Oh Christmas, I love you.
But oh Christmas, how it brings much fear into a lot of people when it comes to one thing; food.
Delicious Christmas food is just that, delicious Christmas food. But with our age of the dieting mentality, and a high amount of disordered eating, Christmas can be a time of dread as opposed to a time of wonderful joy.
So how do we move past this? How can we have peace with our food at Christmas time?
Our journey to food peace is not linear and it is not going to happen overnight. It has taken me a long, long time. This post just touches on some ideas for food peace, but is written mainly for those who need some support going into these Christmas days to help bring some peace.
With our media saturated with “how to stay healthy at Christmas time”, and “sign up for this January detox”, it can feel hard to rise above it all and have peace with food. But you absolutely can do it.
There are many ways in which you can bring some food peace this Christmas. Here are just six ideas that may help when some food anxiety arises;
- Focus on the fun and love – Christmas is not a season to be in fear and anxiety. It is a holiday that is about joy, fun and love and a coming together of the people you love. Food is only one small part of this celebration, a good one, but just one small part. Try and focus on the laughs you are having, the ridiculous games you are playing and the joyful Christmas spirit that is within everyone. Focus on the love.
- Reject the diet mentality and last supper mentality – Know that you can have whatever food, however much of it, whenever you want it. You are allowed to eat satisfying foods. And no you do not have to make up for it later by restricting meals, or a “January cleanse”. When we are in a diet or following food rules, when we “break the rules”, we tend to binge and go crazy eating everything we can in site because we genuinely believe we can never eat that food again. We think that we have to pack it in all in one day, because we “already broke the rules” and that we have to never eat “bad foods” again; enter the “January detox” or “restriction of other meals”. Instead of this miserable cycle of pain, choose to allow yourself to eat all foods. By not having any rules, diets, or restrictions, your mind and body begin to trust you and you will begin to have more food peace. They know they can have whatever they want, whenever they want. This helps you to truly just listen to what your body wants to feel satisfied without eating everything and anything in site that you might not even like, but you are eating because you are frantically trying to eat as much as you can before the next “diet” begins. Let it all go and eat what satisfies you. Your body will let you know when to stop, because it knows it can eat whenever and whatever it wants and needs for the rest of the day, next day, week, etc.
- Honour your hunger – Give yourself the ultimate permission to allow the basic biological need to eat when you are hungry! Just because you had a big Christmas dinner, does not mean that at 8pm when your stomach grumbles that you are not allowed to eat. Honour your hunger, no matter what you have eaten. Your body is really smart and it evens things out just fine without your mind meddling in it all.
- Eat mindfully and do not deprive yourself – Christmas eats brings lots of amazing and delicious foods that we share with our friends and family. Instead of mindlessly eating whatever is in front of you, choose foods that you enjoy, that satisfy you and eat them mindfully. Really enjoy them and be thankful for them. This though, does not need to become a rule. If you happen to eat something mindlessly, that is more than ok.
- Let go of guilt and be curious with honouring your body – You know what is more toxic than any food? GUILT. Guilt is extremely toxic and will do more damage to your body then any Christmas food can. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want, without any guilt. It is just one season of wonderful celebrations, and there needs to be no guilt involved in any of it. You are not a bad person if you eat some non “nutritionally textbook healthy foods”. You are still fabulously worthy whatever you eat. Secondly, get curious about honouring your body. If you felt like garbage by eating 5 slices of cake, then acknowledge that with curiosity. Perhaps when the cheese board comes out, eat until you feel satisfied because you were curious that eating 5 slices of cake made you feel sick and gave you a headache (you know your body best). None of this needs involves a single bit of guilt. Be curious and honour your bodies signals.
- Remember that your worth is not attached to the size of your body – So there could be a little weight gain over the Christmas period with all the wonderful parties or there might not be. Either way, it does not matter because your weight is not attached to your worth. You are not more worthy because you managed to stay the same size over Christmas. You are not less worthy because you are popping out of your jeans after Christmas. Trust that your body is smart and that it will return to your natural, healthy set point weight range just fine on its own, without any need to “make up for anything”. Trust in your body.
I hope these points may help anyone out there who is entering these days of Christmas with much food worry and anxiety. You absolutely can do this, you absolutely can enjoy these days and you absolutely can have food freedom.
(For those of you suffering with eating disorders, I hope and pray you find some peace within this celebration. This post is not aimed at those in the thick of eating disorders as your biological and hunger signals etc are likely to be different due to the disorder. It is important that you follow the treatment of your professional qualified/medical team. Speak with your professional treatment team, family and friends for support and be open and honest about how you are feeling so you can be given help and support during this difficult time. You may be in a dark place now, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you who haven’t sought any help or made the first steps into recovery, don’t hesitate any longer in doing so. Speak up and seek help from qualified medical professionals and let your friends and family know whats going on. You deserve recovery, you deserve life 🙂 )
So with that all said….
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope your day is filled with lots of laughter, joy, fun and yummy food.
I will pop back in next week with a new post 🙂