How to Eat What You Want During the Holidays and STILL Lose Weight Safely by Arlene Kahn

Yesterday, I put out a blog post and call to action to anyone who wanted to blog on 20 topics I wish someone would blog about before the end of 2010.  People are responding quickly, so thank you all for your enthusiasm and for breaking through your traditional writing to add some great posts to our blogging maniac site.

I want to thank Arlene Kahn of West Windsor Psychotherapy for responding with her post on

You can eat what you want, you just can’t eat ALL that you might want, but you can eat ALL that your body wants. The name of the game is Body Attunement. You and your body are attached and there needs to be an attunement to what you want and what your body says is “enough, for now.” That means enjoying what you eat while recognizing your body’s limits.

If we give it a chance, our body is our “safe haven,” it is what carries us and in that sense, it provides a secure base from which we can dream, think, explore and still stay grounded. At the holidays though, it’s hard to stay grounded. We are flooded with food and drinks, our expectations of others, and others’ expectations of us.

With holiday returns to family, often desires are stirred, long-denied needs are re-awakened and without a “safe haven” inside ourselves, we look to spending too much money, eating too much food and drinking more than is healthy in order to try to satisfy inner cravings for being seen, appreciated, recognized and loved. This year, you can lose weight safely, by enjoying the taste of each alluring food, drinking for pleasure, not to get buzzed, and appreciating giving and receiving smaller gifts that won’t put you in debt.

Most of all, when standing or sitting in front of the chocolate cheesecake, or the rich and colorful pumpkin pie with a splash of whipped cream, try breathing and staying aware of your breathing, till you feel centered. This can keep you in touch with your body, which can keep you grounded and realistic even while we fly and dart from one experience to another. Whether the experiences are wonderful and uplifting, or disappointing or a let-down, being embodied gives us inner support, protection from over-eating out of either celebration or emotional needs. It is the ultimate road to losing weight safely during the holidays.

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  1. I was already pulling in my belt a notch when I got to your last paragraph. Bypass the chocolate cheesecake? Ignore the rich and colorful pumpkin pie. My inner child was already reaching for a slice. Let them eat cake!

  2. I would say Arlene is “spot on” as the Brits would say with being in touch with the needs of the body. Getting in touch with the body via breathing and staying grounded and centered is a key skill in weight control. Still as food addict, myself I would encourage some people that are further outside the norm like me to not eat every type of food. Consider some foods as something you just won’t eat at all. I have found some foods for me are in the category of one bite or small portion is never enough so why even go to that place. I also find a couple of “mantras” are helpful at times like “you are only as fat as you are honest” and “calories do count” as helpful to me when looking at the array of my well-meaning family encouraging me to eat. I can still remember my well-meaning mother at my wedding when I was in early recovery looking at me saying, “You mean you are not going to eat one bite of your wedding cake.” in a tone of voice as if I was nuts. She thought I was too thin bless her heart. Hope this is helpful.

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