Eat and Enjoy this Christmas

Eat what you want this Christmas. Eat without feeling guilty. Enjoy what you eat.

The traditional message from health professionals are to use portion control and everyone is shocked when a nutrition student would go for extra helpings of cake or ice-cream. And if you’re already trying to lose weight, the Christmas feast can be frightening. Boxing Day can leave you guilty and planning to exercise all those extra kilojoules off, if you can be bothered.

Can’t we just eat food and enjoy it? The answer coming from reliable health professionals is yes. Eat and enjoy.

What advice are dietitians giving?

The Dietitian’s Association of Australia are encouraging more veggies to be on your plate this Christmas. Don’t focus on what you can’t eat. Let’s face it, focusing on what you shouldn’t eat never helps you eat better. You just feel guilty afterwards.. So focus on eating more veggies!

Alex, from The Dietitian’s Pantry, recommends either eating mindfully and listening to how full/hungry you’re feeling, following some general guidelines (not rules) or going with the flow and not giving a second thought to your weight. Overall, it’s up to you and all 3 options are okay.

Another dietitian, Emma (from Broccoli & Blueberries) reminds us to eat with joy. To not even think about dieting and enjoy Christmas for all it offers us.

My opinion…

I agree with all of the above.

One day (or a few) in the year of overeating is not bad. Healthy eating is not about being perfect (thank goodness for that!). It’s the constant overeating throughout the rest of the year that contributes to our weight gain, as Tim Crowe helpfully reminded us.

The guilt of overeating on a few special days of the year needs to be removed. If the guilt remains, when 2016 rolls around another diet (usually unhelpful) will be added to the New Year’s Resolutions List.

My plan for Christmas

I won’t worry about overeating.

I am going to eat slower (and maybe less) to help prevent the classic ‘food coma’ that often comes from overeating.

I will use a few of my own guidelines because I find that helpful. Having more water than soft drink or juice, bringing along a healthy dish or waiting 10-15 minutes before getting seconds. But if I don’t follow my general guidelines, it’s not the end of the world.

Merry Christmas. Eat and Enjoy.

Are you planning on using any guidelines this Christmas? (Comment Below)

Cover Photo: Christmas Tree Fruit by Serge

Further Reading

You can’t outrun Christmas, but you can out-think it – The New Daily

A prospective study of holiday weight gain – New England Journal of Medicine

The effect of holiday weight gain on body weight – Physiology & Behavior

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