Friday, November 26, 2010

The Morning After

Moving on after overeating.

I slept past my spin class this morning. Then onto the NY Times for a bit of reading, when I started to have distracting thoughts about how you are surviving after a food focused holiday. So here I am.
We spend a lot of time preparing for holiday meals—the cooking, the planning, the anticipating. But we give minimal attention to getting past the eating-driven event. So how’d you do? Did you get to enjoy your food? Did you even taste it? Were you preoccupied with what you were eating and what the consequence would be? Are you feeling you really overdid it?

The problem with Thanksgiving is there is too much delicious food to eat, and it’s hard to enjoy it all at one sitting. And because we view many of the foods as special treats, dishes that are cooked or baked just once a year, we tend to view it as “now or never”.

So here are a few thoughts for managing post Thanksgiving and other eating fests:

• Don’t get rid of the leftovers. Oh no, is it too late? The point is, you don’t want to be set up to see these food items as things you must eat all in one day, on the only day of the year they are served. And the only day they are allowed. Are they already gone? Then plan to make them again at a later date.

• I did say keep them. But take them out of view. If the pumpkin or apple pie sits on the counter it will call to you to eat it. I mean it. This is a truly normal experience, and no sign of weakness, I might add. Slice up the leftovers, wrap them well and slip them in a Ziploc in the freezer. And push them to the back. You don’t have to have them hidden or throw them out. At least this allows to you not eat them on impulse (really, they are not as good straight from the freezer). Then allow yourself to include them when you’re hungry. Yes, even apple pie can satisfy many a food group, perhaps with a glass of milk for breakfast. I hope it’s not too late!

• I don’t encourage calorie counting, but the number 3,500 is good to keep in mind. That’s how many extra calories, surplus, over-and-above-your-baseline-need for calories that you must eat to gain a single pound. Why tell you this? Because if you’re ruminating about how you overate yesterday it’s a helpful reality check. Maybe you really ate more than you needed by last night. I know I did. But in the scheme of things, it’s not going to make a dent in your weight.

That is unless you decide that you blew it. And you know how that cycle goes. You’ll then continue in one of two directions. Either 1) You’ll feel like you failed and then decide to “keep going”, to continue to overeat, without regard to the signals your body gives you, without attention to hunger and fullness or 2) You’ll feel like you failed and decide to “make up for it”, eating less than you need, in spite of what your body is telling you, denying your hunger.

Best solution? Take a breath and move on. It’s only a single meal or day. And try to do something to help you feel good today. A walk, perhaps? Bubble bath? Shopping?
As for me, I’m gonna take some pictures to post with this blog, finish reading the newspaper, then take my baby for a walk. My dog, that is. Then it’s time for some bread baking for dinner tonight!

I'd love to hear from you! Did you survive this holiday eating better than past years? Did you learn something you might use to prevent a slip next time? Enjoy the rest of the weekend.


  1. Hi!

    Thanksgiving was good this year because my aunt and I made sure to make some healthy options (vegetables not doused in cream sauce). I ate so many things that were outside of what ED normally lets me eat. I had roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, multigrain roll, and even some vegan pumpkin pie! I think that if I hadn't been so busy with family during the whole thing, then ED would've been freaking out.

    The problem cam when I got home, and ED's voice got loud. I managed to not purge last night, but, this morning, after eating a bar, it was too much for me to handle and I purged. I hate to admit that I feel a lot better, except that I let ED win.

    The financial aid rep from an ED treatment program at a nearby hospital is supposed to call me sometime soon to discuss my options since I don't have health insurance. I hope things go well.

    Have a great weekend!


  2. Don't forget that the positives of the ED behaviors are short-lived.
    Good luck getting approval for the program.
    Hope you find some support from this blog as you continue to seek treatment.

  3. It's hard not to feel guilt after a full day of overeating. It's also hard to "regroup" when you know the next four weeks are filled with holiday activities and parties with food being the main focus. The major challenge here, at least for me, is that all or nothing/black and white thinking. Really it should be about taking one day at a time, work hard to actually give ourselves permission to enjoy the food we consume,and remembering to enjoy the company of friends and family without obsessing over calorie-overload, right? Maybe, for example, using a slice of pie to replace a morning or afternoon snack? Or, as Lori stated, move the goodies to an unseen place - out of sight, out of mind - Or Emily's great idea to make healthier options available. The next number of wks facing many food-oriented functions can prove to be nothing but overwhelming. Any more helpful suggestions? I'm all ears...

  4. You're right--the black/white thinking drives this in a major way. CBT is a valuable approach to change this. Check out some past posts including the one on titration (size--not what you think). I will also be addressing realistic goal setting and mindful eating in upcoming posts.
    Thanks for reading--and for putting your valuable thoughts out for us to read!