For those of us who have been serial dieters, binge eaters and/or restricters, Christmas time can be a source of huge anxiety when it comes to food, eating, and weight..
Endless circulating boxes of chocolate in the office, fruit cakes, work parties, bubbles and buffets have some of us seriously stressed about gaining weight!
At best this causes some mild anxiety. At worst we might decide to stay home rather than going out to enjoy the company of friends for fear of not being able to control ourselves around the chippies and dip. Either way it’s zapping the jolly right out of the jolly season.
Here’s how to create balance and enjoy the spirit of Christmas this year while still staying well physically and emotionally.
I have an all or nothing personality so balance can be extremely difficult for me. However I have found some strategies that work.
Accept that you’ll probably overeat on Christmas Day
It would be a bit weird if you didn’t, so let’s get that out of the way and cut yourself some slack okay.
In saying that it may not be necessary to eat till you’re at that side splitting, seriously uncomfortable, need to go lie down for the rest of the day, level of fullness that is so common on December the 25th.
Listen to your body
Have you noticed that the first few mouthfuls of pudding tastes amazing! You’re tricked into thinking that the more you eat the more amazing you’ll feel, but this isn’t true.
The pleasure centre in your brain only gets lit up to a certain point then stabilises. Therefore more pudding does not equal more pleasure.
Slow down and REALLY enjoy your food. Notice when you might have had enough. If you’re no longer loving every mouthful you could choose to stop.
Give up an All Or Nothing mentality in December
So there’s Christmas Day, a handful of parties and maybe a few nights of drinking bubbles. I used to be the kind of person who if I had a party on Friday, I couldn’t possibly eat well Monday through Thursday. The Friday party would be an excuse to have a food free-for-all the entire week. The typical “start my diet on Monday” mentality.
instead, plan to keep eating nutritious meals most of the time, because it’s what you do most of the time that matters. You’re not going to put on weight from eating more than usual on a handful of occasions in the month, nor from enjoying a couple of those Roses chocolates, but you probably will if you have a food free-for-all the entire month of December.
Exercise and movement is super powerful for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. You know this already. So keep up your daily walks, gym, yoga or whatever you enjoy. If you’re not exercising most days, START. It is that important. This Christmas give yourself the gift of 30 minutes a day from now on. You’ll find your mood will improve too and everyone will thank you for it.
Do one thing every day you can be proud of
On those days when I’ve just eaten “all the things”, and not been for a walk, and basically been a hot mess, I’ll still try to drink a few glasses of water. That way I can give myself a big proverbial tick for accomplishing at least one of my daily health goals. There’s something comforting about knowing I’ve done one thing well that day.
Relax and have Fun!
Many researchers are now concluding that chronic stress may actually be worse for your wellbeing than anything you eat Christmas is known for being a stressful time of year so take some time out to reduce stress in your life.
Spend time in nature. Walk barefoot on the sand or grass. Put your phone away and just BE for a while. Delegate out tasks that others can do. Socialise and laugh with your besties.
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi –
I love this quote by the great Sufi poet Rumi. Balance in this regard can be about holding ourselves to high standards in order to maintain a certain level of good health and wellbeing, AND knowing that it’s also ok to let go sometimes, and not be too rigid or tough on ourselves.
If you struggle with food anxiety, poor body or self image I’d love to work with you in one of my transformational coaching programmes in 2018.
Until then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of love, laughter, family, friends, food and all the good things in life.
With love and light x