Done with Dieting Episode #98: Eating During the Holidays

eating during the holidays

When we think about the holidays, some folks think about the traditions, others think about the decorations, but most people think about the food!

Seasonal treats are one of the things that we look forward to at this time of the year – not only because we have our favorite delicious foods, but also because of the memories that come along with it. Foods from our childhood are comfort foods, and make us feel good!

The problem for some of us is that we don’t feel so good come January. So, how do we navigate the holidays, stick to our commitments to ourselves, but also enjoy all the flavors that the season has to offer?

Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.

In episode 98 of the podcast, I’m sharing a few simple mindset shifts that will help you not go overboard during the holidays so that when you wake up on January 2nd, you won’t feel like you need a do-over, and a cleanse.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • How to enjoy the holidays without feeling like you need a reset come January.
  • How to approach the holidays without the scarcity mindset that comes along with the season.
  • The simple mindset shifts that you can make so that you can enjoy your holiday treats and not feel like you’ve overdone it.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

I think there are two different mindsets when we enter the holidays, and it comes to food. The first is I’m going to eat it all. And the other one is I’m going to stick to my plan. I’ve been in both of these mindsets in the past, and quite honestly, neither of them works out well.

With the first, we wake up January 2nd feeling terrible, physically. Like we really overdid it and that we need a reset, a detox, or to go on a diet to get back to where we want to be, or we should be.

With the other mindset, we’re white knuckling it the entire holiday season, unable to let up for fear that will gain weight. Yet, wanting so desperately to partake in the holiday goodies, but not letting ourselves. And then, if we do, our mean inner critic comes out in force and tells us that, well, you may as well eat it all. Because we already open the door and then we berate ourselves for eating those three cookies.

But we couldn’t even enjoy because the inner dialogue that we had going on in our heads that we were somehow screwing up the universe because eating cookies equals that. Right?

What if there was another way? What if you could enjoy your seasonal treats and feel good come January 2nd? Are you interested in that? Keep listening to learn how.

You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes.

You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.

I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster, change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies.

Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.

Welcome. Let’s get started.

Hi everyone, welcome to the Done with Dieting Podcast, this is episode number 98. And so, if you’re listening to this in real time, we are coming off the weekend of Thanksgiving. Which typically, if you’re listening to the Done with Dieting podcast, it probably means that one of the things that you’ve done well, what we tend to think of Thanksgiving is a time when we are thankful for all of the food that is available to us. And so therefore, we eat it all. Right?

When you think about it logically doesn’t make sense, but that’s what the holiday kind of represents is over consumption. And we do this because we want to show gratitude that we have so much in our lives. And I think that that’s actually a really amazing place to start when we talk about this podcast because what I’m talking about today is how to eat during the holidays.

I think that it can be really helpful when we think about the abundance of food that is available to us. And when we are really, truly grateful for all of the food that we have in our lives.

And so, first, if you are someone who has just come off of Thanksgiving weekend and you’re like, Oh my God, I ate too much, I have tons of regret. The inner critic is there in full force telling you that you overdid it. I am going to invite you to schedule a consult call with me. The holidays are actually a really amazing time to start coaching because what we can start to see and observe, it’s not about restriction, okay?

But what we can start to see and observe is our attitudes, our thought processes when we’re talking about food, when we’re looking at how we manage stress. The holidays tend to be really stressful times. And so, when we don’t have enough time because we’re going to parties, or we’re going shopping, or we’re doing all of these things during the holidays that take up extra time.

When we notice how we prioritize all of those other things, and then what happens is we haven’t figured out how to manage our own eating. And so, what happens is we grab something that’s really not that great for us, we don’t feel well, we don’t sleep well as a result. We’re up in the middle of the night maybe because our body doesn’t feel great, or we’re thinking about maybe the money that we spent, or we’re just irritated with those people who are in our lives, who are asking things of us that we say yes to, and how we manage our stress.

So, what happens then is in the middle of the night, we don’t sleep well. And when we don’t sleep well, we don’t wake up rested, we maybe oversleep a little bit, so we don’t exercise. And then this cascading events of not sleeping, oversleeping, or not having enough personal time. Not exercising, so not managing our stress, making poor choices, because when we don’t sleep well, then we don’t make good choices when it comes to food. And it all just keeps cascading.

If you want to get a handle on that, of course, I’m going to invite you to schedule a consult call, so that the holidays this year could potentially be different. Then, next year you’ll go through it already having smooth sailing. So, that’s the first thing.

But also, if you think that during the holidays you are going to be having a little bit too much sugar, or maybe you’re not listening to this in real time and you’re catching me in the middle of December. And you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’ve eaten so much sugar and I feel out of control. I am going to invite you to get on the wait list for the Sugar Cravings Reset.

The Sugar Cravings Reset is a five day challenge where you are going to learn so much amazing information. We’re starting January 9th and we’re continuing on through January 13th. If you want to find out more about that, get on the wait list and you can get on the wait list by going to

And what we’re going to do in those five days is you are going to learn all about how to create your environment so that sugar doesn’t feel so there in present, and you don’t see it, and then want to eat it. And then, also we’re going to talk about how to change your habits, how to change your beliefs, and then also a few skills that you can use to reduce your habits.

We did this challenge before in October, and it was a huge success. The women that did it just had such amazing transformations just in those five days. And some lost weight, some had huge aha moments, and were able to then reduce their cravings almost in half just in five days. It was incredible.

If you want to join the Sugar Cravings Reset come January, I will send out more information about that. But right now, you just want to get yourself on the wait list by going to

Now, let’s get on with how to eat during the holidays. We think about the holidays and when we think about the holidays, lots of visions come up for many of us. And we think about the traditions, we think about the decorations. Some folks have religious rituals and family traditions that you really don’t want to give up because they create a sense of peace and joy in your life.

And when we think about the holidays, it’s just a few weeks during the year. And so of course, we want to go all in. We think about the snow, we think about getting dressed up. Some folks go to church, and all of the different things that come to mind when we think about the holidays. And for many of us, we think about food.

But what I want to do is I want you to actually fast forward to January 2nd. January 2nd this year falls on Monday, and so, I want you to think about January 2nd and no one plans on waking up on January 2nd feeling bloated, or addicted to carbs, addicted to sugar and alcohol, and needing to reset, but far too often, that’s what happens with us because things get a little bit out of control during those days, those weeks in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

In this episode today, I’m going to give you a number of mindset shifts that will help you to be a little bit more managed. And also, I’m going to give you some techniques.

Now, when I think back to how my thoughts about the holidays have changed over the years, and they have. Because when I was younger, when I was in my dieting days, I went through two different phases. The first phase was probably like, Oh my God, there’s going to be so many cookies, and there are going to be so many treats, and we’re going to drink, and we’re going to have fun, and we’re going to go to parties, and it’s going to be great.

And I allowed myself to totally imbibe in all of those things. And then, as I moved through my journey and I became this dieter, the professional dieter that I was, what tended to happen is then the holidays actually created a bunch of fear for me. And it created fear because of all of the sugar, and the treats, and the very heavy calorie foods. And I was really worried about gaining weight.

And there was a phase in there where I tried to healthy up those treats. I tried making cookies with apple juice instead of butter or I tried making brownies with black beans. I put cauliflower in all of the sides so that it created like in the mashed potatoes so that it would make them lighter and less calorie dense. Or I made them instead of potatoes, which just p!ssed everyone else.

So, all of these different phases that I went through and today, quite honestly, I don’t even think about the food anymore. And here’s why I don’t think about food. I know that you’re not going to be able to hear this, but maybe some of you will. And that is that the reason that I don’t think about the food anymore is because it’s not the food that actually brings me joy. It’s everything else. I love the Christmas carols; I love the decorations. And I know you’re probably thinking, yeah, I love that too, but I also love the food.

And yes, the food enhances the experience, but it’s not the main point. It’s not the star of the season. The food is something that is kind of an afterthought. And when you can create a life, when you can create a holiday experience that is so incredibly wonderful that the food isn’t the main show. Then, what happens is it becomes way less important. And you don’t have to eat all of it.

So, when you think about it, the holidays really are just five days. It’s Thanksgiving Day, it’s Christmas Eve, it’s Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. That’s it.

But most people, the average American gains somewhere around 10 pounds in the holiday season. And the reason why is because of all of the other days in between, right? All of the parties and all of the treats that are just hanging around in your house that are just calling to you. And not only are they calling to you, but you’re thinking to yourself, well, I have to eat it because this is only a short time frame.

We have this scarcity mindset. So, going back to what I opened up the episode with which is the idea that food is abundant, and we can be thankful for it. When we get into the holidays, we immediately move into this scarcity mindset where we think, Well, I have to eat all of the pumpkin pie because it’s only around for this short period of time. Or I need to eat all of the cookies because they’re only here for this short period of time.

And so, what happens is we have this scarcity mindset, and when we have scarcity mindset around food, what happens is we want to eat it all. I’m never going to get it again. That’s what we think. And we’re not going to get it again for another year. Oh my god, it’s going to be forever.

Is that really true? You could theoretically make any of your Christmas cookies in the summer, right? Or in the fall. Oh, but it’s just not the same, Elizabeth. Okay, maybe. But it’s possible, right? You can make them any time of the year.

Now, some of the problem that we also get into with this time of year is people pleasing. And how that is true? When we are people pleasers, which I am a recovered people pleaser, I’m still working my way through it. But I saw myself people pleasing because we would go to parties, and when we go to parties, the host always wants their party to be the party of the season. And so, we want that person to not feel bad, right? We want that person to have good self-esteem about their ability to hold a party.

And so, we feel like we need to go all in. We need to eat all of the food. We need to drink all of the drinks in order for them to feel good. And there’s flaws in that thinking, right? Like, how is that person going to feel if I don’t look like I’m having a good time. If I’m not drinking all of the wine. If I’m not eating all of the food. How is that person going to feel if there’s food left over?

If I’m not laughing, or dancing, or whatever they decide is having a good time. How are they going to feel? What we want to do is we want to people please, we want them to feel good, right? We want to validate them. And in doing so, what happens is we give part of ourselves away. We go into that party thinking, okay, I’m not going to get drunk, or I’m not going to have more than two glasses of wine. And then, we over drink and then we feel bad the next day.

So, what we’re doing is we’re manipulating ourselves into being this good girl, this good guest, and it’s not serving us.

I have several points that I want to make when it comes to the season. So, point number one is I want you to notice how abundant food is. I’ve talked about this on past podcasts, but I really want you to start to notice how food is really abundant. Because when we can look around us and notice that food is literally everywhere. What will happen is it can stop having power over us.

I used to think that I really loved food and I loved holiday food. But what I really loved was eating large amounts of food. Because when we truly love food, we make it special. And so, here’s what I want to suggest is that for the food that will not spoil, the food that will stay in your pantry or that you can freeze. If someone buys you something or someone makes you something and it’s amazing.

So, let’s say, that someone who you know who is German and she buys you German chocolate from her hometown. And it’s amazing, right? So, picture this. Instead of eating all of it, because that’s what we want to do. We actually, savor it. And when we savor it, what happens is we make it last. We take some in, we enjoy it, we’re present with it, and then we put it away. It’s kind of like when you drink wine, right? You never want to have that really good bottle at the end of the night. And you want to have the first bottle where you can taste it, where you can enjoy it, where you can savor it.

When you’re drinking just like at a party, you don’t want to bring out the best bottle of wine because it’s not going to be appreciated. And so, the same is true with all of this food that we’re gonna have around us for the holiday. You really want to make sure that you are honoring the food and when we truly honor the food, what will happen is you will savor it and you’ll make it last.

Point number two is we want to be present. We don’t want to do any mindless eating. Because when we do mindless eating, what happens is we don’t get the experience that we desire. If you’ve ever done this and I know that I have, and so I’m sure most of you have as well. If you’ve ever been watching television and you’ve been eating out of a bag of chips or whatever. And you get down to the bottom and you’re like, whoa, what just happened there? I wasn’t even present. And you feel full. But you don’t feel satisfied because you weren’t really tasting the food. You were eating, but you weren’t tasting it, you weren’t appreciating it.

And so, when you can really honor the food, you can sit and be present with it, and you can eat it undistracted, you can savor it, and you can taste it, and it’s going to really enhance your experience of eating that food. And it’s really going to be an asset to the holiday as well. It’s not going to detract from it.

Now, point number three. And this is something that all of my clients have heard me say, and if you follow me on social, you will hear me say it as well because it’s something that I post every single holiday. And it’s something that when I learned it, I was like, oh my God, I need to share this with everybody. And the thought is that when food stops tasting good, you need to stop eating it. Put another way. Stop eating if what you’re eating doesn’t taste delicious.

Now, there are two different ways to look at this. One is when you’re eating when you’re truly hungry and you’re eating. What will happen is you’ll start to notice that food doesn’t taste as delicious. As when you first started eating it. When you start to notice that shift, that food whatever it is that you’re eating whether it’s cake or cookies, or mashed potatoes, or whatever. When that food doesn’t taste as delicious anymore, that’s when you want to stop eating it.

The other way that you can implement this idea of stop eating it if it doesn’t taste delicious. If you are at a party and you are eating something we all have holiday parties and there’s lots of different foods, there. If you have something on your plate, you’ve taken something from the buffet, you’ve put it on your plate and you start to eat it, and it isn’t delicious, it’s not going to get any better if you keep eating it.

But this goes back to the people pleasing, right? Because we don’t want to offend the host. We don’t want to offend the person who made the food. And so, we feel like we need to be in that clean plate club, we need to eat the food so that we’re not wasteful or whatever. But when you do that, what you are doing is you are treating your body like a garbage can. If you would rather have thrown that food out than eat it, but you eat it anyway, if it doesn’t taste good to you and you eat it, you are treating your body like a garbage can. Stop doing that.

I used to do it and it took me a long time to get out of it. But now that I have, I am so much happier because I am honoring my body’s hunger signals. And now, my body can trust me.

Point number four is you are the only one who suffers the consequences. And this goes back to point number three of stop eating it if it doesn’t taste good because you are the only one who suffers the consequences of over drinking, overeating, of eating the wrong foods, of eating foods that don’t make you feel good of staying up too late. You are the only one who suffers those consequences.

The host doesn’t suffer those con consequences. Your family, well, they might suffer the consequences if you’re cranky. But you are the one who really suffers those consequences. When you can be your future self’s best friend and set your future self-up for success, when you can have your own back and treat yourself like you are the most important person in this world because you are. What will happen is you will stop doing all of those behaviors.

Now, point number five is begin with the end in mind. And what I mean by that is I want you to start thinking about the future. So, going back to the future self and having your own back, and really being aware that you are suffering the consequences of your own behavior. But not only that, but you are also going to receive the benefit of your good behavior.

So, thinking about a couple things in the future. Right now, whatever date and time it is. I want you to think about January 2nd. And I want you to think about how do you want to feel waking up on January 2nd. Or if it’s the weekend, how do you want to feel on Monday? Or if you’re going to a party tonight, how do you want to feel tomorrow morning or when you’re getting into bed?

The first question is at the end of this thing that I’m talking about right now, whether it’s the holiday season, whether it’s the weekend, whether it’s a party or whatever. How do I want to feel on the other side of this? How do I want to feel on the other side? And then, after that, asking yourself, what do I need to do in order to feel that way?

What are the steps that I need to take in order to feel that way on January 2nd, on Monday, tomorrow morning? Do I need to drink water? Do I need to go for a walk? Do I need to eat a certain number of vegetables? Do I need to limit the amount of alcohol that I drink? Do I need to get into bed by a certain time? What are the things that you need to do in order to feel the way you desire to feel come January 2nd, or Monday, or tomorrow morning? And then, do those things.

Why is it important to you that you feel that way on January 2nd? And is it more important than the discomfort of the people pleasing or stopping the habit? So, these are just some questions that you want to ask yourself when you start to begin with the end in mind.

My final point is a great aha moment that I had years ago. And I’ve been telling my clients about this. And what this strategy is. Years ago, when I was a personal trainer, I was talking to a friend of a client of mine, and she let me in on this brilliant strategy which is come the holidays in order to not go overboard.

What she did was she had this guideline that was I’m not going to eat anything that isn’t A homemade or B that I can get year round. So, nothing that’s commercially produced and nothing that I can get year round. And so, what this does is none of us want to go through the holidays and not partake in your grandmother’s pumpkin pie, or those cookies that you only make once a year, or whatever it is.

Again, the holidays are just five days. And if you overdo it on those five days, it’s not that big of a deal. The problem comes in, in the days in between. When we want to enjoy the holiday treats, we don’t regret eating those holiday treats, right? Those things that are special to the season. However, what we usually have regret of is the handful of green and red M & Ms, right? Because those don’t really taste any different than the normal M & Ms that we get year round. Or the Hershey’s kisses that are brightly colored and holiday foiled. Or the Snickers bar that has a red bow on it.

Those are the things that we can get year round that really aren’t special. And so, when we can really think about the holidays and what are the things that I really want to pick out from the holiday, what it does is it completely changes your mindset. And it allows you to prioritize and be discerning when it comes to holiday treats. And those things that you can get year round, they just don’t appeal anymore.

So, those are my strategies and tips for you for eating during the holiday season. That’s all I have for you right now. Again, if you want help with accountability or with establishing an eating routine and managing your stress throughout the holidays because you know, it’s not the food that actually makes us eat the food. It’s how we manage our stress and time in the other parts of our lives that cause us to make poor choices.

If you want help with that, I’m going to invite you to schedule a consult with me. And you can do that by going to, or if you want to join the sugar cravings reset again, we’re starting on January 9th through the 13th. You can sign up for the wait list right now. And as that date gets closer, I will send you out details and you can go sign up for the wait list there by going to

That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing holiday season and I will talk to you next time. Bye-bye.

Hey, Thanks for listening.

If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you. See you next week.

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