The most important thing is to have an enjoyable, relaxing Christmas. Health is so much more than your diet. It's also relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying yourself, and if that means sitting watching movies eating Christmas choccies, go for it!! I know I'll be having a day or two like this! Nobody ever got fat from one meal, one box of chocolates, or one piece of cake!
With so many goodies, temptation and meals out, how do you keep up your healthy intentions, and not totally lose it over the Christmas period? Undoing all your good work?
Unless you have to avoid a certain food for health reasons, or particular foods give you unpleasant symptoms, you should enjoy your "pleasure' foods over Christmas without feeling like you are undoing all your good work. Nobody ever got fat from one meal, one box of chocolates, or one piece of Christmas cake.
However, It does become a problem when you feel out of control, or you struggle not to overeat on the goodies, eating everything in sight, or over indulging at every meal. This will not help your mental or physical health, and you certainly won't feel great after it's all over!
If you tend to overeat or find yourself comfort eating, it's most probably because factors such as joy, or fun, or connection are missing from your life. Or maybe stress, anxiety, or low mood are driving your actions.
Start by taking steps to address these instead of giving yourself a hard time for eating the 'wrong' things.
The right dietary and lifestyle measures can help balance your emotions and regulate appetite to help with overeating. And if this a real problem for you, please do seek further help. There's also a link to another blog below for dealing with stress and anxiety over Christmas.
Here's my top tips for having a great Christmas and new year and still get to 2020 feeling fabulous!
1) Aim to still eat your 2 - 3 meals per day and don't go long periods without eating a meal with a good amount of protein such as meat, fish, nuts, seeds or legumes. With so much temptation around if you go hungry or let your blood sugar drop, your willpower will go out the window! Ensure you are still getting sufficient protein and fibre with each meal to fill you up and keep you full. This way you are in control and can chose when you want to treat yourself.
If you find this a particularly stressful time of year or suffer from anxiety, this will also help you balance your emotions helping you to stay calm and enjoy the festivities.
2) Plan some healthy treats so you’re getting the best of both worlds. If you have to avoid a particular food group or are trying to reduce the sugar for example, knowing you have something nice at home that you enjoy will help you say no! There’s lots of recipes out there for delicious treats that won’t make you to stray from your goals! Or email me and I'll send you some. :)
3) If you know there's certain occasions coming up which
are going to steer you away from the way you normally like to eat, such as a meal with family, or lots of temptation, balance it
out by being stricter with yourself on the ‘normal’ days, and then when you do go out,
or away for the weekend, enjoy it and don’t worry!
What you often find when you change your eating habits for the better, is that you much prefer to eat that way anyway because that is what keeps you feeling good! And your preferences change! But just have what you do fancy such as a decadent pud, a few chocolates, or a few glasses of wine without over doing it.
4) If you know you definitely want a desert, avoid the starchy carbohydrates with the main meal and chose a dish of protein (meat, fish) and veggies. This lowers the overall impact of your meal and you’re not missing out, as there’s loads of yummy things you can still eat! Just don't do this all the time as the pudding is not as nutritious!
However, If It comes to a meal out or a special occasion and you really go for it
and slightly lose control over the buffet or pudding, just
get straight back to normal the next day!
5) Step up your exercise/activity slightly. Make sure you maintain your exercise routine and fit something in on regular occasion thoughout the christmas period. Maintaining your exercise habits over the festivities can help you establish a good routine to move forward, as well as benefit from all the extra activity during a time of extra temptation.
Just don't overdo the exercise as this will not make you feel good!
6) Try an extended fast - As long as you don't feel unduly hungry after a fast, say until lunch time, this can help you benefit from fasting whilst also allowing yourself a treat later on to limit the impact. Just be sure you don't get ravenous and overcompensate. Your first meal should also consist of good quality protein to balance blood sugars. Fasting is not for everyone so only do this if you feel good on it!
7) Don’t worry about being fussy and saying what you do or don’t want. You can go out, go around friends, or cook a lovely meal at home, whilst
still being in line with your health goals it’s just making the right choices.
It can be hard to say no, or ask for something different, or be the one eating or drinking something different. But always eat, or drink, on your own terms! It is your health, your life, and your future. Don't let other people opinions or choices sway you away from your goals.
8) Practice stress management, deep breathing or meditation over the christmas period. Even if you don't think you are particularly stressed, practicing regular activities like deep breathing, meditation, or a relaxing hobby, is shown to help with conscious thought and decision making, helping you make positive decisions in line with your goals.
Most importantly have a great Christmas! Never ever feel guilty for overdoing it, or eating the wrong foods. You are only human! The best of us do it!!
It's just not doing it too often!!
And if you are overeating too often or have a tendency to emotional eat, and it is becoming a problem for you, or impacting your weight and health, consider getting professional help.
It's imperative you learn to balance emotions, as well as find coping strategies that don't involve food. Overeating has lots of consequences for health, so if you need too, get professional help to allow you to move forward and overcome health issues.
Help might come from talk therapy or from adopting the correct diet and lifestyle strategies. I help clients balance emotions. overcome stress, anxiety, depression and overeating through correct nutrition and lifestyle changes.
I hope this helps you have a great Christmas and reach 2021 feeling your best!
If you'd like a chat or help improving your health, or help tackling a chronic condition you can get in touch here.
Don't let another year pass you by! It's time to stop wishing and start doing! :)
P.s this is a good article to help if you struggle with feeling overly stressed or anxious over the Christmas period.