You want to fully enjoy holiday foods without feeling like you’re backtracking on your weight goals.
But, you might wonder, is this even possible?
If you have a history of dieting, you might believe that cutting out pleasurable foods is necessary to lose weight. You think that “eating the right things” is what’s required to eat healthy.
Turns out, you can enjoy holiday foods AND lose weight — in fact, creating this experience of healthy eating is necessary to achieve long-term changes.
In this episode, I’ll teach you how to eat healthy during the holidays without sacrificing the enjoyment of the foods you love.
We’ll dive into:
→ What prevents you from fully enjoying the holiday eating experience
→ The identity you need to adopt to control food without sacrificing the pleasure of your meals
→ Strategies to implement before the holidays to establish control over your eating habits
→ How to indulge in the foods you love more without jeopardizing your weight goals
The goal this holiday season? To eat healthy without sacrificing the enjoyment you want to experience, not just with food but with family, friends, and loved ones.
It turns out, you can eat the foods you’re most looking forward to, enjoy them even more fully, and still create the weight loss you desire.
Hello, welcome back to the podcast this week. So we are just about at that time of the year where the holidays are coming in full swing. And I want you to feel prepared as you go into these meals, these eating experiences, and these moments during the holidays. And so what we’re going to really solidify today is how you can eat healthy and maintain your progress during your holiday meals.
And what we’re going to focus on in today’s episode is how you can eat healthy without sacrificing the enjoyment you wanna have this holiday season. That is how we do it. In my practice, we do not sacrifice the enjoyment and fulfillment you wanna have with foods you love for the weight goal. We teach you how to have both. So here’s what will keep you from enjoying the holidays. I wanna get this established right off the bat.
The first thing is delegating the way you eat to things outside of you during the holidays. Alright? So delegating the way you eat to things outside of you, you transfer your responsibility. So you can do this by delegating the way you eat to foods you’re most looking forward to. So you have this thought that you’re gonna lose control with them and you won’t be able to help yourself. You delegate the way you eat to your environment. So because maybe you’ll feel comfortable and cozy and homey, you’ll delegate, quote unquote losing control to that.
You’ll delegate the way you eat to the people you’re with. So maybe you have a thought that you can’t say no or you can’t stop eating because you’ll offend someone or people will pressure you into eating a certain way. So that is the first thing I wanna establish here. This will keep you from enjoying the holidays and your eating experiences if you delegate your eating decisions to any of these things outside of you.
We want to establish that empowerment and responsibility first. That you are the only one who determines what choices you make with food This holiday season. You decide what food
If we in any way, shape, or form believe that external factors over the holidays are what affect your eating decisions, you’re going to feel powerless in these scenarios and it is a hundred percent going to infect your enjoyment during this time. In order for you to enjoy the holidays fully this year, you’re going to have to feel stable when it comes to your eating decisions regardless of what those decisions are.
That is the goal of today’s episode is to just establish that empowered standard. Now let’s get right into it. Let’s talk about how to eat healthy during the holidays without sacrificing the enjoyment you want to have with food. Now, I want you to think about taking each of these tips I offer you and implementing them in this order. So I recommend getting out a notebook or writing down exactly how you’re gonna implement these before these holiday meals or these holiday events that you’re going to go to.
And the first thing I want you to do, and you can even take a moment here with me to think about this, is I want you to visualize what holiday foods you’re most looking forward to. So not what you think you’re supposed to eat or not supposed to eat. We’re gonna put that on the shelf. Just visualize the yummy foods that you’re most looking forward to.
So for me it is absolutely potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole. I love a holiday ham, anything pumpkin is my favorite. And we also tend to do chocolate fondue during the holidays. It is the absolute biggest thing I look forward to. And I’ll also mention that I actually really look forward to canned cranberry sauce. I know this is highly controversial
But all of that aside, I want you to truly visualize the holiday foods that you look forward to maybe all year long. And just be in that playground for a minute. Really allow yourself to look forward to those things. And I want you to truly determine what these foods are and write them down. Alright, so you have that established, these are the foods that are going to be on your radar.
And then number two, I want you to establish who you want to show up as during these holiday meals with these foods. So I want you to start visualizing the future version of you. Let’s say a year from now. Who has this area of your life solved for? So she’s eating healthy naturally. She is maintaining her weight loss or her goal weight, and she’s not really seeing this area of her life as a problem. She knows how to create the results she wants and she knows exactly how to enjoy the holiday foods without believing she doesn’t have control over them.
She feels really, really stable in this area of her life. So I just want you to imagine her and I want you to write down and really think about how does she think about the holidays, these foods that you’re looking forward to. What is her thought process like?
How does she feel during this time? What does she do? How does she treat the foods? Just start to picture this future version of yourself and how she interacts with the holidays differently than maybe you have in the past. Self identities represent our thinking and we get to choose how we think. It’s just like putting on a specific piece of clothing. So what I want you to think about once you establish what this identity looks like is to consider that you can put on these thoughts or this identity or this piece of clothing, so to speak, when you show up to these holiday meals, you get to practice being this future version of yourself ahead of time.
And when I think about what this would’ve looked like for me in the past, it would’ve looked like a version of myself, which I do identify with now, who actually places most of my focus on how much I’m going to enjoy these foods because I’m having the belief that I am a hundred percent in control of the way I eat and I know exactly how to enjoy these foods without sacrificing a weight goal, right?
So I want you to think about that. I want you to borrow my beliefs here and consider how would you show up differently if you really believed that, that you could place the focus on how much you’re looking forward to these foods. But what would that look like if you were able to hold that along with the belief that you’re a hundred percent in control with them? And eating them doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice your weight goal. Really, really good food for thought, no pun intended. Alright, so number three, I want you to come up with an estimated endpoint with the meals you’re most looking forward to.
So again, a valuable question here, right? Is how can I fully enjoy these foods without sacrificing my weight goal? I want you to just journal on this a bit and write that down. How can I fully enjoy these foods without sacrificing my weight goal?
When you ask your brain the right questions, it’ll come up with the most valuable answers. And what’s interesting is if you really allow yourself to answer this question, your brain will come up with solutions. You can start to think about how much of these foods you would decide to eat. Now, don’t get into the weeds of the diet mentality as a naturally healthy eater. How would you approach these foods? Likely what would happen right is you’re not focused on limiting yourself with the foods you’re most looking forward to.
Instead, you’re just determining the quantity of the foods you’re going to eat. So you don’t sacrifice that weight goal. It’s not coming from a place of deprivation, it’s coming from a place of responsibility and empowerment. Consider how can you fully enjoy these foods without sacrificing your weight goal? And what would that amount of those foods look like?
Again, this is you hypothesizing ahead of time what you think the amount of these foods you’re most looking forward to would be for you to do that. So number four, you want to set an intention that you will check in with your body during these meals. So I want you to think about your body as having a seat at the dinner table when you are engaging in these holiday meals. Because you are the parent to your body.
You are the one who takes care of it. You are your body’s caretaker. So that means you want to prioritize your body as having a seat at that table just as much as you would prioritize communicating with someone else at the table. I get the question a lot. How do I pay attention to what my body’s telling me when I’m engaging socially at functions or at events or at dinners?
This is the answer to that question. You have to treat your body as if it is just as important as any other person at that table. I want you to imagine that your body has a seat at that table. And this means I want you to set an intention that you’re just gonna watch how your body feels, your fullness levels, and just notice if you’re beginning to feel full or overly stuffed and have this be from a caring, nurturing place, not a fearful helicopter place where you’re worried that you’re going to eat past fullness.
That’s not what we’re focused on here. This is so much more about the intention of you prioritizing your body’s needs than you doing this perfectly. Here’s something I want you to consider. When you finish these holiday meals, what really leaves you feeling like crap isn’t so much that you overate and feel overly full.
It’s the fact that you felt like you didn’t have control over that happening. It makes you feel so unstable. This is what we want to avoid during your holiday meals. We want you to feel more stable with this experience, and that means you’re going to prioritize your body’s needs. It’s so much less. So whether you honor your fullness perfectly here, although honoring fullness can be a goal, but it’s so much more about putting yourself in the driver’s seat of how you feed your body.
‘Cause that’s what’s really gonna feel unstable is if you felt like you were unconscious to all of that. And that’s what we don’t want. So number five, and to me this is the most important thing here is you’re going to indulge in the pleasure of these foods deeply
So all of those foods that you were looking forward to that are on your brain that you’ve been looking forward to all year, in my case, it’s the chocolate fondue and
I want you to really let this sink in and start defining this differently because during the holidays, it’s a really excellent time to practice indulging in the comfort and pleasure of the foods you love without being mindless with it, without overindulging in it where you’re not actually enjoying the foods and being present with that meal. You want to focus on going deep with the pleasure in an indulgent way without going wider with the pleasure and overeating all of the foods you love.
And I want you to just think about this. What would that look like? Because what I can tell you is this is how naturally healthy eaters enjoy food. And what’s really interesting, what I want you to really consider here is that naturally healthy eaters enjoy foods the most. They enjoy foods at the most optimal level. They experience more pleasure with food because how they experience pleasure with food is all about the taste and the textures and the actual foods.
It’s not about just filling up with more of them. And so think about what that would look like with all of these foods you’re looking forward to. So for me,
So and truly that is what would happen. I would go in ahead of time and determine exactly how I wanna eat those foods. I don’t put a lot of thought into it. I just know this is what’s best for me and my body. And once I’ve decided that I have hypothesized the endpoint of these foods I love, then the only focus in my brain is enjoying the taste of those foods. It truly is like those chocolate commercials where you see the woman just really, really savoring that one bite.
This is the headspace I want you to be in with foods you love because you have created such a sense of trust and stability within yourself. And another example of this is savoring one piece of chocolate for the taste fully rather than eating the whole bar quickly. These are completely two separate behaviors with food, and if you have a tendency to overeat or emotionally eat, and you’re starting from that place, this might be completely new territory to you, which can be interesting and exciting to consider.
What if enjoying food more than you ever have before is available to you now? It just looks different than you thought it was going to. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna lose control and overindulge and not appreciate the foods. It looks like appreciating them more for the taste and the textures and allowing yourself to be deeply satisfied with that. When you focus on eating more of the pleasurable foods, it’s about you comforting stress that you’re having. It’s actually not about the foods at all.
You wanna feel comforted, and there’s nothing wrong with this, but this can help you really see why these behaviors are different. So when you’re eating the whole chocolate bar, it’s not actually about the chocolate versus when you’re eating one or two pieces and really, really savoring it. Now you’ve made it about the enjoyment of those foods. And also tactically, when you experience pleasure with food in this honed in way, it gives your body signals more time to tell you when it’s had enough.
So tactically, this is also a really excellent approach for not overeating. The goal with all of this is to eat healthy without sacrificing the enjoyment you wanna have with these holiday foods. Because here’s what I want you to think about this holiday season, you can eat the foods you’re most looking forward to enjoy them more fully and not overeat them. You can lose weight during the holidays, and if you don’t believe that, yeah, it’s just because you’re delegating those results to the types of foods you’re eating.
You likely have a belief that the foods you’re most looking forward to can’t exist in your weight loss journey. But what I want you to see is it’s not the foods that will prevent weight loss, it’s the fact that you overeat them and you do not go through these steps that I offered you here. What I want you to think about this holiday season is just approaching it differently from the perspective of your future self who eats healthy naturally. I want you to lean into that identity this holiday season where you enjoy these holiday foods more.
Than you ever have before, but with a higher sense of intention, responsibility, and stability. Really consider what that would look like for you and it will ground you this holiday season. All right, my friends, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your holidays. Thank you for being here with me today as always, and I will talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.