The feasting is over. The turkey has disappeared: roasted and hot, microwaved leftovers, then cold sandwiches and eventually croquettes or thrown into soup.
You climb on the scale with trepidation and breathe a long sigh of relief when the dreaded poundage fails to appear. Before you relax and think you got away with it, remember that your sneaky little body is playing its usual tricks. Two or three days of Spartan eating will make you feel virtuous again -until you step on the scale and find you've gained 5 pounds. "Fraud" you shriek. "I've been so good!"
Remember the holiday feast? It has finally caught up with you as you knew, deep down, that it would.
What to do?
We all need brief periods of self-indulgence - it's part of the human condition. Expect a setback on your weight loss goals and let that knowledge mitigate your disappointment. Then continue on your diet with the assurance that a special occasion blip doesn't define your future. Enjoy the memories of a family gathering while carefully planning your next week's intake.
Appreciate what you have accomplished so far and avoid loading yourself down with guilt and self-reproach.
Get back on your program as quickly as possible because (sorry to bring this up now) Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat.
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently published a psychologically-based weight control e-workbook, "Diet with an Attitude" which develops mental skills towards the goal of permanent weight control.