Episode #84: Special Foods and Holiday Weight Loss

Nov 07, 2023






Join Dr. Priyanka Venugopal in this revealing episode of the Unstoppable Mom Brain podcast, delving into how to manage weight loss during the festive season and handle special foods. As the holidays surround us, Dr. Priyanka uncovers the myths and challenges surrounding weight loss during these celebratory times, offering valuable insights and strategies to avoid the pitfalls that commonly derail our health goals.


If this podcast resonates with you, make sure you get on the waitlist for my next Unstoppable Group. You can get all the details and join the waitlist over at https://www.theunstoppablemombrain.com/group. And when you’re on the waitlist for the next enrollment, you’re going to get early access to enroll.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Redefining Mistakes: Dr. Priyanka reframes mistakes as "plot twists," altering the charged perception often associated with this term.
  • Categorizing Mistakes: Identifying two broad categories of mistakes: those that affect personal goals and those that impact others, shedding light on different forms of guilt associated with each type.
  • Guilt Dynamics: Recognizing the role of guilt in self-criticism and its tendency to overshadow other vital emotions like curiosity, hindering the path to growth and learning.
  • Embracing Growth Mindset: Encouraging the shift from a guilt-driven mindset to one fueled by curiosity, forgiveness, and a commitment to learning from mistakes, fostering personal and professional growth.
  • Modeling Resilience: Discussing the importance of teaching children resilience through one's own approach to mistakes, demonstrating forgiveness and growth as fundamental life lessons.


Listen to the Full Episode:



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Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

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  • Hey, I'm Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast, how to lose weight through the holidays and handling special foods. It is the holidays. We are well smack dab in the middle of it between Halloween and Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. And what I know I used to think, and what I'm sure so many of you think is that the holidays are all about.

    Food and even alcohol. I can sense from so many of you, and I mean, ask me how I know, is that we don't even want to try to lose weight during the holidays because it's like, what, what ridiculousness is that? What a wash. First of all, so many of these holidays, I know for sure Diwali, which is what we celebrate in my family.

    And maybe the special holidays that you have is so often centered around food and even alcohol. So I totally get it. You might have a lot of thoughts like the holiday is. All about the foods, Priyanka. The idea of even trying to lose weight feels so ridiculous. And this might be you if you find yourself thinking, I will get to it starting New Year's.

    Pinky promise. But I promise you that going into the holiday season with these set of thoughts is what perpetuates the biggest weight gain throughout the whole year. This was me for years. A part of the reason that I think I used to keep this and I'm sure so many of you keep this set of thoughts around the holidays and weight loss and food is specifically because we don't want to let go of the specialness of some of these holidays.

    And I think because we have so much all or nothing thinking, we don't know how to enjoy the specialness without gaining the weight. Now, if we keep this paradigm, if we keep these set of thoughts, it will be the reason that you inadvertently gain the most weight. During the holiday season, and it's going to specifically be the reason that you feel regret when you wake up on New Year's Day.

    A lot of the reason that we gain weight during the holiday season or try to throw in the towel and just think we'll start again on New Year's Day is because we have a lot of all or nothing thinking. Tell me if this sounds familiar. If you think during the holiday season. To lose weight this season that you have to give it all up.

    If this is you, I want you to know that I'm here to debunk this lie, and that is the whole intention of this entire episode. Before I get into today's episode, I want to make sure you know about something really special that I'm doing this year. I'm going to be hosting a very special VIP masterclass for my clients in the Unstoppable Group, and we're going to be bridging the gap on losing the weight that you want to lose this December.

    while having fun. So you wake up on New Year's Day, not having to undo the damage, not feeling any regret, and in fact, feeling light and confident that your goals are just done. I want you to claim a spot too. I want you to wake up on New Year's Day, not only having not gained the weight during December and during all of the holidays coming up this year, but to lose weight while having fun.

    Now, if this is something that sounds interesting to you, listen up, I'm going to be opening Early enrollment for the January group on December 1st. That means that you can get early access to the unstoppable group, our on demand video curriculum, all of our coaching call replays and unlock your invitation to this VIP masterclass.

    And it's all happening on December 1st. I am thinking about this VIP Masterclass as your way of jump starting weight loss this holiday season so that you enter 2024 feeling no regret, no heaviness, no frustration, simply feeling lighter on the scale while having fun this holiday season so you can go into 2024 feeling so confident.

    This early enrollment period is only going to be open for one week from December 1st. To the eight and it is only accessible if you join the unstoppable group waitlist, which you can do over at the unstoppable mom, brain. com forward slash group. The moment that you join the waitlist, you're going to get an email from me to your email inbox with all of the details.

    I'm on a personal mission to help high achievers and working moms know that it is possible, not only possible, just necessary to lose the weight that you want to lose, not just this holiday season, but forever means you have to know how to have fun and feel good along the way. And I think that December is just such a great time to prove to yourself that you can lose weight and have fun.

    Okay. Let's get into today's episode around special foods and how to lose weight this holiday season. Let's go. For years, every Thanksgiving, every Thanksgiving for as far back as I can remember, we used to have what is more like a Friendsgiving in my family. So I'm vegetarian. If you're brand new to me, hello, I'm vegetarian.

    And a lot of our foods growing up were not really like wouldn't fit into the category of like typical Thanksgiving food. But Thanksgiving was the one time in the year that a lot of our family friends would get together. Again, I didn't have very much family growing up in this country. Most of my family is in India.

    So my parents would get together with a lot of our family friends who were kind of in a similar predicament where their families were also abroad, and we would get together for this annual Friendsgiving. And it's so amazing because Friendsgiving has evolved over the years. It used to just be Be our immediate families.

    And then as we got older and the kids started getting married and then having their own kids, Friendsgiving has grown and grown. And I want to tell you every year for Thanksgiving, I used to, my, my personal contribution was mango pie. Okay. Now, if you think mango pie Priyanka, mango pie is not Thanksgiving food, it's not a typical food that we eat for Thanksgiving.

    It's not even a fall food. Like what, what does mango pie have anything to do with Thanksgiving? I'm telling you, first of all, it's delicious. It is so good. And it's orange. So when I came up with mango pie, I think I must have been like 12 or 13 years old. I had it at a friend's house and her mom gave me the recipe for how to make mango pie.

    And I was like, I'm bringing this mango pie to Thanksgiving because it's orange. So I just want to like preface this by saying this decision was made by a 12 year old. I was 12 at the time and the tradition just stuck. My mango pie was so delicious. It like, I just want to tell you like the spread. First of all, the Thanksgiving, this Friendsgiving spread was like a vegetarian's dream, every single amazing food with a twist, right?

    All of us would come together making all of our favorite foods that we wanted to have year round. We would bring it to this event and I would bring this mango pie. Now, let me tell you why this mango pie was so good. Number one. It was a hit. Everyone loved it. But it wasn't just the mango pie part of it.

    It was the crust. So for me, I love a good graham cracker crust or I would sometimes alternate. I would make a graham cracker crust. I would sometimes make an Oreo crust. And seriously, I'm like licking the bottom of this pie tray because the crumbs of the crust were so good. Now, I don't know if you can even hear in my voice, just me reminiscing about mango pie and me talking to you about mango pie and the graham cracker crust, the Oreo crust might be filling you with this feeling of specialness that I have had around Friendsgiving.

    Since I was really like, since I was quite a young child. And that is really what the whole point of this episode is really all about. I can think back to Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving, Diwali after Diwali, holiday celebration after holiday celebration, where. We would gather together with either just our immediate family or with friends and family, and the food and even the alcohol was such a central piece of the specialness of the event.

    If this is you, this, you're not alone in this. This is something that has been cultivated in our society and cultures all around the world, where we gather together for special events and food and alcohol are just kind of a central piece of. the event and how we celebrate together. Well, what I want you to know is when in our minds, we overemphasize the food as our only place of getting that special feeling, we will naturally overeat it.

    Why, why is it that we do this? Why is it smart people? Cause I know if you're listening to this podcast, I know that you identify as being a smart human. Why is it that smart people ever overeat food? Or take actions that might feel like a direct contradiction to their personal body goals. The reason that we would ever overeat food and I know because I've done this is simply because we want to store a feeling.

    I know for me with Thanksgiving and mango pie, I wanted to Door the feeling of specialness. Let me just say that again in a slightly different way. The only reason that you will ever overeat at a special event is simply because you're trying to store specialness. You're trying to capture a feeling and you think right now that by overeating specific foods or alcohol is your best way of doing it.

    I decided to record this specific podcast episode on special foods right after a coaching call that I had with my clients this week in the Unstoppable Group, where we workshopped through how to handle and how to think about special foods. Now, when you join the Unstoppable Group, you get immediate access to all of the call replays.

    So this is going to be one of those coaching calls that you're going to watch first, because it is really going to help you change your perspective on how to have fun, how to create joint connection without overeating. Now, it's no secret that most people gain the most weight. during the holiday season.

    And most of the time in my experience, it is for three reasons. The very first reason is because we kind of monkey emoji through the holidays. Like you cover your eyes, you cover your ears, basically thinking like, this is the time for me to have my fun. The holidays are all about the food and the alcohol.

    Like, don't take that away from me. I'll 1st. Okay. I'm going to call this your monkey emoji through the holidays, your monkey emoji, your personal body goals, and it will. Honestly, if you think about it, it will honestly drive you to overeat and absolutely gain weight during the holiday season. So you wake up on New Year's Day having to undo the damage.

    The second reason that I have found in, again, my personal experience and what I see with my clients is not having any plan at all for the holiday season. You think you can just wing it. Like, I know I kind of want to lose weight. I mean, I know it matters to me, but like, you don't have a specific. Clear strategy in place.

    And so in the moment, your very natural reflexes, your desire to store specialness, overrides your lack of planning. You're winging it, you're winging it mode. The third reason that I have found for. So many of us that have ever gained weight during the holidays or why we ever gained weight during the holiday season is simply because we come into the holiday season with making a plan that is too restrictive.

    We tell ourselves, I can't have any of the pie, no cookies, none of it. And we think that if we just stay super disciplined in the way that we eat, that maybe that's how we're going to get through the holiday season without gaining the weight. Now, in my experience, I have done, and I've done every permutation of all three of these.

    And none of it works in every single scenario, either you monkey emoji and think you're gonna have a fresh start on January 1st, or you try to wing it, not having a plan at all. Or the third one, you have a plan that's way too restrictive, like no cookies, Priyanka. None of those strategies work. And in every single scenario that I have ever tried this permutation with, I have literally always woken up on New Year's day, feeling heavier, feeling frustrated and feeling a lot of regret for how I handled the holiday season.

    This episode is all about planting the seed of possibility. I want you to play with the idea that it is possible to not monkey emoji your body goal. It's possible to lose weight this holiday season and have fun at the same time. I promise you they're not mutually exclusive. I want you to stick with me in this episode where we're going to get into exactly how to do that.

    So I want you to imagine that next special event coming up for you. Maybe it's Thanksgiving weekend or Diwali or Hanukkah or Christmas. It might even just be a date night or a weekend off or a vacation in a new city. And at this special event, there is going to be food. And alcohol, and typically food at special events like holidays might be synonymous with you for celebration and some type of a rarity.

    It's something that you don't see every single day. It's not a part of your Monday through Friday routine because it's special events. There are foods that might be different than your usual. Here are the thoughts. You might find yourself thinking before you ever get to your special holiday event or that date night.

    I can't wait. It's going to be so good. I wonder what there's going to be to eat. This event is so rare. It's at this special restaurant or in this brand new city. I cannot wait. This is going to be so special. I want to enjoy it as much as possible. Then when you get to your special event, the holiday or the date night, you might find yourself thinking.

    Ooh, it looks so good. I don't even know where to start. I want to try it all. Let me get it while I can. I'll worry about the weight loss tomorrow. The biggest mistake that we make that drives us to overeat at these special events is making the overconsumption of food or alcohol synonymous with your creation of personal pleasure and relaxation.

    Let me say that a different way. The reason that we ever think, let me get it while I can. It looks so good. Let me load up right now is because we're also thinking the more I eat, the more pleasure I'll experience. And not only that, the thoughts that you end up having before and during your event are pumping you with dopamine, which is creating a lot of overdesire.

    That sentence in your mind is going to be so good. I can't wait to have it. It's going to be amazing. It's creating this sensation in your body that very naturally is driving up. urges and cravings and very naturally will drive you to overeat at the event when you're not aware of it. Here's the truth. No, busy working mom, no high achiever is ever going to want to say no to this.

    You work hard year round, Monday through Friday. You're taking care of all the people in your life, all of the task lists and the responsibilities And when you have attached your personal relaxation and pleasure and connection and comfort to food, it makes perfect sense that your brain has also attached over consumption of eating that food with creating more relaxation and pleasure and fun.

    But let's actually do the math. When you reflect back after that special event and you've over eaten the pie or the cookies, or you've over drank the alcohol, how do you actually feel? When you wake up and see that the scale is up or you feel that feeling in your gut that's like, uh, I overeat. How does that feel?

    If there is any flavor of regret or disappointment or frustration, I'm here to challenge you. Overeating cannot create joy. If it is also creating your regret, frustration, and disappointment. I still remember with my mango pie story, I mean, I was the one that made it and I used to go back for sliver after sliver.

    I would cut off like little piece after little piece, telling myself just a few more bites. It's so good. I've been good all year. This is just one day in the whole year. I've been so good. Maybe after the holidays, I'll get back on track. Tomorrow I'll get back on track. Oh, and I totally forgot about this.

    But usually Thanksgiving weekend, I was on call at the hospital on Black Friday. So the Friday after Thanksgiving would be the day that I typically covered labor and delivery. And I remember I used to really like even more think like, let me Priyanka, like let's get it while we can. You might have to wake up at 7 am. To go deliver a baby. Like this is your chance to have your fun because you're gonna be on call all weekend. I think that so many times when we're not aware of it, this is such a common thought for the busy working mom, right? We're going to be working on Monday. We have to get back to our real life Monday through Friday.

    So when you're at a special event, whether it's a holiday or even a date night or a weekend, we might be really overloading because we know we have to get back to reality really soon. It makes a lot of sense that we're like, let's just get it all while we can. And when I'm really thinking about this on reflection, I think that so many of my days as an obgyn were filled like this, right?

    I was on call many weekends. I was on call at the hospital many days. And I think that it was so common for me to think, let me get it while I can. And I just deserve a break. And because I attached my break and my fun with food. I mean, it's no surprise that I got to 200 pounds little by little.

    Overeating day after day, week after week and month after month just led to the slow creep up. And it is the thing that drove me to understand if I could separate the two, if I could separate me creating relaxation and joy and pleasure without overeating, what would that even look like? I used to glamorize the mango pie so much.

    I made it so special that I forgot. that I couldn't actually store relaxation. No matter how much mango pie I ate on Thursday, I was still on call on Friday. I still was going to have to engage with my actual real life on Friday. I couldn't actually store the relaxation and pleasure on Thanksgiving. It's really no surprise that year after year I overate the mango pie.

    I overate through December and I woke up on New Year's Day, five, usually 10 pounds heavier, feeling a little bit like crap. Here's what I had to learn. And really the whole premise of today's episode is that there's going to be food and alcohol at your special event, whether it's Thanksgiving or Diwali or Hanukkah or Christmas, your date night, that special restaurant you're visiting, that new city you're traveling to, there's going to be food that might feel rare, the event might feel special, the people there might be special, but the feelings of specialness that you actually want to have.

    isn't coming from the food. It's coming from your thoughts about the food. And for many years, you, like I used to have just attached a lot of the specialness to the food. You've given food a really special meaning when it comes to holiday events. Maybe that food isn't prepared very often, or maybe it took a lot of time for someone to make.

    Maybe it took a lot of effort to create that food. Maybe someone really special made it just for you. I mean, you can really think about the narrative we have around what makes something special, and when we attach a meaning to that food, it's no surprise that we want to overconsume it. Now, I'm not here to tell you that the food isn't special, but what I am here to tell you is that there is an overemphasis that we are placing on food.

    And it is the reason that we overeat and gain so much weight during the holidays. Now really ask yourself, is it the mango pie? Is it that cookie? Is it that meal that is really so special? Or is it the person who made it for you? Is it the environment that you happen to be in, the city that you happen to be visiting?

    Is it how often you get to experience the specialness of this event? The who, what, where, when, why, and how around the food at holidays is the narrative that we are all creating and it's what creates that Specialness, that specialness of you're all wanting. What I want to bring your attention to is while you keep that narrative and create specialness around food, you are going to feel out of control at special events.

    That date night, every Saturday evening, holiday weekends, vacations, and celebrations will be an event that you overeat at and you undo the weight that you've lost. The real truth. Is that overeating special food is creating regret, frustration, and annoyance, which means it can't be special to overeat. Let me just say that again, overeating the special food does not create more specialness.

    Overeating doesn't create more connection, more joy, more pleasure, or more relaxation. In my experience, it literally does the opposite. Overeating is eating when your body is not actually hungry or eating past your personal comfort. And it will take you out of connecting with yourself and with others.

    And it will create so much displeasure for you and your body. So instead, what I want you to know is that to feel in control, In any food scenario, at special events and holiday gatherings and social celebrations, here is what you need to remember. There is food, and it may feel special. But what would it look like for you to slow down and remember the special food is not going anywhere.

    You don't have to store it. It will be there again and again and again. At the next holiday event, the next year, you can prepare it anytime. There'll be more date nights. More weekends off, more Thanksgivings and more New Year's. Imagine enjoying those special foods in a way that felt good in the moment without creating regret later.

    Here's where you can start really simply. I want you to think about that next special event that's coming up for you. Maybe it's Thanksgiving dinner or Diwali or date night or Hanukkah or Christmas. I want you to be really detailed in answering this one question. What do you want out of your special event?

    I think most of us would say we just want to relax, have fun with friends, maybe have a good laugh, unwind, maybe connect with family that you haven't seen in a while, or explore a new city. Here's the piece you have to add into your answer. What do you also want for your body? The biggest mistake that we make that drives us to forget our body goal is we attach all of the specialness to just the food and the alcohol.

    This question is going to drive you to zoom out. Think about what it is that you really want out of this event, not just the food. And start painting a picture for yourself of what it would look like to create that. While keeping your body goal in mind also, when you know how to separate your feelings of pleasure and connection and joy and relaxation from the food of that special holiday event, you will be able to so much more confidently stop over eating foods during the holiday season and wake up on New Year's Day feeling exactly where you want to be.

    I hope that this episode planted a few seeds of possibility to think in a new way around specialness and the holidays and about food and weight loss. If you love this episode and found it helpful, share it with a friend today. I hope you all have an amazing week, my unstoppable friends. Bye. Friends, let me give you all of the details about early enrollment coming on December 1st.

    I'm going to be opening early enrollment for the January cohort of the unstoppable group on December 1st and spots are limited. The unstoppable group is my six month intimate small group coaching program for high achieving working moms who want to lose weight, feel better in their body and do it while living their real life.

    Early enrollment is going to unlock your access to the January group. Early, you're going to get immediate access to the on demand video curriculum, my step by step process, all of our coaching call replays, plus you're going to have a very special invitation to join me for my VIP masterclass that I'm hosting for just my unstoppable clients on this VIP masterclass, we are going to be building your custom roadmap on exactly how you can lose five pounds during the month of December.

    So you wake up on New Year's Day. Not only feeling lighter on the scale and better in your body, but having done. So having fun, seriously, my whole intention for working moms is to know that it's possible to relax and have the fun that you deserve to have a while hitting your dream body goals and that you can wake up in the brand new year with no regret, already feeling confident that you're going to hit your goal.

    To get access to early enrollment, make sure that you are on the waitlist for the unstoppable group. You can grab your waitlist spot over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/group. Click the button that says join the waitlist and enter your information and I will be sending you. All of the emails for exactly what the next steps are to your email inbox on December 1st, you're going to get an email from me inviting you to a sales call, which you can book between December 1st through December 7th on the sales call.

    We're going to talk about you and your goals and basically decide if unstoppable is a best fit for you. If we mutually decide that this is the group for you and that you want to join, I will send you the link to sign up. The moment that you make payment and sign up, you will claim your spot and get access to the VIP masterclass as well.

    I also want you to know that I'm only opening up enrollment next in January of 2024. So claiming your spot in December is going to feel like such a gift. You get to show yourself right now, how to lose weight while having fun. And just imagine how you'll feel waking up on New Year's Day. With your plan already in place or regret free, I cannot wait to see your name on the waitlist and I cannot wait to be your coach.

    Join me over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/group. And I will meet you in your email inbox. Bye

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