Better things to do than eat this holiday season

If you’re getting bored with tips and strategies to avoid overeating in December, I don’t blame you. I’ve written so many articles and blogs on the topic and appeared on so many news programs in Maine sharing my insight that I’m more than bored. The sad thing is that too often the focus is on eating and food, and even though it’s supposed help eat less food. All the talk about food leads to wanting to eat more of it.

What is the best way to avoid eating too many Christmas cookies?

What is the best way to avoid eating too many Christmas cookies?

I would like to share some ideas for things to do other than eat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should deprive yourself of some delicious season’s eatings. I’m saying if eating is starting to take over your holiday season, here are some things that will restore balance and make you feel great.

So while it seems like it’s the season for eating, let’s not forget it’s also the season for giving. Giving the right gift to your loved ones can fill you up with happiness in a way that food doesn’t. The saying is, “it’s not the cost, it’s the thought,” in regards to gifts, but that message gets misconstrued.

The thought that counts isn’t simply, “hey, oh yeah, here’s something for you.” It’s, “I thought about what you would really love or need or don’t have already and although it didn’t cost a lot I think it’s the best gift I could give you.”

Giving gifts with real thoughtfulness behind them take time. You don’t run into a store, grab something, shove your credit card into the chip reader and run out. You think about each person for whom you want to give a gift. You consider their likes and dislikes, and their lifestyles. What would they like that would be a good fit with that person. I’m not giving you specific suggestions because I have no idea who your people are. Furthermore, the suggested gifts for people who fall into certain categories (mine is working grandmother) don’t always fit the individuals who are on that list.

So don’t look for lists or ideas outside of your own head and your knowledge of the people who will receive a special gift from you. If you haven’t connected with those people in a while maybe paying them a visit or giving them a call will give you some excellent clues for a gift. It’s very possible that your time means more to them than a gift, so you are actually giving them two gifts – yourself and the present you selected and wrapped up to put under their tree.

Never underestimate how precious the gift of your time can be.

Never underestimate how precious the gift of your time can be.

Giving great gifts to people you love is better than trying to get happy by eating too much food that is full or fat, sugar and calories. It also keeps you feeling fulfilled in a way that food doesn’t. When you eat you will eventually feel full, for some it’s extreme discomfort, and then you stop. It’s amazing and maybe alarming how soon you feel hungry again. This is especially true when you’re surrounded by highly palatable food.

When you fill yourself up with the good feelings of giving special gifts to your special people, that feeling lasts long after you see their faces when they open their gifts. You can think about the moment over and over again and you’re right back to feeling full of joy even months after the event.

You can increase those good feelings even more by helping out people you may not even know. In fact, there are probably people on your gift list who would be happy to have you do something kind for somebody you never met even more than they would want a gift from you. For many people they would find no gift in their hand more precious than knowing you shared your good fortune with people in far less happy circumstances.

If you really want to fill yourself up with the spirit of the holiday and give gifts that matter, consider helping Jim LaPierre and Tamara Mailman with the New Found Hope Project.

If you want to do your best with your weight-related goals this holiday season, there are better things to do than eat too much. Enjoy the really good, special foods that make your holidays bright, but not too much. If you do eat too much and you start to beat yourself up for it, stop and read Recovery Rocks by Jim LaPierre, or log onto the New Found Hope Project Facebook page to see what you can do to help.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.