depression, and your family and friends heckling you for being on another silly diet. It’s a recipe for disaster. Consequently, many people give it up entirely for the month of December and start binging on goodies, vowing to start the diet again in the new year. Hence, the holiday gorge.
Um, the what?
You know what the holiday gorge is. You’ve been abstaining from sweets and doing fairly well. Then the holiday cookies start appearing. You think, “In the spirit of the season, it would be okay to have just one little cookie.” Before you know it the whole plate is gone and you feel like someone punched you in the gut. Don’t tell me that I’m the only one this happens to.
I am addicted to sugar. There, I said it. If I open a sleeve of Thin Mints you can count the whole thing gone. Yes, me. The wellness coach who talks about the dangers of sugar and perils of processed food. Sugar is highly addictive. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “Animal data has shown significant overlap between the consumption of added sugars and drug-like effects, including bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitisation [sic], cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward and opioid effects.” (1) Several other studies have shown the same thing. A quick Google search can give you loads of information supporting the theory that sugar is actually more addictive than heroin or cocaine.
What to do
So, are you out of luck over this season of the Christmas cookie, hot cocoa, and eggnog, not to mention cocktails? Not necessarily. I mentioned before that diets don’t work. So don’t diet. Don’t even use the dieting mindset hoping it will carry you through the endless office cookie exchange. It won’t. Do be mindful.
Mindful eating involves being fully aware of every morsel that enters your mouth. Use all of your senses to truly experience each bite. Slowly savor each piece so that what often is an unconscious activity now becomes an experience. In this way, you are likely to eat less because each bite matters more.
Remember to aim for progress, not perfection. It is a process. Be mindful of your intentions. Why do you want to eat better? What is your motivation behind not devouring the plate of cookies? Your weight? Your health in general? Sensitivities or allergies? Keep your intention close, but don’t be too hard on yourself.
It is helpful to have a support group to hold you accountable when you feel ready to give in to the gorge. This could be your family, a trusted friend, an accountability partner, an online group, or a coach.
A coach can also give you valuable alternatives to sugar. For me, being hungry drives me to reach for anything that’s easy. A coach can help you find ways to fend off that hunger so you have a higher chance of success. She can also help you identify the reasons behind why you are having cravings in the first place. And what do you know, I happen to know a coach who is taking on new clients! Send me an email to let me know you’re interested in becoming the best version of yourself in the new year! firstname.lastname@example.org
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The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/26/ajcn.113.064113.full.pdf+html
Dr. Joseph Mercola https://articles.mercola.com/sugar-addiction.aspx