Counting and tracking is stressful. Look at the ways it brings us stress:
- How does this holiday treat count?
- I’m eating a lot of food that’s not part of my typical food plan. It’s stressing me out having to look up how these unfamiliar foods count. I like to eat on autopilot and already know, for the most part, how to count what I’m eating.
- Too much food! There’s no way I’m not going to beyond my target by noon.
- I’m exceeding my limits everyday! What’s the point of all of this? I’m weak and have no discipline or willpower. This is futile … and yet, I don’t give up on my wish to get thin, just the belief in my power to actually do it.
The obvious way to eliminate the stress is to throw caution and the food plan to the wind. We can simply plan to get started again after the holidays. And though you think it will destress your holidays, it usually backfires.
Instead of gleefully going about the business of holiday eating what you want without counting and tracking, you can’t get rid of the nagging thoughts:
- How much am I going to gain?
- How many pounds have I already packed on?
- What will I wear when nothing fits?
- I’m eating so unhealthfully!
- What’s all this sugar and fat and calories doing to my heart and my risk of type 2 diabetes?
- I’m not as young as I used to be and it’s harder to lose.
- How hard and how long will it take to erase the holidays from my scale?”
Yes, the counting and tracking is gone, but the stress lingers on!
Here’s an idea for stressless holidays. Don’t count and track and don’t throw caution to the wind. Try something new! Weight Watchers calls it their “Simply Filling” technique. It’s based on eating mostly nutritiously loaded, low-energy density, good-for-you foods. In addition to all of those healthful, weight control properties, there are plenty of them available everywhere and lots you will enjoy.
I’m not suggesting you turn your back on rich, holiday treats in favor of eating bland, healthy food. I’m suggesting you pick your delicious food from the Power Foods list and eat to feel satisfied without the added stress of counting and tracking.
You can have your treats too. Choose the best of the best. Pay attention to frequency, but don’t stress over accuracy of counting. Indeed, don’t count. A few bites is generally all you need to be satisfied. Little servings will do the trick and the smaller the servings the more flexibility you will have to sample a larger variety of treats.
In addition to a way of eating that removes the stress of counting and tracking, another highly effective means of reducing stress is spending a brief amount of time weekly with people who know and understand the struggles, because your struggles are theirs too.
Think of a cable that supports a suspension bridge. It starts with little wires that are twisted with many, many more little wires and as those wires become intertwined they build a strong, flexible means of supporting the weight of the bridge and the traffic that drives over it daily.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive to add another commitment to your already too-full holiday schedule. I’m talking about 40 minutes, once a week. It’s not a lot of time and it leaves you feeling energized, powerful, motivated, and with a significantly reduced stress level.
This is the time of year when group support can do more for your mind and body than any other time of year, and yet it’s when we cut it out of our agendas to make time for more stressful activities.
I invite all of my readers in Maine to visit a Weight Watchers of Maine meeting for free. See for yourself how it can be the stress reliever you need to get through the holidays happy, well-fed, and feeling calm.