When you go to a holiday party, gingerbread men, colorful sugar cookies and other “special” holiday desserts seem eager to jump into your mouth, right?
When you buy necessities like paper towels or batteries at the drug store, you’ll be enticed by Santa’s favorite, red-and-white candy canes, along with bags and bags of candies, many with a holiday theme.When you shop for groceries at the supermarket, you'll find pies, cupcakes, cakes, and more cookies displayed near the checkout line so that you'll be enticed to make an impulse buy before you leave.
How can you "win" in these circumstances?Naturally, in all of these scenarios, you could give in and over-indulge -- as many people do this time of year.
But you know that if you grabbed and gobbled all those sweet “goodies,” you'd plunge into Sugar Shock. This means all that excess sugar could trigger a number of unwanted side effects, including headaches, mood swings, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and worse.
As it is, most people over-indulge in sugar all year long -- not just over the holidays. The average American consumes some 170 pounds a year (yes, that's higher than the 140-pound figure most often cited). And all that sugar overdosing can lead to heart disease, cancer, and an early death.
Back to the holidays, though. You can choose to be kind to yourself during this holiday season without feeling deprived and without losing either your willpower or waistline. (Now, if you already have weight you want to lose, you don’t have to gain more.)
What? The Sugar Freedom Coach (that's me, Connie), is telling you that it's okay to do a little bit of indulging?
Yes, I'm telling you that if you can handle it (and you may not be able to do so), you may decide to indulge a little, but not splurge. You can always quit sugar in January. (You're even invited to join my Sugar Freedom Course, which begins Jan. 15.)Admittedly, it’s not easy to say no to alluring desserts, especially in this season of good cheer and endless partying and let’s face it, the Holiday Season of Sugar Overload.
That’s why I'm dedicated to creating simple, fun ways to help you easily turn down or turn away from temptations, or to even partake just a little.
Here are five painless tips on How to Indulge over the Holidays without Losing Your Willpower or Waistline.
1. Mingle Instead of Nibble or Gobble.
The holidays are really about celebrating with loved ones, friends, and colleagues, as well as connecting with and spreading good cheer to strangers. So, wherever you are, whether it’s a party, drug store or supermarket, step away from your sugar obsession and engage with people around you. Compliment the party hostess on her beautiful decorations. Tell the drug store employee that you admire her beautiful blouse. Thank the person bagging your grocery items for his dedication to serving people over the holidays.
2. Pick Your "Delight" Wisely.
You know the concept and phrase, "Pick your battles [fights] wisely"? That means you want to focus on one particular issue or annoyance rather than address too many challenges at once. The term actually refers to "a well-known aspect of military strategy, which suggests that when troops are thinly stretched, they are often unsuccessful." (Thanks to WiseGeek for this explanation.) In other words, if you're a country at war, it's better to fight on one front rather than two or more. Now, in your case, when you indulge, you want to zero in on the absolute best, most delicious-looking dessert. Forget those run-of-the-mill candies or cookies. You want to carefully select the sugary food that most appeals to you.
3. Really See the Sweets.
Usually sugar addicts scarf dessert foods with lickety-split speed. They don’t even look at what they’re about to eat. Before indulging, I invite you to seriously study the sugary food that most attracts you. What colors are the cookies? What’s the texture of the cupcake? What ingredients do you think were used in that beautiful cake? How long do you think it took to make them? In other words, look at these sweets as untouchable art objects.
4. Claim Your Sugar Power: Know that You Can, but Won’t—For Now. Make a Quick Getaway.
If you’ve tried the above two techniques and you still want something sweet to eat, then it’s time to Claim Your Power. Remember that you have a choice—many choices, a number of times a day, according to consumer psychologist Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. So go ahead and pick up the tempting food. Then glare at it. Seriously! Know that you can eat it, but you won’t---for now at least. Then look at your watch or get the time from someone else and give yourself a 15-minute Time-Out. You will not indulge during that time. Then, Make a Quick Getaway. If you’re at a party, go into another room and chat with other guests. If you’re at a drug store or supermarket, try to leave as quickly as possible without succumbing to any of those deceptively appealing treats.
5. Take a Taste, If You Can. (You Can Always Quit Sugar Later.)
There may come a time when you have had “enough” of these cool tricks. Perhaps you’re tired of feeling “deprived.” Besides, you may be thinking, “It’s the holidays, and they only come once a year, so why can’t I indulge like everyone else does?” If you feel this way and if you believe you can handle it, then go ahead: Take a Taste. Please note, however, that not everyone can do this. Some people can stop after just one or two bites —but many others find it brutally tough to have “a little” dessert. (There’s fascinating research showing just how addictive sugar can be.) If you honestly think you have the kind of personality and mindset to rein yourself in and you choose to Take a Taste, decide in advance exactly how much you’ll have. I recommend one to four small bites maximum, preferably just one. But before you put any sweets in your mouth, toss out the rest—preferably into a compostable pail or garbage can. (This may sound wasteful and disrespectful to starving people, but it’s far more wasteful and disrespectful to your precious body to over-indulge like many people do this Holiday Season of Sugar Overload.) Now that you’ve set aside your modest, sweet portion, go back to really seeing the dessert, and slowly savor your few bites. As you chew, think about how wonderful this treat tastes, if it does. (You may find that your small dessert portion isn’t nearly as good as you thought it would be, as clients have shared with me). Also contemplate how much more wonderful it will be if you keep the healthy body you have or even slim down a little over the holidays. Now, that really would be sweet!
Connie Bennett is author of the bestselling books, Beyond Sugar Shock and Sugar Shock. Connie has achieved international recognition as the Sugar Freedom Coach, and she has helped thousands of people worldwide to easily break free of their sugar addiction so they can get slimmer, sexier and sweeter. Connie is also a charismatic motivational speaker, a certified life coach, a certified health coach, and a popular radio host (Gab with the Gurus). A former sugar addict, Connie knows what it’s like to feel addicted to candies, cookies, and cakes. In 1998, she reluctantly quit sugar on doctor’s orders, and all 44 of her ailments disappeared, including her horrible headaches, scary heart palpitations, and severe PMS. Connect with Connie on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SmartHabitsFans, and learn about her Sugar Freedom Now Course at www.BreakFreeWithConnie.com.