Must have tips and tricks to enjoy the festive season without the food guilt
Lite n’ Easy dietitian Sarah Cinar and Injury Prevention and Movement Specialist, Suzanne Pearson have the tips and tricks you need to help ditch the food guilt this Christmas.
Christmas in Australia is a very special time of year. The weather is balmy, the lights are sparkling and spirits are high. And for many people, this time of year is spent with loved ones, relaxing and eating delicious food.
But, being on a health journey doesn’t mean you need to avoid particular foods while others happily indulge, or that you should feel guilty about your food choices over this period.
Letting go of food guilt is one of the best moves you can make to regain control of your food choices during the festive season. This may seem easier said than done, so here are some tips you can practice to enjoy the festive season:
Give yourself permission to enjoy the foods you love.
The holiday period typically lasts for about a week. The healthy habits that we build throughout the remaining 51 weeks of the year will definitely have more of an impact on our health than how we spend a few days over the festive season. So, if you choose to have a slice or two of your special Christmas dessert, enjoy it in the knowledge that you have not ‘undone’ any of your good work and have plenty of time to get back into your healthy routine.
Avoid the all-or-nothing mindset and detach moral value from food.
Food is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, it is just food. Letting go of this black or white mentality will remove the thoughts that you are either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and allow you to appreciate the festivities. It is important to do what feels right for your body and mind to help you enjoy the moment.
Incorporating healthy habits like listening to your hunger cues, adding vegetables to your meal, staying hydrated between drinks, indulging mindfully and moving your body can help create a sense of balance. Additionally, eating regular meals is important, as skipping meals can leave you feeling extra hungry, which in turn can lead to over eating.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating involves being in touch with your sensors while eating. Bring your full attention to the different tastes, flavours and textures of each bite. See if you can identify all of the ingredients, including any spices and seasonings in the dishes you are eating. To fully enjoy the eating experience, take small bites and chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
Finish chewing completely before preparing your next bite and place your utensils down between mouthfuls to avoid biting off more than you can chew.
Finally, it takes time for satiety signals to be communicated within the body. Focusing your attention on eating without distraction helps hone in on internal hunger and satiety signals. This will enhance the enjoyment of eating while helping to avoid eating past the point where you are full.
What if I overindulge?
If you have overindulged, or are feeling overwhelmed by all the festivities, try this short practice designed to arouse the parasympathetic nervous system bringing you into a state of rest and digest.
Eating well for your health is so much more than one meal. Or one day’s meals. Or even one week’s meals. The wonderful thing about energy and weight balance is that as soon as you go back to eating your regular foods and doing activity, things will start to rebalance again. So enjoy your Christmas Day!
How Lite n’ Easy can help!