Nutrition Articles

Busting the Top 5 Excuses to Overindulge During the Holidays

Strategies to Cope with Holiday Eating

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Everyone was eating…even the mouse! 
 
The most wonderful time of the year is back, and that means one thing: notorious holiday parties! Between the office buffet, neighborhood open house, family gatherings, religious festivities, and community get-togethers, sticking to a healthy eating plan becomes, well, difficult to say the least. 

The reason? Simple. Tempting, high fat, calorie-laden dishes are the common denominator of almost every holiday celebration. And excuses for overindulgence are as easy to find as holiday cheer. 
 
Check out the following excuses. If any of them sounds familiar, don’t worry. SparkPeople has the strategies to help you deal with these excuses, and still enjoy the holiday season.
 
Excuse #1: The food looks and tastes so good! How can I resist?
It’s true—there will be plenty of terrific foods. But will you feel good after you eat them? Imagine yourself overindulging. How do you feel afterwards? Was the taste really worth it? Could you have received the same pleasure with a smaller amount?
 
Excuse #2: It’s a special occasion. It only comes once a year.
The holidays only come once a year, but the parties, events, and gifts of food never seem to end! Stop and decide which ones are really worth the splurge. When it is time for the splurge, bank calories from earlier in the day.
 
Excuse #3: Everyone else is eating. The hostess will be offended.
Just because everyone is eating does not mean that you have to eat everything too. Choosing smaller portions shouldn’t offend anyone. Remember, “If you half-it, you can have it.” And sometimes it may be necessary to “just say no”.
 
Excuse #4: I should offer desserts to the company in my home.
Keeping your favorite desserts at home usually spells trouble. When treats are in the house, more of the dessert usually ends up in you, rather than your guests. Therefore, keep some low fat, low-calorie alternatives on hand. Check out SparkPeople’s Dessert Recipes for some ideas. Make a trip to your local library and flip through the healthy holiday cooking magazines and books for other creative alternatives.
 
Excuse #5: I’ll get back to my healthy eating plan tomorrow.
This thinking is okay, as long as it is realistic. Make sure an occasional splurge does NOT become a repeated excuse (or turn into “next week” or “next month”). 

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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • With Christmas approaching, this is a very useful article! I'm known to have fooled myself with all of these excuses... But this year I'm serious about losing weight so I know better, and I have an attack plan! I like your "If it's half-it, I can have it" motto and I'll remember it all through the holiday season! - 12/10/2014 10:30:20 AM
  • AZURE-SKY
    I've started making "mini" treats. Instead of making a pan of brownies that I can cut any size, I make mini brownies in my mini muffin pans. When I make Christmas cookies (a tradition in my house), I make them smaller than the recipe says to. Nobody even notices!

    I'm going to a neighborhood holiday party this week, and instead of making a rich dessert, I'm making decorated cake balls. This gives everyone the opportunity to taste the dessert, instead of eating a whole slice of cake. I do the same thing with appetizers. - 12/6/2013 12:19:02 PM
  • Remember - if anyone should be offended by your responsible food choices, well, then, isn't it time to rethink that relationship? - 12/6/2013 4:20:35 AM
  • Carrots, maybe...but low calorie dip is never gonna dance in my head.....And the mouse
    Ain't ....that's right I said ain't getting nothing for Christmas....ok..
    .perhaps some crumbs!

    Great Article!
    - 12/1/2013 11:48:57 PM
  • I have a party tonight, Thanksgiving next week and 3 parties the first week in December. Really appreciated these ideas. I also plan to track my foods even if I indulge as I tend to skip that task. I will even log the next day as I don't know what is on the menu. - 11/23/2013 1:32:31 PM
  • Use and Ice Cream Scoop to control portions two scoops is about a half of a cup. I cook the Thanksgiving Dinner so there are plenty of veggie's for tomorrow. - 11/23/2011 7:15:46 PM
  • Thank you for reminding people about the cookbooks at the library! We are often a forgotten resource in the fight for a healthier lifestyle!
    - 11/23/2011 7:08:10 AM
  • CATHEITE
    I like Becky's suggestions for developing "a system of attack." The holiday excuse that I use most often is Special Occasion. I also eat more due to stress and nervousness. I've always felt very uncomfortable at social gatherings and rather than make awkward conversation, I reach for something to keep my hands and mouth busy. Having recognized this issue, however, I hope to make a change this year. - 12/4/2009 10:42:49 AM
  • Becky,
    This is a great article, full of imaginative ideas, and you are a good writer! - 11/14/2009 12:32:57 PM
  • PERENNIALX88
    Skip dessert & deposit a dollar in you box to give to a food bank for poor folks who can't afford bread! - 12/25/2008 8:36:41 AM
  • Great article. - 12/20/2008 10:14:13 PM
  • this was a great article!
    we are actually having an office party today where everyone brings food and eat ALL DAY!

    I opted to not bring a thing though because if i cook sweets i usually end up eating them while im cooking!

    i think the tip: how will you feel if you over indulge is great!!

    i never think about how i will feel if i eat too much until its too late, and i feel like crap and im mad at myself for sabatoging all my hard work! - 12/18/2008 11:06:52 AM
  • This was a good article. I get caught up with the "I'll get back on track tomorrow" way of thinking----and I'm now remembering that there's ALWAYS a reason to overeat (SuperBowl Party, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.), so I now focus on how I feel when I can slip my jeans on and no struggle to pull them up. - 11/19/2008 1:54:16 PM
  • this is some good advice, I much on carrots & celery before I go to a party where I know there will be alot of good food. - 12/9/2007 6:02:26 PM
  • Great article! One of the things I find when I overindulge on deserts & pastries during the holidays & keep too many "goodies" on hand is that it then becomes a hard-to-break habit for me & I find myself craving desert after dinner every day instead of a more heathy snack of fresh fruit. - 12/9/2007 12:48:57 PM

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