Christmas is by far my favourite time of the year. I enjoy it so much because I love spending time with family, friends and I relish the atmosphere of happiness and harmony that you can feel everywhere. Unfortunately, for many people, it can become a stressful season where the pressure to "avoid gaining weight at all cost" becomes exacerbated. This is why I have put together my top recommendations for enjoying the holidays without the pressures of diet culture.
Food is at the top of the things I enjoy the most about Christmas. Much of what was prepared in my house when I was growing up was rarely cooked at another time of the year. Now that I live overseas, I enjoy the food even more, every time I visit Mexico. I have also learned to enjoy the food prepared in Australia and share some of the Mexican cuisine by cooking the family stuffing recipe. Apparently, I have turned it into a tradition over here too.
This is why I promise you none of my tips will result in a look of terror from your nanna when you suggest she makes a sugar-free pudding.
This pandemic has shown us how important it is to value what we have. Take the time to be with your loved ones and enjoy their company by being present in the moment. Stressing about how many calories you're eating or how much weight you think you're going to gain will only distract you from the things that matter like the company of those around you and the hands that prepared the delicious food in front of you.
Skipping meals or not eating enough during the day to "save calories" will only make you hungrier at dinner, end up eating more than you need, and enjoy less than you should.
Sometimes this is unintentional. We get so busy chatting, cooking or travelling during the day and we forget to eat. Try to listen to your body and eat if you're hungry, preferably choose foods that you know will make you feel good and that will keep you satisfied for longer.
Filling your plate with vegetables or salad isn't going to stop you from finding room for the casserole or the things you like. It is better to fill your plate with what you love the most from the start and give yourself the time to enjoy it. By the way, if vegetables or salad are on the list of things you enjoy most... go ahead! But this applies to the rest of the food too.
You don't have to try absolutely everything there is, especially if you are already full; remember, there's usually enough for leftovers.
What's done is done. Hating yourself for everything you ate and how "bad you behaved" doesn't help at all.
Staying active has countless benefits; however, "burning dinner calories" does not belong on this list. Killing yourself by exercising the next day to compensate for everything you ate is neither necessary nor healthy.
If you're going to exercise, do it because you enjoy it, don't use it as a punishment or as a way to justify everything you're going to eat afterwards.
Thinking about January as the month you're going to "behave yourself", start your diet and finally "be good" only causes you to feel guilty during December. It's impossible to enjoy something when it's done with guilt. "I'll be good in January" practically translates into "what I'm doing right now is wrong, but I will fix it later". This prevents you from following everything I just recommended and enjoying the things that matter the most during this season: family, friends, health and all the good stuff.
Thank you for reading! I wish you a merry Christmas and hope you and your loved ones enjoy good health.