Christmas, New Year, work do’s, summer holidays, long weekends, barbecues, birthdays, the parties come thick and fast at this time of year and if we’re not mindful we can end up literally stumbling from one overstuffed dinner to the next. So, what the heck do we do then?
Please try not to worry about food – it’s just food, not a Class A drug. It’s meant to be fun, enjoyable, tasty and to nurture us – not torture and worry us. I know that can be a real challenge if you’ve spent years dieting or trying to religiously “eat healthy”, the worrying about food almost becomes part of your DNA. And if you’ve got friends or family who are die-hard dieters and they’re stressing about food this holiday season then it might rub off on you.
So please – remember those worries for what they are, part of The Diet Lie. They are false, a lie, a deception. Relax and know that you can trust your body and enjoy food.
Takeaway tip – take one day at a time, one meal at a time, one snack at a time and stick to intuitive eating principles. Food is just one part of the party season, what really matters is the time spent with people, whether you’re dining on bread and water, or pavlova and coca cola, it really doesn’t matter – what matters is the bonding and socialising with people. Food is just the ‘lubricant’ that brings us all together.
You need to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full – end of. That means giving up all those old ‘diet tricks’ like under-eating in the days leading up to Christmas, or under-eating and arriving starving at a party so you feel sure you’re in calorie deficit. Girlfriend, that’s an accident waiting to happen – you are MUCH more likely to overeat if you’re over-hungry. (Cue: image of self hoovering up the buffet on high-speed).
Takeaway tip – make sure you honour your appetite in the lead-up to Christmas day and parties. If you’re over-hungry you’re setting yourself up for that nasty restriction-cravings-overeating cycle.
Your happiness matters. That’s why one of the Four Pillars for my Zest Happy + Healthy Eating online programme is Honour Your Happiness. Now I know this may come as a complete shock to you mums who give of yourselves endlessly, day after day, school lunches, midnight wakeups to get little people back to bed, WORK, housework, MORE WORK, there’s not much left in the tank for you. And that’s why I’m here to tell you – your happiness matters! And that includes when it comes to food – I know you base your dinners around food that your kids will eat, but when it comes to party time, and you’re faced with a buffet or a menu that you can choose from PLEASSSE remember to pick something that YOU like.
When we eat things we enjoy, we get more satisfaction from the meal and we’re likely to eat less food overall. As compared to prowling around the buffet eating everything you think you “should” eat, while avoiding what you really “want” to eat. In the process ending up eating twice as much, feeling annoyed and like you’re missing out and going home to drown your sorrows in a king-size bar of chocolate.
Takeaway tip – forget the disapproving looks from Aunt Edna, survey the buffet, work out what you really want to eat and put that on your plate first. If that’s pavlova then do it. You don’t need to eat salad to make Aunt Edna happy.
If you can do those three things: relax around food, listen to your appetite, and choose the foods you really want to eat – you stand a really good chance of not only ‘surviving’ the Christmas holiday season, but actually having a Happy + Healthy holiday season – boom! Winning!
For me, I try to remember the true meaning of Christmas, the one you discover when you go like this: Christ-mas. It’s the day of the birth of our saviour, and I’m going to give thanks to Him while I eat my pavlova, one delicious mouthful at a time.
P.S. Check out my ‘Nutritionist Car-aoke’ about food-fun and parties…