Dear Dr. Kweethai,
With the holidays coming up I know I will be eating more than I should. What do you suggest?
I suggest you enjoy it, and after the holidays go back to your normal eating habits. Unless, of course, like too many Americans, the only difference between the upcoming holidays and any other time of year is…well, calorie-wise, there is not much difference. We used to eat like it was Thanksgiving and Christmas only at Thanksgiving and Christmas; but cheap and plentiful food—often with a high concentration of empty calories—makes it easy to justify eating like that throughout the year.
The problem is you beat yourself up for normal holiday behavior when the real question is, “How can I eat sanely throughout the year so that the holiday splurge retains its special quality as an infrequent celebration?” In other words, the holidays are not the problem.
You have probably also figured out New Year’s resolutions do not work. Overeating fills an emotional need, and you cannot solve an emotional issue with a logical solution. Instead of trying to talk yourself into new behaviors, you need to find someone who can talk your subconscious into reframing the emotional needs. I suggest me.