Should I eat when I am hungry?

In normal times, yes, maybe...

But during the holiday season, definitely not! Don't trust your stomach! Your appetite is not reliable when everything around you is telling your to eat and drink more than usual.

We all know that the feelings of “hunger” we experience, are not always due to our body needing food. Sometimes, we feel hungry because we are bored, stressed, emotional, happy, frustrated, or lost… You name it! Sometimes we could devour the entire planet just because it is that time of the month (hey ladies, I am talking to you here!). Not to mention all the occasions when we feel hungry just because there is something to be “hungry for”. You know, you had lunch an hour ago, you are walking down the mall, and all of a sudden, the smell of a delicious cinnamon roll attacks you; your stomach starts growling... but is that really hunger?

That’s the tricky part. It is very hard to differentiate between being really hungry and just “wanting to eat”. That's why my advice to you for the holidays is: don’t even try to tell those two apart. You will end up exhausted because, during the holidays, we get so many more opportunities to wonder “Am I really hungry?”.

Rely on your tested eating habits

The idea here, is to keep up the wellness efforts that we have been making already. We are not trying to set up new goals, bump up our ambitions, or even start working on implementing a new lifestyle. We are talking about maintaining our current efforts and not falling off the wagon during the holidays.

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If you want to stay healthy and happy during the holiday season and avoid some stress and extra pounds, don’t let your stomach rule the game. Instead, rely on the eating routines that you depend on during the rest of the year.

  1. When you think about the busy days to come, look at where your meals usually fit into your schedule and make sure you organize your day with those meal times in mind.
  2. Plan to bring healthy snacks with you, or even full meals such as a thermos of soup, a nutritious homemade sandwich, whatever makes you happy and satisfied.
  3. Don’t try to skip meals thinking that it’s going to save you some calories for later. This strategy always ends up backfiring. Just stick to what you have been doing so far when it comes to your meals.

If you are used to having 2 or 3 meals a day, keep doing just that. If you are used to having 2 snacks per day, keep your 2 snacks. Maybe they will be more festive and rich: a cupcake instead of an apple, or a Christmas feast instead of a Caesar salad. Yet, by sticking to your routines, you will greatly limit the amount of unwanted food you eat.

Plus, you will reduce all the debating, the “should I?/shouldn’t I?” that not only is draining emotionally, but also keeps you from fully enjoying the food you are eating.

Are you an intuitive eater?

Oh, wait, someone tells me “I trust my stomach all year long, that’s my routine, that’s what keeps me healthy”. Maybe you are super good at it. Then you probably don’t even have an issue with indulging and cravings over the holidays. Lucky you!

But maybe you have been working hard on intuitive eating and are worried that you won’t keep it up over the holidays. If that’s the case, take a few days before the holidays to record your food intake and look at the pattern that comes from this. It will give you a good idea of when you are really hungry. Once the holiday season kicks in and temptations are coming at you like bullets, you will have something to refer to when differentiating between real hunger and temptation.

Prepare now for healthy holidays!

Sit back for a minute, and try to get a good picture of what your eating routine is right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your purse. Keep this routine in mind. And if you think you are hungry 15 times a day visiting booths at the Christmas Market, remember: most of us cannot trust our appetite, especially at a time of high stress and temptations like the holiday season.

If you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share with them! Because together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need some support and guidance figuring out what to do and how to do it to reach your wellness goals, please reach out! 

You can use my CONTACT FORM or you can request a FREE Discovery Session if you want to know more about my approach and how it might help you reach your goals. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. No strings attached and no charge to you. Let's talk soon!


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None of my services or recommendations are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information I provide should not take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices. I cannot guarantee the outcome of my services or suggestions. My comments are expressions of my personal opinion only. 

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