How to enjoy your festive food without guilt or regret
So here it is again, somehow we’re days away from another Christmas! I just thought I’d share a few tips and ideas for managing and enjoying your food over the festive season – something that can be challenging to balance when you have been or want to work towards goals with your nutrition and body composition.
If you’d like to strike a balance that falls comfortably in the middle of restricting and over-indulging to a point of discomfort and regret, then the principles of mindfulness can be really helpful.
What does that look like in practice? Here are a few top tips:
1) Choose what you will enjoy. Pick and choose – love the sausage rolls but not fussed about Christmas pudding? You don’t have to eat everything that’s there, even if you feel it’s expected by others, be confident to choose what you know you will enjoy the most then…
2) ..Really savour it, taste it, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty. Take your time and stop when you’re feeling full. There will always be another opportunity to eat it, maybe leftovers or maybe another occasion, remember you don’t have to overeat (or drink) if you don’t want to.
3) Which is connected to point 2, don’t overshop and don’t overcater. It’s easy to do, but financially and environmentally, it doesn’t make any sense. Too much food can just be overwhelming and stressful.
4) If you tend to feel uncomfortable after a day of Christmas food and don’t want to, start the day with your normal breakfast and try to get out for a walk at some point during the day. Stay hydrated too, drinking water in between alcoholic drinks can help.
5) If it’s left after Christmas, only eat it if you want it. As in point 1, just because it’s there after the day doesn’t mean you have to eat it if you don’t want to. No-one wants food waste and we are now increasingly aware how wrong it is, but will others eat it – can you freeze it/ give it away to guests or family or if it’s unopened, the foodbank? This applies to gifts too – the chocolates, the foodie gifts – do you want them and will you enjoy them? Then keep them and enjoy them mindfully (you could put them out of sight for later in the year). But if you really want to focus on getting back to eating normally then don’t eat it just because it’s there.
Finally, I strongly advise staying away from the scales over the Christmas period itself. Don’t let your food choices or mood be governed by a number on the scale, it sounds obvious but many people have a really tricky relationship with their scale weight. I don’t recommend people weigh too often anyway because weight can fluctuate for so many reasons and it’s perfectly possible to weigh several pounds heavier after Christmas Day due to eating and drinking more and water retention for example. It’s not possible to gain several pounds of fat in one day so any jump in the scales won't all be fat gain.
So in summary, Christmas isn’t a time for restriction, but you absolutely don’t have to overeat/ drink if you don’t want to and with some mindful principles you can pick and choose the treats you’ll enjoy the most without any significant change to body fat.
If you’d like to have a fresh focus on your nutrition in January and beyond, or have any questions I can help with, contact me through my website or message me on 07879 825 074.
Best wishes for Christmas and New Year and thanks for your support in 2021!