Ho ho ho! It’s time for turkey, cranberries, advent calendars, and an unforgivable amount of other indulgences. Yep, it’s Christmas - the most wonderful (and indulgent!) time of the year. And in case you hadn’t already guessed, we’re talking about all things indulgence, how to stay on top of nutrition if that’s your plan, how to find a good balance, and some things you might want to hear to keep your mind at ease whilst you crunch away on choccies and Twiglets. Let’s get into it!
This time of year can definitely incite a level of guilt when it comes to food. There’s a lot of chatter about how much we’re going to eat, alcohol consumption and treating ourselves to all the sweet and savoury goods. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about what we’re eating, whether we’re indulging too much, or if we should be eating healthier foods, but like most things when it comes to our wellbeing, it’s all about finding a balance that works for us as individuals.
How to find a healthy balance
Figure out what you want
Maybe you want to maintain good nutrition over the festive season (more on this below), or perhaps you want to indulge without that harsh inner critic giving you a hard time. Try to dedicate a bit of time - not too much, try to avoid stressing too heavily about this - to deciding how things will look for you.
If you take anything away from this blog, let it be this. Christmas is an intense time that requires kindness in all forms, but especially when it comes to our relationship with ourselves. When it comes to what we eat, there can be a lot of judgement and challenging feelings that come up. So, practising being compassionate towards ourselves as soon and as much as possible, can help us to cope better with that judgement when it arises.
Maybe have a think before the celebrations commence about what might trigger you when it comes to eating at Christmas. Having a clear(er) understanding of what these look, sound or feel like can help us plan how we might respond and where we can hold boundaries. Even just being able to identify our triggers can help us create a bit of space around them before we react or respond.
If you’ve decided to avoid the booze this year, gently let the people around you know that that’s the case, and try your best to stick to it. Or if you know that Aunt Suzie often mentions your eating habits, have a compassionate conversation about it, or limit your time around this person if that feels right for you. Setting boundaries allows us to protect our wellbeing, especially when there’s a lot going on amongst all of the festivities.
Keeping up eating well over Christmas
If you’re all for indulgence over the festive period, we’re here for it. But we know that our eating habits can help us protect our wellbeing and ability to cope with challenges - which many face at this time. So we might like to maintain some healthy habits to feel well and ensure it’s not so hard when we try to get back to it once the celebrations are over. So here are our top tips:
Amongst the booze, mocktails and sugary, fizzy drinks, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water too. Staying hydrated especially when we’re consuming alcohol is important for minimising its effects, and no one wants a hangover to ruin the Christmas dinner.
Add another portion of fruit or veg to each meal
Or maybe just choose one meal each day to add to. For example, you could cook some maple-roasted carrots to add to your lunch (highly recommend!), or slice up some oranges to add to your breakfast. Even make your own pumpkin spiced latte from home instead of ordering Starbucks…again.
Plan your meals
Knowing what we’re eating throughout the day, and even the week if you’re super organised, can help us to figure out where we can get a bit more nutrition into our diet. Be kind to yourself though, it’s all about that balance!
We all know that with Christmas comes the super snacking! It’s much easier to finish the tube of Pringles or that box of Quality Streets without even realising we’ve started! Try to bring some mindfulness into your meal times to be really aware of what your body needs. This will also help us notice when we are feeling full, and stop us from pushing past that point into discomfort. More on this here.
Although this one isn’t necessarily about what we’re eating, making sure we keep our bodies moving can improve our digestion and mental wellness. If you start to hear that harsh inner critic creeping into your mind, maybe get out and stretch your legs between Christmas movies. Why not grab the fam’ for a quick Christmas boogie before dinner - Just Dance anyone?
3 reminders for indulging over Christmas
It’s okay to indulge.
Christmas is a time of indulgence! Whether that’s in turkey and Christmas pudding, presents or love and laughter (cheesy… but true), if we can’t indulge a little at Christmas, when can we? Finding that balance allows us to enjoy ourselves without going overboard - or underboard for that matter.
You don’t always eat this way.
Christmas is definitely a one-off (month-off), there are not many other times of the year in which we have the eating habits we do around Christmas time. So try to remind yourself if you start to feel bad that this is not something you do regularly, and it’s okay to do this once in a while - if it makes you feel good, of course. Remember, it’s all about finding our own balance.
Listen to yourself.
If your body or mind is screaming ‘enough is enough!’, take that as a sign to have a break from whatever you’re doing, whether that’s eating, socialising or anything else for that matter. You know yourself best, and tuning in to listen to ourselves can help us stay within our boundaries and protect our wellbeing.
Kindness is the key: Whatever your Christmas brings, and whatever you indulge in throughout the festive season, always offer kindness to yourself first. Being compassionate and mindful are great ways to practise this and get into the habit of being gentle with ourselves. Prioritising our wellness can enable us to spread the joy that makes Christmas the wonderful time of year that it is!
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