No Wellness Wankery

90: How to not gain weight over the holiday season

December 05, 2023 Lyndi Cohen
90: How to not gain weight over the holiday season
No Wellness Wankery
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No Wellness Wankery
90: How to not gain weight over the holiday season
Dec 05, 2023
Lyndi Cohen

During the holiday season, healthy eating can feel tough.

It doesn’t take long before the non-stop eating and drinking at the Christmas parties and BBQs begins to feel overwhelming… and the thoughts about how to avoid holiday weight gain this season are starting to creep in.

But are you ready to enjoy this special time of the year with your loved ones? Leaving the food guilt and weight worries behind?

Even just adopting one of these 10 habits can help you feel healthier and happier!

Ready to flip the narrative? Let's do it.

Once you've listened... come back and grab some freebies!

Cook more at home this holiday season, maybe get some ideas to bring to your next BBQ, with some FREE budget friendly recipes.

Do you have a question for the podcast? On this topic or maybe another?  Click this link, and send me a voice note - I would LOVE to hear from you.

Your Weight is not the Problem. Not sure if my book is for you? I’m giving away a free sample of the first section!

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

During the holiday season, healthy eating can feel tough.

It doesn’t take long before the non-stop eating and drinking at the Christmas parties and BBQs begins to feel overwhelming… and the thoughts about how to avoid holiday weight gain this season are starting to creep in.

But are you ready to enjoy this special time of the year with your loved ones? Leaving the food guilt and weight worries behind?

Even just adopting one of these 10 habits can help you feel healthier and happier!

Ready to flip the narrative? Let's do it.

Once you've listened... come back and grab some freebies!

Cook more at home this holiday season, maybe get some ideas to bring to your next BBQ, with some FREE budget friendly recipes.

Do you have a question for the podcast? On this topic or maybe another?  Click this link, and send me a voice note - I would LOVE to hear from you.

Your Weight is not the Problem. Not sure if my book is for you? I’m giving away a free sample of the first section!

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Jenna D'Apice:

Hello, this is the no Wellness Wankery podcast. My name is Jenna D'Apice and this is the place each week, where we decipher the wellness world the wankery things we should be doing, things we shouldn't. I am joined by the lovely Lindy.

Lyndi Cohen:

Hello, hello hello, and I am a dietitian, nutritionist who often goes on TV. Can I tell you the number of times I have done a segment called how to Be Healthy Over the Holidays and it's something that produces like, hey, we really want to run the story and I'm like, oh really Okay, because I know it is a pain point for many of us. We fear gaining weight. We're going oh, my goodness, there's so much food, so much potting, so much alcohol. It stresses me out at a time when we're meant to be relaxing, having fun, living our best life. We are the most anxious around food and our weight and I think that is a travesty, so let's fix this with this useful episode.

Jenna D'Apice:

Yes, there's such a stressful time for so many people, but we have 10 things that can help you have an enjoyable festive season, whatever you're doing with your friends and family, which is what it should be. And number one is counterintuitive. Thing that many people would say is to avoid under-eating or skipping meals, particularly if you have a party or a barbecue or a function. We don't need to save calories.

Lyndi Cohen:

I remember when I first hit the scene, this was very much advice running around from all, coming out of all the nutritionist lips. If you've got a big event, don't eat too much during the day, so you can save all your calories for the party food, and all that ends up happening is that you become like a Cookie Monster. When you rock up to that party, you eat way more than you want and you don't feel good during the day while you're waiting for that party to happen. This is such a common trap. This is something that many people do. Either you're under-eating before the party or you feel like you ate too much the day at the party. So the next day you're going I'm going to under-eat, and all that ends up doing is perpetuates the cycle of you under-eating and overeating, which kind of then morphs into something like binge eating, which is something that you do not need.

Jenna D'Apice:

No, and you feel like such a failure. If you go to a party and eat too much, you feel like I'm out of control, I can't control myself around food, when in reality, if you turned up starving, then your body is trying to protect itself by saying we need food Totally.

Lyndi Cohen:

You make your body feel like food is not freely available, like people ransacking the shelves during COVID because they didn't think there was enough to go around. That's your body now, turning up to the party and ransacking as much food as you possibly can. And I do want you. When you get to the party, I want you to go what would I like to eat and going for the options that you go. I'm hungry now, so I do want you to turn up to a party and actually be hungry, because that was another piece of advice we'd get Eat before you go to a party, so you don't end up eating the party food. I think that's diet advice and eating disorder advice, and I'm not a big fan. I want you to turn up to a party.

Lyndi Cohen:

Being hungry can take a little bit of juggling to get to the point that you are going to be hungry for the party, but that way you go. I'm hungry Now. I get to fulfill that hungry Now. I get to fulfill that hunger with some yummy, delicious holiday food. This doesn't happen all the time, so what a joy that this is going to happen now. So what often happens with people with disordered eating is this kind of secret eating, where we eat unhealthy foods at home by ourselves in secret, like a squirrel in a pantry. And when we're out in public, we are devout to our healthy eating regimen and we're everyone's saying I can't believe how good your willpower is but little do they know what's happening behind the scenes and the empty wrappers you are needing to be hiding?

Lyndi Cohen:

We want to flip it and reverse it. So what I want you to be doing is going. No, you know what? When I'm out at a party, that's when I'm enjoying the foods in front of other people, and if you exist in a larger body, I really understand that that might mean you're. You feel the gaze of people going. You shouldn't be eating that, or maybe someone's made comments about judging what you've eaten in the past. I want you to. I'm sorry that you have to deal with that, that you have to feel that judgment something I've definitely experienced as well but you need to sit with that discomfort and go screw them. If anyone else is judging what you're eating, that's their shit to deal with. That's their poor relationship with food. That's their problem and it's not something that you need to then absorb and take on. I want you to be brave and I want you to know I am allowed to eat party food to enjoy myself these holidays.

Jenna D'Apice:

I love that so much. And that leads us into number two, which is focus on getting more veggies in over the holiday season instead of focusing on fewer calories. And this is something you can do in all meals at the party there's sometimes things not at the party Just if you focus on what you can add in as opposed to what you can take out.

Lyndi Cohen:

Yeah, and this applies to, let's say, you're on a holiday and there's a buffet. You're going oh, what am I going to get? Yes, eat the yummy food, but then go what's got veggies in it? Let me load up on this. We don't need to wait until we get back from holiday. There is no ship that we need to try and fix.

Lyndi Cohen:

We are crowding in baby crowding in those healthy foods, so naturally, there's a little bit less space for the less healthy foods tuning into our body all the while. And something I think is a really a bit of a strain on all of us at the moment is the spending that's required when it comes to holidays or the presents oh my goodness, that's social parties and so you might be feeling like you don't have that much coin left at the ends of it. I have a free recipe book which has got 20 affordable like genuinely affordable healthy recipes that you can get. All you have to do to get it. We'll leave a link to that down on the show notes so you can grab that. Just click that, click that link. But also you can just hop onto my Instagram and leave a comment thrifty on any of my posts and you'll get prompted to get that book so you can get those recipes, because I have this idea. Do you know, meal prep is not reserved for diet.

Jenna D'Apice:

Culture Did you know that? Yeah, I'm learning that and it's very helpful. You can also just prepare and make your week in life easier, and it can be delicious.

Lyndi Cohen:

It doesn't have to be poached chicken and like sad broccoli Okay.

Jenna D'Apice:

Or 104 of the same meal.

Lyndi Cohen:

Please, no, my goodness, don't do it. It's a trap. And so number three I think is such an important one is to eat when you're hungry and to respond to that hunger. Now you might go. It's hard to eat intuitively during the holidays. I would argue it's actually the best time to be eating intuitively. You do not have the normal schedule that you have. You do not have to be at certain meetings or doing as much shift work, so this is the perfect opportunity to wake up in the morning and just wait until you get hungry. Become curious when is that? Hmm, is that first thing in the morning, or is that 10 or 11 in?

Lyndi Cohen:

the morning, when are you actually hungry and what does that hunger feel like? Allow this flexible period during the holidays to be an experiment to really get to know your hunger, to notice those patterns. So it's actually a chance to be more intuitive, not less intuitive.

Jenna D'Apice:

And that leads us into number four of when you are hungry, respond accordingly by eating satisfying foods, the foods that you really enjoy. Sometimes I know like I'd be at festive parties and there'd be like some example for me is like a fruit mince pie. I don't really like fruit mince pies, but I'd always be like it's pastry and I'm not normally allowed this type of food, so I should just eat it and it's like eat the things you really want to eat.

Lyndi Cohen:

Absolutely. That is such a beautiful example and what you find like with the French people which we talked about a couple of episodes back eating satisfying foods. So including yummy things during your day to day eating as well is such a smart thing to do. So that means adding in the healthy fats, maybe having an extra piece of toast, even though you've been told you're not allowed to eat too much toast. If you eat that extra piece of toast you might find you're so much more satisfied and don't end up face planting into the kitchen.

Jenna D'Apice:

Into number five, which is something everyone can do over the holiday season. You can change how you catch up with people if it's not making you feel good, If drinks you don't want to do too many drinks, switch to something else. You don't have to set in these same patterns every time of how you catch up with people.

Lyndi Cohen:

Yeah, particularly, if you're going to point going I feel like I've been drinking too much alcohol, it's not serving me, it's not being helpful Then you can kind of go, let's catch up for brunch. It is and I'm not talking about bottomless friends, I'm talking about like a normal brunch, even offering like can we go for a walk or can we meet for a picnic. It's a little bit less likely to turn into an abouze fest if this is the way that you are socializing and I do want you to be socializing, but not to the point of overwhelm. So if that catch up needs to be with yourself, please put that time in. We shouldn't end up the holidays feeling more exhausted and more overwhelmed and more tired because we've been too social. So those beautiful boundaries have to come out to play as well.

Jenna D'Apice:

We love that. And that leads us into tip number six of how to avoid these problems over the holidays is prioritizing your sleep, which is so, so important.

Lyndi Cohen:

I talk about this a lot, this idea that if you are not getting quality sleep, your body will crave energy, and the simplest and easiest way to get energy is through food. So sleeping is the bottom of the hierarchy of healthy habits which I talk about in length in my book. Your Weight is Not the Problem If you have not read the book.

Lyndi Cohen:

Please go read that book. They all listen to it. It is the groundwork for everything that you need to know. When it comes to this approach and sleeping and resting which also counts those beautiful naps that you can sneak in I want you to start to go. What if I stopped tracking calories on my weight and I started tracking sleep? Because having good quality sleep means you have more energy, you might be more likely to exercise, you might go oh, actually feel like I'm not going for those higher sugar foods because I feel like I don't need all that extra energy, because I got the energy from sleep. So, prioritizing sleep and I know it's tricky Stop scrolling at 9 pm at night. I have to keep learning that again and again each night, but do it this holiday.

Jenna D'Apice:

It is very hard to do. We're not saying it's an easy task, but it definitely can be done. Number seven we love this. Me and Lindy both have them Our emotional support. Water bottles they're the best.

Lyndi Cohen:

I'd recommend getting one that's one liter. I know people have tried, like you, get two liter ones. Once someone told me they had a four liter one. I was like very hard to transport, very hard. Where is that fitting in your car? I feel like I don't even know you're getting that around. That is like lifting, lugging your weight around with you the whole day. No wonder you're not drinking it.

Lyndi Cohen:

Remembering as well with hydrations, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol, we want to be alternating alcoholic beverage with water. That's always a lovely, nice thing to do the day after you've been drinking. Oh, my goodness, you've got to get that water and text that your wee is a light colored yellow. It's not a bright smell, intensive kind of urine. It is light and fine and a non-issue. So make sure you're drinking enough water. Super important Number eight this is also a chance to move your body and find what enjoyable movement looks like for you.

Lyndi Cohen:

A reminder exercise does not need to make you sweat. You do not need to get your heart rate up. It does not need to ache your muscles. You are allowed to embrace gentle, enjoyable movements. You're also allowed to embrace intense, enjoyable movements. All these things can be true.

Lyndi Cohen:

So my question to you is in what type of way would you move your body if it wouldn't lead to weight loss? Because when we do look at the research, we see actually exercise does not really contribute to weight loss. It really does not. It's totally overstated. However, it gives you a whole bunch of energy and helps you sleep better and improves your mental health. And, oh my goodness, the flow and effects are out of control wild. So if you can find an enjoyable daily practice of moving with enjoyment, that's what I want you to use this holiday period for. So even if you're going listen, I feel like I'm eating too much you can still go. Okay, I'm going to drink a little bit more water, or I'm going to use this time to find my enjoyable movement. You do not need to say, well, I'm not eating that, well, so screw the exercise and screw the thing and I'll start again in January 1st. We do not want to do that.

Jenna D'Apice:

So that's a good way to lead into number nine. And it is the holiday period. You're allowed to have fun, you're allowed to eat yummy foods. There's no failing Because you're not on a bandwagon, there's nothing to fall off. You're just living your life.

Lyndi Cohen:

Notice that all of nothing mindset when you start to go listen. I'll just start again in January. No you're not, this isn't stopped, so you haven't failed. This is see failure not as failure, but as feedback. So every time you go, okay, so I feel like I ate too much. Why was that? Become curious as opposed instead of judgmental, and know that you can do things in parallel with each other. You don't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Jenna D'Apice:

That leads us on to our final point, number 10, which I think is such an important one, and that it's that you can eat holiday foods whenever you want to. All of these foods are available, so you don't need to binge on them now, because you have three days where you're allowed to eat them for the entire year and they're never going to come back. You don't need to do that. They're always available. You can. If you're full, you can eat them tomorrow, you can eat them the next day. You don't need to binge on them and then start some big diet.

Lyndi Cohen:

And I think this idea if you know that you're not going to deprive yourself of them when it comes to January 1st, if you're not going to say, listen, we have to fix this and turn this whole ship around, then you don't actually binge, eat on them, you don't need them to excess and you solve the whole problem. So what Jen is saying is spot on. I wish Easter eggs were available all year round. It means we probably wouldn't binge on them as often as it happens. But really, easter eggs are really just chocolate in cute little forms.

Lyndi Cohen:

Everyone, thank you for listening to today's episode. I hope that you can see yourself in the mirror this holiday and look at yourself and, instead of allowing that diet voice that tells you that you need to drastically lose weight, that you look wrong, that your body needs fixing, if you can hear that voice and decide to think of your brain as a radio and go, you know what. We're going to turn off that voice and that voice. You don't get to dictate what I do. I might desire weight loss, but I'm not going to act on that weight loss. I'm not going to pursue it. I'm not going to sacrifice 95% of my life to weigh 5% less. I do not need to turn the ship around. If you can do that practice of self-acceptance, of body acceptance you are just a work in progress, you don't need to be perfect Then I think your holiday will be a whole lot more manageable.

Jenna D'Apice:

And enjoy it. We love it. Thank you so much for listening, as always. If you could leave us a review, we would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, please send them through. We'll have the note, the link in the show notes, for you to send through a question and have a great holiday season If we don't hear from you again. Otherwise, we'll chat to you next week.

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