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Taking care of your mind and body this holiday

Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is one of Southern California’s most prominent psychologists in her field of expertise. Dr. Lyndsay maintains her clinical practice in Newport Beach, California. As a food and body image expert for the last 15 years, ...

Beat holiday weight gain

The holidays... the best of times for having fun and yet potentially the worst of times when it comes to taking care of your body. Knowing that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year's is seven to 10 pounds (yikes!), the holidays are a set-up for six weeks of disordered eating behaviors that also take a toll on how you view your body. How will you keep up your self-care while also enjoying all of the fabulous festivities? It’s important to plan ahead to celebrate this favorite time of year. Here are some suggestions to help you not completely overindulge so that you can feel confident in your body while you rock your favorite holiday cocktail dress!

Woman eating grapes at Holiday party

Before

First, prepare yourself for the massive amount of food and adult beverages that are going to surround you. That ugly sweater party is going to have just as much deliciousness as the office celebration. When filling your belly, keep in mind:

Be consistent

Be sure to get in your usual meals and snacks so that you never arrive starving to an event (or to the kitchen at work!).

Enjoy everything in moderation

Remember that one meal isn't going to break you, and get yourself back to a more reasonable place if you feel as though you have overdone it. Pay attention to the emotions that may have fueled that desire so you can prepare for it should it occur again.

Savor your bites!

If you don't like something, you don't have to finish it. Save your tummy for something else you like better.

Make the suggestion to take turns bringing in treats for the office

That way everyone brings their favorite and it's not a daily free for all leading you right into temptation!

You don't have to try everything that is offered to you

Just say no. There will always be something right around the corner that you may prefer more.

After

Even if you've eaten more than you are proud of, you can still protect yourself from the inner bully that might remind you of how much you partied the night before. To combat those intimidators, here are some ways to take care of yourself:

Just move

Exercise is such an important factor in how people feel about their bodies. Whether it is cardio or strength training, it makes people feel better when they move! Make the commitment to do just 20 minutes of exercise and you will feel so much better.

What do you love?

Focus on the positives of what you can appreciate about yourself instead of berating your appearance. Being overly critical is not going to help you, so look for things that you are proud of instead.

Keep your priorities for self-care clear

If you're anxious, tired, unhappy, irritable, etc., you will create a disconnect when you are eating. Take some time for yourself, sort out your emotions and get yourself back to a place where you can eat more intuitively.

Turn conversations away from criticisms of what you've eaten, how it will make you "fat," comparisons to others, etc.

The holidays are a time to connect, and berating yourself will not lead to feeling closer to loved ones.

Find the clothes that you feel the most comfortable in

When you choose something that makes you feel confident, you automatically create a more positive relationship with your body!

'Tis the season for fun and excitement! But, even under the best of circumstances, the holidays can be stressful. Try and enjoy yourself! Focus on being mindful and present during these few weeks, and honor your body by still making it a priority. Happy holidays!

Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is one of Southern California's most prominent psychologists in her field of expertise. Dr. Lyndsay maintains her clinical practice in Newport Beach, California. As a food and body image expert for the last 15 years, Dr. Lyndsay is known for her break-through work with children, teens and young adults. She particularly enjoys consulting with parents to help develop a healthy self-image for their children. Dr. Lyndsay empowers individuals with her ease, strength and experience, ultimately propelling her patients into a new arena of growth, control and balanced living. Check out Dr. Lyndsay's daily tips and blog at www.DrLyndsayElliott.com, on twitter @DrLyndsay, and Facebook at Dr. LyndsayElliott, Inc.

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