Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • December 2017
Written by 

Victory over holiday eating

It’s that time of year again when we all get challenged with saying “no” to the seasonal treats, and endlessly say to ourselves, “Well, just a little bit shouldn’t hurt me.” Then we wind up sampling everything that our curious taste buds want to discover and what our eyes have already swallowed. Undoubtedly, the next day there is regret when we say to ourselves, “Why did I do that?” The purpose of this article is to help arm ourselves with ideas and approaches to manage and even have victory over the holiday snack fests that add unwanted pounds to our bodies, and disappointment in our own willpower.

First, let’s understand that we are all emotional eaters. In the first moments after your stressful experience of birth, your mom cuddled you, nurtured you, soothed you, and yes, fed you — and so then did your entrainment to be an emotional eater begin. It is built in to our emotional life. So let there be no self-condemnation over being an emotional eater!

Strategies for victory over holiday eating:

1. Plan ahead. If you get invited to a party and you know compromising food choices will be there, choose instead to eat ahead of time and bring something to share that will be safe for you to eat, like a raw vegetable platter or fresh salad. We did this for the last party we went to, about 8 years ago now. Actually that’s not true, fresh vegetable platters go over very well but alternatives to a fresh vegetable platter are many, including chicken breast prepared in a crockpot.

2. “Don’t” instead of “can’t.” Changing your thinking pattern is small, but has a large impact. Naturally, we can all say, “I can’t eat cookies,” but a more positive way to say that would be, “I don’t eat cookies.” It will have even more impact if you say it out loud to someone who presents you with an unhealthy choice: “Thank you, they look delicious, but I don’t eat cookies.” Then hold up your piece of raw broccoli, dip in the hummus and say “Cheers!” Take a bite, and party on.

3. Prepare responses in advance. Plan ahead of time how you will address the peer pressure of how everyone is eating and partying. You could say, “I have health goals that I really want to stick to this time, and so I am focusing on my relationships with friends and family instead of food. I hope you can respect that.” Having a prepared response means you will be consistent in your answers from one person to the next in case it comes up again, and it will also affirm your own resolve to the idea that no one but yourself is responsible for what you eat.

4. Better emotional eating choices. Since we are all emotional eaters, we should expect to have moments when we will be making food choices solely on our emotions. Whenever we open the refrigerator for something to eat, it is usually solely an emotional decision. Do you say to yourself, “Geez, I’ve only had four servings of vegetables so far today, and since the National Institute of Health recommends at least nine, I will heat up some frozen peas?” I didn’t think so! When we recognize that we are emotional eaters then we can plan ahead. The problem is not that we emotionally eat, the problem lies in what we reach for at that moment. When we want something crunchy, we can reach for almonds or carrots instead of potato chips. When we want something sweet we can reach for an apple or plum. Establishing a new set of foods that we reach for in times of emotional eating can make a huge difference.

5. Prepare for success. Plan the process of success instead of just the endpoint. For example, “I want to get into my old dress again” is not an example of a process of success. However, planning ahead, saying “don’t” instead of “can’t,” preparing responses in advance, having better emotional eating choices, and preparing for success are all excellent examples of the processes for success. When an approach like this is employed, you will get into the dress size you used to be because you will have changed the way you think about your daily lifestyle choices. Lastly, don’t be afraid, you can live mindfully and flourish.

“For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

May you and your family have a healthy holiday season and may you have victory over holiday eating this year.

Scott Vander Wielen, DC, DABCI

Dr. Scott Vander Wielen is a Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Internists through the American Chiropractic Association and Council for the Diagnosis of Internal Disorders. Additionally, Dr. Scott is a licensed chiropractor, certified nutritional counselor and functional medicine practitioner. He owns and operates Vander Wielen Health & Wellness Diagnostic Center, LLC, a patient centered practice employing techniques promoted by the Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Scott serves patients with gastrointestinal disorders, brain trauma, chronic cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and hormone and thyroid disorders. For more information, visit or call 920-722-2100.

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