Stores in my town have had a constant flow of holiday candy since September of last year. First it was Halloween candy, then the Christmas candy appeared, then Valentine’s candy, and now Easter candy is everywhere.
These holidays just keep coming around year after year, and I know how tempting it is to use an upcoming holiday as an excuse to either put off your diet or go off your diet.
While a piece of candy or cake will not a diet ruin, there are many people who do let holidays get in the way of their weight loss efforts.
I have had people tell me, “Well, it’s Easter week so I’m just going to eat whatever I want and then get started later.” Other people tell me that they love Hershey or Cadbury eggs so much that their Easter just wouldn’t be complete without having a bag or two around. Still other people start off with the best of intentions but let the abundance of treats and candy derail them.
That was me for a lot of years. I’d tell myself that I was going to be “good” through Easter or whatever holiday was approaching, but I’d soon find myself making excuses for buying candy, eating bunny cupcakes by the half dozen, or baking a lamb cake for “the family.” (Really though, the family had three small pieces and I worked through the rest of the little lamb cake.)
My excuses ranged from “they only sell Cadbury eggs at Easter” to “I’ve been “good”on my diet for a whole month and I deserve a break.”
I found that once I took a “break” from my diet to celebrate a holiday with food, I was very unlikely to get back on track for quite some time. Instead of allowing myself a planned indulgence and continuing on my diet, I kept allowing myself indulgences until the memories of my previous diet attempt were distant and faded.
So how do you get through the holidays without getting off track?
Here are a few tips I recommend (and use) and I hope you will add some of your own.
1. Decide in advance what holiday foods are and are not coming into your home.
Easter baskets for the kids do not get purchased or filled until the Saturday night before Easter. I used to buy Easter candy when it first appeared in the store and ate bag after bag before the actual day. This was not good. Now, we buy any candy on Saturday I choose not to fill the eggs. Why? Because I know that even after all these years of maintenance, those little chocolate eggs still tempt me and I don’t want to feel tempted. (And before you judge – we do give the kids Easter candy and that’s a decision that each family has to make for themselves. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me! )
I make one dessert for our Easter lunch. I usually make something very small like cheesecake bites or cake balls shaped like tiny Easter eggs. A little taste works just as well as a bunch. I do not use the holiday as an excuse to make a huge variety of “Easter” desserts.
2. Be brutally honest with yourself
It is easy to use a holiday such as Easter as an excuse to go off your diet – after all the candy is appealing, there are egg hunts, and special holiday celebrations. When I was losing weight I had to confess to myself that I waslooking for a reason to quit my diet and I used a holiday as an excuse.
3. Remind yourself that Easter comes every year
Oftentimes I’d act as though there would never be another Easter or other holiday. I ate as though my life depended on consuming enough Cadbury eggs, chocolate bunnies, or jelly beans. Now I understand that letting the holidays flow around my already healthy eating patterns is the healthiest and easiest way to live. While Easter is a special holiday to us as a Christian family, it is just one day and that day does not need to revolve around food.
4. Plan, plan, plan
Instead of creating excuses – plan ahead. If you want a chocolate and you know that won’t negatively affect you – go ahead. If you don’t want any – that’s good too. Planning is the key for me when it comes to holidays. If I have a plan that I am committed to – the holiday usually passes by with little food angst.
I know this was a long post, but it is so important to learn how to handle holidays. They always pop up – the stores stock candy and treats months ahead of the holidays and all the social celebrations make it vital to know what you are going to do and not make excuses to quit your quest for a healthier life.
Have you seen people use holidays as an excuse? What is your advice on handling holidays? Diane