116 – Holiday Self Care Series #1 – How to Enjoy Holiday Eating Without Going Overboard

by | Nov 15, 2023


Welcome to part 1 of our 6 part Holiday Self-Care Series.

Over the next 6 weeks we’ll focus on simple strategies you can implement easily to maintain your own self-care and well being over the holiday season so you can avoid holiday burnout and new years resolution regret.  

By taking care of your needs too and saving some of that love you pour out to everyone else, for yourself you can sail through the holidays with your sanity intact and go into the new year feeling calm, grounded and nourished – thereby eliminating the pressure to jump on the diet bandwagon.

In this episode, we discuss how to eat and enjoy your favourite holiday foods without guilt or over eating.

What you won’t find in this episode are tricks and hacks to avoid these foods as those almost always backfire.  Instead you’ll learn how to engage with the foods you love in a way that feels satisfying and pleasurable, while staying mindful and honouring your body’s signals.

Tune in to learn 3 practical tips and one essential mindset that will change everything when it comes to holiday eating.

Show Notes

About the Host

Kim Hagle (she/her)  is Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Body Image Coach and founder of Radiant Vitality Wellness. 

Through mindset and movement coaching she helps women heal their relationship with food and exercise while disconnecting their worth from their weight, so they can feel healthy, happy and confident in the body they have.  

New Here? Join our exclusive email community: Embrace Your Radiance is my weekly email series that helps women overcome feeling limited by their body. Each week you’ll receive exclusive coaching tips to help you feel healthy, happy and confident no matter what the scale says. As a subscriber, you’ll be notified when new podcast episodes drop and will also be the first to hear about all of my free and paid offers. Emails come out every Sunday at 7 pm.  

Want to feel good in your body without focusing on weight?  Register for our 5 day mini training course. For just $27, you’ll receive one short video and worksheet each day for 5 days that will help get started with the non-diet approach and  feeling better in and about your body.

Ready to take the next step?  Book a free consultation call to discuss how coaching can help you reach your goals.

Let’s stay in touch! Kim is on Instagram and Facebook @radiantvitalitywellness. 

 Disclaimer.  The information contained in this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.  Always consult a health care professional about your unique needs.


Kim Host


Hey, welcome back to the Power in Motion podcast. If you’re listening to this episode in real time, it’s the week before Thanksgiving in the US. Now here in Canada, of course, we celebrated a few weeks ago, but either way, no matter where you are, we are about to enter into the holiday season. How do you feel about that? It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? I mean, I love the holidays. I love Christmas. My husband and I are anniversary is on New Year’s Eve, so this is an exciting time of year for us and I really look forward to the season.


I love getting together with people and celebrating all the family traditions, having a little break from work. I truly do enjoy and look forward to the holidays, and also I know that it can be a stressful time. It’s a busy time. There’s lots going on schedules to juggle, lots of extra events to fit in, people to see, shopping to do, wrapping, cooking, baking, hosting, entertaining. It can get to feel overwhelming, especially if you have any perfectionistic tendencies and no judgment, because I have them too from time to time. But here’s the thing what I’ve noticed is that when we start to feel overwhelmed, often the first thing that we let go of is our own self-care. Maybe we drop our movement practice, stay up later at night, maybe we eat in a more hurried, less intentional way, perhaps skip meals or forget to eat altogether, maybe drinking more coffee or alcohol. And we just keep plowing through the long list of things that we have to do without stopping to think about what we need for ourselves. And the truth is that most of us women spend the holidays giving so much of ourselves to everybody around us that by the time the new year comes, we’re so depleted and are desperately craving some sense of routine that it’s no wonder we find ourselves scanning the diet ads, looking to regain some sense of control and normalcy after a month or two of chaos.


Now I don’t have to tell you that diets and resolutions don’t work. You mean, you already know that and if you’re listening to this show, you definitely have heard that said before. But I understand the appeal, I understand the attraction to want to eat more nutritionally after perhaps having more sweets and richer foods than you’re accustomed to, or to have just something that’s for you after being on for everyone else for so long. Or even just to have a prescribed routine, to have someone tell you what to eat and how to exercise and not have to think or make decisions about those things, and to have a sense that you’re trying your best to be healthy. I can understand the appeal, and yet we know it doesn’t work. We know that it’s a sustainable long term. So what I’m suggesting is how about we just avoid the overwhelm all together? I’m here for that and I want to help you do that too.


So for these next six weeks on the podcast, I am going to focus on simple strategies that you can implement easily to maintain your own self care and your own well being over this holiday season, because I think that’s the key to avoiding holiday burnout and New Year’s resolution regret by taking care of your own need, then saving some of that love that you pour out to everyone else for yourself. I think you know we can sail through the holidays with our sanity intact and go into the New Year feeling calm, grounded and nourished. So I’d recommend that you hit the subscribe button on whatever app you’re listening to, so that you don’t miss out on any of the topics that are coming up over the next six weeks. Today, we’re going to chat about eating, about how to enjoy and eat your favorite foods over the holiday season without guilt and without overdoing it. That’s a big thing that I hear a lot in the people that I talk to. And then in the coming weeks we’re going to talk about how to stay consistent with some sort of exercise or movement routine over the holidays, how to reduce stress surrounded by the pressure to do it all, and in that we’ll talk about perfectionism and people pleasing. We’re going to also address how to feel confident in your body in social situations and how to respond to unwanted body or food comments from family members or friends and the dreaded comment that can often come up, which is but I’m just concerned about your health. So we’ll dig into that later on. And then, just before Christmas, we will talk about how to set weight neutral health goals and, maybe for this year, making your New Year’s resolution to quit dieting altogether. And I’m also going to be digging into these topics a little bit deeper inside my email community, which is called Embrace your Radiant. So if you haven’t yet joined my email list, I definitely recommend that you do that. You can sign up on my website at radiantvitalityca slash email and in that you will be the first to hear when podcast episodes drop and you’ll also receive exclusive coaching tips about the topics that we dig into here on the podcast and within that community. You will also be able to hear about the new offer that I created to support women to maintain their health habits and self-care and sanity over the holidays. That’s the only place that I’ll be talking about this one-time offer, so I would definitely recommend that you get in on that list.


Okay, so let’s get into this week’s topic. Let’s talk about how you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods without guilt and without feeling like you’ve overdone it, because this is something that I hear often that there’s so much delicious food available this time of year. There’s so many social events to go to, parties and dinners and family gatherings that you know, between the US Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there’s a lot more eating and drinking opportunities, and fair to say that many of those opportunities to eat include so many new and different foods richer foods, sweeter foods, maybe fancier foods and just more just more food and drinks than probably what you’re accustomed to in your day-to-day life, and I mean they’re delicious. And maybe some of those foods have sentimental value, like your grandma’s gingerbread or you know a casserole that your aunt makes that nobody else can do, just like her. Or those special seasonal items that only come out at this time of year, like for me it’s that candy cane ice cream oh I just love it. Or maybe you’re into eggnog. So there’s this feeling that you know these foods are really special and they’re only available this time of year and you love them, you truly love them, and so you want to be able to eat them and enjoy them without feeling like you’ve overdone it and without that dreaded food hangover that we get if we do overdo it. So you want to be able to eat these foods that you enjoy.


But what people will often say to me is I find that if I do have some of the food, if I have just a taste of it, I end up eating way more than I intended to, or I indulge in things that I know are not gonna make me feel good, and then I regret what I’ve done. And then, of course, there’s the fear of holiday weight gain, and that’s what can often drive us to those diet ads that are so in our face at the end of the year, you know, preying on our insecurities and knowing that we’ve just eaten all of these wonderful foods over the holiday season and we might be feeling a little bit of regret about that, and I’ll tell you I relate to this feeling like holiday eating for me used to look one of two ways. One I would just consider the time between Halloween or US Thanksgiving and New Year’s to be a free-for-all, like I would just eat all the things, lots of it, to the point that I felt uncomfortable and where I wouldn’t want to eat for days. But of course I did, and I’d feel so gross by the time that New Year’s came that I really did actually want to go on a diet and exercise program just so I could get some nutritious food and exercise back in my life. Or the other way that it looked for several years is I would try to be really quote good over the holidays, where I would try to avoid all of those foods that were off limits, and I would do that by making sure that I ate before going to a social situation so that I wouldn’t indulge in the so called bad foods. Or I would bring some of my approved foods to the gathering and eat only that. I would skip meals or eat light throughout the day to save calories for the party. I would try making healthified versions of my holiday favorites things that contained only approved foods in hopes that that would satisfy my cravings for those special holiday things. But inevitably I would end up eating the things that I said I wouldn’t. I would eat more than I intended to and then I would attempt to make up for that by squeezing in extra exercise, doing extra cardio and trying to fit that in in an already busy schedule. And I’ll tell you, neither approach felt good. Both left me feeling out of control around the holiday food and like I had no self-control and that I really needed to rein myself in or do some sort of reset after the holiday season was over.


I’m happy to say now that holiday eating doesn’t look like that. In fact it doesn’t look a whole lot different than my usual day-to-day eating. Like definitely there’s some different foods than what I would normally eat because I’m out more and I’m eating the things that other people are making. But I don’t eat more than usual. I don’t suffer from those food hangovers anymore and I don’t feel stuffed and unwell after eating and I certainly don’t stress about burning the food off and and I don’t worry about my clothes fitting at the end of the holiday season Like it’s just yes, there’s different foods, yes, there’s some special foods that I really enjoy and look forward to, but there’s not that emotion, there’s not that stress and worry about the holiday eating. So I’ll share with you on this episode what’s changed there and the strategies that I employ now and the mindset that’s got me to where I am so that hopefully you can use those tools to feel more in control around your holiday eating so that you can avoid feeling like you need to jump on a diet January 1st.


So let’s talk first about why it is that we struggle so much with eating, or eating past the point of fullness, or eating to the point where we don’t feel well this time of year. You’ve heard me talk on the show plenty of times before about how restricting food in any way, shape or form creates more desire for that food. Right, our brain does not like to live in a restricted state. It equates that with true famine. Right, and we will stop at nothing to get the food that we feel is restricted. And our body creates cravings and more desire for the foods that we’re not allowing ourselves to have.


But you’re probably thinking, but I do allow myself to have them, like at the holiday season, when all of these delicious foods are around, I am having them, and I can’t seem to stop having them. Well, here’s the thing Even though you may not actually be limiting yourself from eating these foods, you may be allowing yourself to have them. You’re very likely also attaching meaning to these types of food, and I don’t know about you, but I used to consider food that had more sugar in them, or were processed or were fried All those types of foods that we see more of at Christmas. I used to classify all of those as bad foods and hence felt guilty for eating those foods, because I judged myself as bad if I ate them. So, though I wasn’t restricting them, I was allowing them. I was beating up on myself for eating these foods that I deemed to be bad or unhealthy, and that’s why, then, I would feel like I had to atone for my choices and pay them off with exercise or get meals to save my calories, or try to make the food less bad by reducing the sugar or doing something else to make that recipe more quote unquote healthy.


And here’s the thing is that labeling foods as bad or unhealthy is still a form of restriction. We call that mental restriction. So even though you’re allowing yourself to eat the food, by telling yourself that it’s bad, it creates more desire in your brain for that food, and scarcity mindset also comes into play here. Scarcity mindset shows up in lots of different ways in life, but holiday foods are another way that scarcity can rear its head. So when we think food is really special or novel, or it’s only available at certain times like if you never allow yourself to eat sugar but you allow yourself to indulge at Christmas, or eggnog is a seasonal food that’s only available this time of the year your brain’s natural response when that food is available is to eat loads of it. Because if you can make the pleasure and satisfaction you get from that one eating experience last all year, now if you have ever experienced food insecurity true food insecurity than that response is likely to be even more heightened. And I say that with all the compassion and understanding, like if food has actually been scarce for you at some point in your life, then your nervous system is going to be imprinted to eat what you can while you can. So it’s really, really important to have compassion for yourself in this case and be super gentle and understanding about where this pattern was formed and hold yourself with so much grace.


But what I’m trying to highlight here is this belief that these foods are so special and only available at a certain time, or that they’re bad, but you’re allowing yourself to have them just at this time of year. Those two beliefs are the exact thing that’s creating the urgency and desire to eat so much of these foods during this time of year. So it’s not your fault at all. It’s just your brain’s response to this food being placed on such a pedestal. So the solution is not to try to control these foods more. It’s not to come up with strategies and hacks to help you avoid the foods. It’s actually to neutralize the novelty of the food, take it down off the pedestal and take away the intensity of the emotion behind that food by not labeling it as bad or unhealthy or something that’s so special that you can’t have it any other time. So what you want to do instead is actually, instead of tightening up control, you actually want to reduce control and give yourself permission to eat whatever it is that you desire and remind yourself that no food is off limits.


You can have what you want, you can eat what you desire and you can get these foods whenever you want. Most of the foods that we see at the holidays are not as special as we make them out to be. So this is the odd thing I’m sure you know. Maybe there’s this one special thing that only your aunt, susie, can make and you only see her once a year, so that’s super special. But the other things, like eggnog, yes, it’s only available in the holidays, but it’s available for about two or three months. Same with my candy cane ice cream, like I can get it for about three months. In other words, I can go and have that any time that I want. I don’t need to eat it all in one setting to satisfy my craving for it. So that’s the first and most important tip is to reduce the novelty that surrounds these foods and resist the urge to label them as bad or unhealthy or special. All foods fit in a balanced lifestyle and you’re allowed to eat the foods that you enjoy. We’ll stop Now.


My next tip is to make sure that you’re eating regularly and eating enough, and this is different than eating before a party so that you don’t eat at the party. It’s not about eating so that you won’t eat at the social event. It’s about keeping your eating habits as normal as possible. So it’s about eating normally throughout your day, as you usually would, so that you continue to eat as close to normally as possible when you’re at the event. You don’t want to go into social events having skipped meals all day, saving up your calories for the event, because you will be over hungry and your primal urge to eat will take over and you will end up eating way past fullness and not feeling good the next day.


And then my third tip for you is to eat mindfully. When you are surrounded by an abundance of food and everything looks delicious, take a moment to pause and check in with yourself. Check in on your hunger, notice how big your appetite truly is and ask what it is that you really want. Notice the tendency to want to just grab things because it’s new or different or somebody made it, or it’s special or it’s otherwise off limits, and instead take a pause and consider which items you actually want to try. And if you can’t decide, then go ahead and put all the things on your plate. There’s nothing that says you have to eat it all. Take all the things that you think you want and taste them, but bring mindfulness into your eating.


So in a previous episode I’ve mentioned the three S’s. I’m gonna say them again. There’s three S’s that help you eat more mindfully, which is one slow down, to employ all of your senses, so really taking time to taste the food, notice the texture of it, the smell of it, the sounds the food makes as you’re eating it, and savor each bite. That’s the third S. So this is a mindful practice which will help you really tune into whether you really are enjoying this food, and maybe what you’ll realize after a few bites is that you are satisfied, or perhaps you want more of a particular item. It doesn’t matter which way it goes. The point is that it’s a conscious choice that you’re present and involved in the eating experience instead of just mindlessly grazing.


And then my fourth tip for you is that if you do eat past fullness, or you eat an amount of a particular food that doesn’t sit well, forgive yourself and move on. So really challenge the voice in your head that wants to berate you and punish you for overdoing it, and rather reframe it to a learning experience. Be grateful that your body has let you know what was too much. This is proof that you can trust your body to send you signals to let you know how much is the right amount, what foods work well in your body. So next time you’ll be that much more mindful. Being compassionate and learning what you can from a mistake or experience that didn’t go the way you wanted will get you a whole lot further than punishment and berating yourself. Nobody responds well to that type of treatment.


Now, I know that these strategies around eating are probably a whole lot different than what you’ve done in the past, where you’ve employed willpower and self-control to try to avoid certain foods, but I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s because you know that approach doesn’t work. So I want to encourage you to really give this a try. Give yourself permission to eat and take the morality away from food and change your mindset around what you are and aren’t allowed to eat, and instead consider the idea that all foods fit in a balanced lifestyle and that you have permission to eat the things that you like. Give it a try Really. What have you got to lose?


And I’d love to hear how this works out for you and, of course, if you really want to embrace this approach to eating during this holiday season, but you’re not sure how to do that on your own, then you know I’m here for you and, like I said, I have a special low-cost, one-to-one coaching offer for the holiday season where I can support you on one goal so that you can come through the holiday skill and calm, grounded and nourished, so that you can avoid that holiday burnout and New Year’s resolution regret. So, like I said, details for that are only available through my email community Embrace your radiance and you can sign up for that at my website radiantvitalityca. Slash email. Alright, so I will see you back here next week where we’re gonna talk about strategies to stay consistent with movement over the holidays without losing your mind and feeling like it’s just one more thing to fit in into an already jam-packed schedule. So stay tuned for that and, in the meantime, be well.