Special occasion overeating.
You know what I’m talking about. “But it’s Christmas!” “But it’s Friday!” “But it’s…..!”
Special occasion overeating could also be called self-permission to eat all the wrong foods.
You know, the ones that are not compatible with your health and body-shaping goals in -free-wheeling amounts.
Honestly, when was the last time you had a broccoli binge?
Let’s get one thing straight
If special occasion overeating is your downfall, you already know that it can completely sabotage your health, weight, and body shaping progress.
It can make arrival at your body ideal impossible.
Women often come to me with questions about this problem.
Usually it is in frustration with how they ‘caved in’ to yet another opportunity to overeat due to a special occasion.
- family was visiting.
- getaway weekend at a beach house with friends.
- child’s birthday.
- parent’s anniversary.
- your laundry is done.
They want to know how I overcome these opportunities to indulge in temptations so that I can have the ongoing success with health and freedom from a weight and body ‘problem’.
Knowing that this was at one time a huge challenge for me, too, is comforting.
Today I’m going to share 2 simple strategies to help you take special occasion overeating off your regular dance card and put it where it belongs.
Which actually should be the very rare special occasion, not the one you can conjure up several times a month – or week.
Don’t laugh. You know what I mean.
Special occasion overeating has been on my mind for a reason.
Before we get to those strategies, let me tell you what inspired the topic.
Just before we left for Italy last week, one of my sisters, knowing I’m ‘off dairy’, asked me incredulously, “So, you’re not going to even have any gelato while you’re in Italy?”
I immediately recognized where her thoughts were coming from. When in Rome, it’s a ‘given’ that you’ll abandon all health objectives and other convictions for the expected gustatory adventure. Right?
Is it possible to travel to Italy without indulging?
Yes, it’s entirely possible. And as a matter of fact you can thrive even in the midst of sticking to your food convictions while in the heart of cheese, cream, and chocolate croissant country. Let alone your own home.
So, how does one do it? Overcome the urge for special occasion overeating?
Here are 2 strategies to help you avoid special occasion overeating.
I’ve shared some examples from personal experience this week while traveling in Italy.
1) Focus on the positives. Indulge in and keep your attention on all that you DO get to eat.
- Pass the pasta, please! If Italy is synonymous with gelati, it is even more so with pasta. No problem. With a jar of basil tomato sauce – easily found in the market – we’ve indulged in several magnificent pasta meals. Tonight I tossed in some other picks from today’s market: eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash, and succulent cannelloni beans. Yums.
- Make friends with fruit: In the garden below the Tuscan farm house where we are staying, the cherries on the tree are bursting. True to my ‘ tom girl’ nature, after our hike through the olive groves to and back from the river, I scrambled up the branches and ate right from the treetop. See photo. The point? With a fiber-full, plant-strong eating plan, this is one of the joys of eating freedom. I DO get to eat plenty of delicious, heart-and-soul satisfying fresh fruit. So can you.
2) Create delicious, hearty festivity around all the color, flavors, and carbohydrate indulgences of the plant-strong diet that not only keep you well fed , they also help you keep your skinny on.
- Bread bonus round: Totally addicted to big fat tomato sandwiches, we’ve been easily able to keep up our habit with thick slices of fresh bread piled with tomatoes just coming into season. Sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and a shave of fresh pepper and served with a big bowl of fresh lentil-carrot-onion-potato soup. Nothing satisfies hunger for hours like pulses, potatoes and whole grains.
- If it’s summer, this must be veggies: Our first stop was in the market was produce. Show me the plants! Into our basket went eggplant, sweet onions, salad greens, arugula, tomatoes, carrots and zucchini squash with blossoms intact. Heaped on our farmhouse table and jockeying in line to be selected for meal prep, I can’t help but wonder how it is possible that people could ever have a hard time eating their vegetables. Stick with me,baby.
See what’s happening here? It’s part of that all-important mindset for mastery that I insist play such a key role in my programs such as the Woman’s Fitness Blueprint Action Plan for Success, and Body Transformation Booty Camps.
Do the same for yourself. To recap:
Stay focused on the amazing array of foods that you can freely eat and enjoy with a whole foods, plant-based, low fat diet while becoming and staying trim.
Celebrate the fun an beauty of the foods in your dietary plant.
Then indulge and stay well fed.
And kiss all the pounds that come with that special occasion, low quality foods overeating goodbye.
Hello healthy, happy, gorgeous you.
Have you a strategy for overcoming the urge for special occasion overeating? Please tell me about it in ‘Leave a Reply’ below!
P.S. One of my most powerful tools to transform the mental spiral that can slip you into ‘special occasion’ eating consciousness is to sneak in quick energizers, such as one of Fit Quickies or a lightening round of Burst Training. For a FREE download of one of my favorite Fit Quickies – 7 Seconds to a Flat Belly – and my User’s Guide for Burst Training, go here now.
You mean I’m not the only person this happens to?
It is so easy for me to make excuses and exceptions. And you’re right Lani, those special occasions can come far too often and it really messes me up.
I’m going to change focus and I’m sure it will make a difference. I feel better just reading your article.
Thanks as always!
Lisa, no you are NOT alone and I know what comfort it is to find out that we aren’t!
I admire you for stepping up to the plate on this one. Calling ’em as we see ’em is a huge step forward to success!
Hi Lani, this is a really powerful article for me because it made me realize how often I have been making excuses to mess up my progress with bits of this and that that are, just like you say, getting in the way of my progress. The way you put it so directly is such a breath of fresh air for me. It’s a big load off to face the truth. You’ve given me the courage to make a fresh start.
Jennifer, ah, excuses! We all make them and some of them just get more in our way than others.
And it’s so easy to innocently yet fatally shoot ourselves in the dietary foot.
I’m rooting for you with a fresh start today. You go!
Thanks so much for sharing your reflections, it always means a lot to me when you share about how a blog or article helped!
Great article Lani! My downfall is dairy because it’s easy to take cheese and cottage cheese to work for a quick snack. Other than nuts, any suggestions for a salty (I crave salt, not friut or sweets) protein snack at work?
Jill, I know – that cheese’ll get you every time! It seems like such a good idea largely because, I’m afraid it’s true, it has been so heavily marketed to us as a nutritious snack and heck it can be so yummy we’re all for it. Then we start to understand that a 1 oz piece of cheese – which is just a frustratingly sad little cube (who ever only has one?) has 115 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein. This means that over 80 of those 115 calories is from fat alone, which means that innocent piece of cheese with the face of a smiling cow on it is about 70% pure fat.
Now, if I am eating roughly 2,000 calories a day, and I aspire to a 15% fat diet, that means in that one little chunk ‘o cheese I’ve already consumed 26% of my entire fat allotment for the day – and 6 grams are saturated and I’ve also gotten 29 grams of cholesterol. With no fiber I might add. OK, I can go on and on about the cheese but you didn’t ask about that. Sorry, it’s easy for me to get carried away when I see an opportunity to teach to the moment. For more about dairy (though it does sound like you are in the know Jill!) I’ve a whole passel of dairy blogs here: Diary – free.
As for the snack question, your answer may lie partially in the salt question. The craving for salt is, like many other tastes, a habituated taste and you will help yourself along by morphing this into an opportunity to reduce sodium in your diet. You can work in foods that will deliver a spicey flavor hit. One of my favorites for just such a thing is salsa, which can be high in sodium as well yet you can find lower sodium varieties. With squeeze of lime or lemon, over black beans and rice is a perfect snack that would give you a little of what you are looking for. Balsamic vinegar splash is another way to create flavor intensity that is savory rather than sweet and can be coupled with a gazillion things such as steamed veggies, grains, even cold baked potatoes which, by the way, are an amazing easy snack that will create flavor and satiety satisfaction. My favorites for snacking are yukon golds (rather than the big fully white russets, which I never seem to buy because there are so many other great varieties!), red potatoes, and of course sweet potatoes or yams, perhaps best of all.
By ‘protein’ snack I’m not sure what you are looking for, unless it is to give you satiety and stable energy? All of the suggestions I’ve made will do this as they are all sufficient in protein, fats and carbohydrates plus packed with fiber which gives you enormouse stabilizing power. There are lots of other ideas – this is for starters!
Thanks for your post Jill and the opportunity for some great conversation!
Very good suggestions. My problem, however, lies within the fact that I’m a type 1 diabetic with a love for large portions of carb. So when festivities come my way, I’m almost sure to eat too much bread, rolls, potato, etc. (Plus a great deal of veggies, of course ;).)
Hi Kristen, thanks for stopping in. There is an article on the PCRM site that you may find helpful that I thought I would like here for you:
Perhaps you’ve already seen it! FYI just the same.