3. Using Food To Self-Pamper

You Think: ‘I’ve had a really difficult year and I deserve to give myself this reward of lashings of yummy food and wine.’

The Fallout:

“Using food as the ultimate holiday treat puts food on a pedestal, as though it can magically fix everything that’s not working in your life and make you feel better,” says McMahon. Fast-forward a few hours after the chocolates and chips or second serving of dessert and you will still be carrying the same emotional baggage. But now you’ll have some food guilt to add to it.

Your Christmas Comeback:

» Take just a few bites: Serve yourself a little of the foods you wouldn’t normally indulge in but just take a few bites to satisfy you and don’t eat the rest. Or enjoy just a small sliver of dessert. Research from Cornell University shows that people who eat small serves of treat foods feel just as satisfied 15 minutes later as those who ate far bigger portions. Another study at Stanford University has found that people who ate only three salty crackers were more satisfied than those who ate 15 crackers.

» Seek non-food rewards: Treat yourself to a few great books for Christmas and daily indulgences over the holidays such as enjoying breakfast al fresco or going for a sunset walk with all the family. “Remind yourself that the major perks of Christmas are not the meals but spending time with family and friends and enjoying a break from work,” says McMahon.

» Avoid second serves: Instead, have a tall glass of water or a nice hot cup of tea. If that doesn’t work and you still feel hungry, go back to have a second serve of salad and vegetables.