Christmas. Does it evoke emotions of anxiety? Running yourself ragged from all the social commitments, the obligatory extended family get-together, the endless amounts of food and alcohol.
It should be a happy time of year to celebrate with family and friends.
Even though it is usually busy socially, it is a great time to slow down and reflect personally and professionally on the year that was and the coming year.
When it comes to eating well during the Christmas rush/festive season use the following 3 tips to help keep nutrition in perspective:
1. Look at the bigger picture (of nutrition)
I can’t say this enough. Christmas is once a year. If you find you’re losing your intuitive eating rhythm, it really isn’t the end of the world.
Reflect on how far you’ve come. Comparing your previous nutrition behaviours with your new healthier habits is a great motivator to let go of any guilt around food and eating that has been subconsciously programmed from the dieting culture.
A great analogy which complements this thinking is described by below:
You are driving your car from Cairns to Sydney and you get a flat tyre in Brisbane. You don’t throw your hands up…Well, you might, but you don’t drive back to Cairns to then start your journey south again. Be thankful your tyres got you this far.
This is similar to your nutrition progress. Just refocus, use the “off-track” period as a valuable learning experience and continue on with your positive behaviours until the next challenging situation arises and hopefully you are better equipped to deal with your new nutrition skills.
2. Eat intuitively
You can still enjoy all food, just like you have all year. Just remember “nutrition intuition” is the key.
There usually is no shortage of food on the table. Don’t feel like you need to rush and eat large quantities, as the food will always be there and for leftovers too!
Try asking yourself, “Do I really feel like it now? and “What do I feel like now?” These questions should help you stay focused on what your body needs without eating mindlessly during the festive season. Remember overeating occasional is part of ‘normal eating’.
3. Let it go
Don’t accept people’s judgement of your behaviour…ever! Particularly this time of year. Emotions are usually running high and most people mean well but if they make a comment which does not sit right with you ignoring it or moving on is the easiest way as people like this have their own issues themselves relating to the comment they’ve made about you, and besides they are usually not ready to change their behaviour or mindset so don’t waste your time and energy trying to convince them otherwise. It’s just easier and more enjoyable to get on with the celebrations.
I remember vividly a distant relative made a comment soon after I graduated about how I was eating ice-cream and those yummy chocolate freckles. They said something like “Oh you shouldn’t be eating that you are a dietitian”. At the time I was so shocked at the comment I didn’t know how to respond. It made me realise that most people have no idea what a dietitian is and does. We have a reputation of being the ‘food police’! Yes, dietitians eat ice-cream and chocolate and they help their clients eat these foods just like any other food, but in moderation, just for the taste and pleasure of it. And what’s totally shocking is you can be healthy doing this!
Merry Christmas! I wish you and your family happiness and a healthy relationship with food and your body during this festive season and into the New Year.
What nutrition tips do you find useful at this time of year? Feel free to leave your tips in the comments sections.