You have been guilted into having a green smoothie for breakfast, a bowl of salad for lunch and perhaps even missing dinner to optimise the benefits of intermittent fasting and avoid the Christmas kilos, right?
Don’t eat that cake it is loaded with calories.
Don’t drink that vintage wine, you can’t afford the calories.
Don’t have that shortbread cookie that you left on Santa’s plate, you’ll end up with a belly like the Big Man himself.
I just want you to know that I’m not here to tell you what to do, think, or feel OR to make you feel guilty, ashamed, anxious, or deprived.
What I am going to do is give you PERMISSION to eat what you want during Christmas and focus on what is really important instead – being present and really enjoying the moment – and eating pavlova if it makes you feel good (just not the whole cake).
One day is not going to undo what you have been doing at to this point, or perhaps what you plan to do next year. So you may as well let the stress and self-judgement go and recognise what the holidays are designed to do for our wellbeing……….
Relaxation, rejuvenation and recharging the batteries.
Learning to choose more consciously, with awareness and intention, will have you thriving (not just surviving) during the holiday period and enjoying the foods you love…….
Because holiday foods taste great when made with love and shared with friends and family.
Feeling good at any time throughout your life (not just during the holidays) comes down to:
So step 1. Mindset
Set realistic expectations for yourself. Realise that this is the holiday season and there is usually a lot of socialising going on which can bring changes to our usual routines.
The choices we make puts us in the “driver’s seat” and allows us to control what we can. Removing self judgement and acknowledging that it is what we do the majority of the time influences the results we see in our lives.
Stay in the present moment and enjoy the experience of spending time with others, listening and engaging. It’s stressful when your gaze is constantly fixed on yourself, your body, and your food decisions. Spend time looking outward. Consider how you might be able to share good health and well-being with others during this important time of the year.
Step 2. Movement
Diarising your exercise routine around your social gatherings and events is a good way to include movement into your day. Setting your alarm an hour earlier than usual to go for a walk or squeeze in a workout will get your heart pumping and burn through some calories.
Inviting other family members to go for a walk after your meal, or something a little more active like cricket, football or soccer, will also allow you to spend quality time with people important to you and will help to improve digestion. Win-win!
Knowing that you may be more likely to be eating more food at this time of year, may provide the motivation you need to be a little more active. It may just require some planning.
Step 3. Nutrition
Enjoy the food or drink that you would normally label “off limits” if you so desire but do so MINDFULLY, consciously, joyfully and SLOWLY.
Savour it. Stay present and CHOOSE with intention and purpose.
Explore the layers of flavour and try to describe it in your mind, looking for moments of true joy rather than getting distracted by guilt, anxiety, or regret.
With this kind of approach, you will tap into what your body is telling you and it will help you to respond accordingly. Maybe it won’t happen for you right away if you haven’t been practicing mindful eating but slowly things down and paying attention will teach you how and will give your body time to feel full that you don’t feel like eating any more anyway.
Take control by volunteering to bring along a healthy dish to share. This is a great way to share healthy and tasty options with others also. There are so many tasty options that won’t have you feeling deprived.
Food is a story that shapes your daily life, your health, and your function.
When food is information in this way, there is no “good” food or “bad” food.
There are only choices and every time you choose to eat one thing over another you are “voting” for what is really important to you right now. Accepting this helps you remove the guilt and self-judgement. Enjoy the present moment and consider what is important to you:
- feeling good?
- connecting with loved ones?
- truly nourishing your body?
- Keeping things in balance?
- feeding your soul?
- remembering your heritage or family traditions?
- taking the edge off a tough round of holiday shopping?
- surviving a family get-together?
No judgement here. You get to decide your priorities.
In the end, what you celebrate, however you celebrate……enjoy all that there is on offer.
Have a great Christmas and New Years