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  • Julia Liber

Four tips to enjoy the holiday season, guilt free

By Julia Liber, Registered Dietitian

The holiday season is quickly approaching! 🎄 Everything excites you about the holiday season: sales, presents 🎁, family time, time off work, and so much more! Yet maybe there is one thing that worries you: the food. You’re dreading the internal dilemma of either indulging in the Christmas log cake, or watching everybody else eat, and feeling left out. You’re worried about being pressured by family members to take seconds. You’re dreading one of the two feelings that usually arrive after the meal, either guilt regarding your food choices, or feeling like you have deprived yourself of food you wanted to eat.


This article is going to provide you with four key tips to enjoying your holiday season without the uncomfortable feelings of overeating and the accompanying feelings of guilt with which you’re too familiar 😋.


TIP #1: DO NOT CHANGE THE WAY YOU EAT BEFORE THE HOLIDAY MEALS

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Typically, people anticipate eating more than usual during their holiday meals. Therefore, in order to avoid eating too much over the holiday season, they cut back on what they eat beforehand. By the time you get to Christmas dinner, you’re so hungry that you feel the urgency to eat. You’re going to eat a lot more than you normally eat in order to satisfy your hunger, which is greater than usual since you have been depriving yourself of food. Once you start eating, before you know it, you’ll be feeling uncomfortable sensations of fullness which almost always accompanies overeating😟 .


Instead, don’t change your eating patterns before Christmas. Enter Christmas the same way as you enter any other meal! That way, you won’t feel the need to overeat, and you’ll wind up eating the amount of food your body needs, allowing you to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of fullness 👌.


TIP #2: DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED BY THE AMOUNT OF FOOD ON THE TABLE


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At holiday meals, there is a wider variety of foods present compared to regular non-holiday dinners, such as: delicious appetizers, numerous main dishes, multiple side dishes and not to mention an array of desserts. Everything seems delicious and you want to try it all! How do you enjoy the meal while avoiding the uncomfortable sensations of being too full? What you need to do is stop feeling overwhelmed about the amount of food that you see! You may want to try many of the delicious foods at your meal, and it’s ok to try a variety of foods. If you’re trying multiple dishes, take small servings of everything, and before taking second helpings, ask yourself if you’re really still hungry.


TIP #3: EAT WHATEVER YOUR BODY DESIRES

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Now that you’ve told yourself that you will not restrict yourself prior to the holiday season, and that the amount of food on the table will not overwhelm you, at this point, ask yourself: what is your body in the mood for?


Your body needs a combination of grains 🍞, fruits 🍉, vegetables 🥕 and protein 🥚 for optimal functioning. Eating in this manner not only provides our body with nourishment, but it also supports healthy digestion. Sometimes, whether on regular occasions or during special occasions, we would like to enjoy foods which are not typically part of a balanced diet such as sweets🍫 and processed foods🍟 . When we don’t give ourselves permission to eat these foods, this can leave us feeling deprived, which can compromise our relationship with food. When we completely deviate from the principles of balanced nutrition and eat meals which are considered fast food or sugar-based, we sometimes experience fatigue or a “food coma".


When having a meal, we don’t need to choose between either a balanced or “junk food” based meal. A meal can incorporate both since both have their own benefits. So, rather than limiting yourself to only eating healthy foods, or forgetting altogether about healthy foods, instead, listen to your body to see what it is in the mood for, and what will satisfy it regarding taste, energy and digestion. This holiday season, don’t decide whether to choose between cake or fruit, rather see both as options depending on what your body desires at any given time!


TIP #4: EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY 🧘



When eating, there is no rush. Eat slowly, enjoy each bite. Enjoy the company at your dinner table. Pay attention to your body’s fullness signals. Before taking seconds, stop and ask yourself if you’re still hungry, or are you simply craving a certain taste in your mouth. Wait several seconds if you feel that you are still hungry. If you are full and there is still food on your plate, there is no need to finish it.

TIP #4: EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY 🧘

When eating, there is no rush. Eat slowly, enjoy each bite. Enjoy the company at your dinner table. Pay attention to your body’s fullness signals. Before taking seconds, stop and ask yourself if you’re still hungry, or are you simply craving a certain taste in your mouth. Wait several seconds if you feel that you are still hungry. If you are full and there is still food on your plate, there is no need to finish it.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this article! Remember, following the principles of balanced nutrition often serves us well. his article! Remember, following the principles of balanced nutrition often serves us well. Yet, this does not mean that we need to have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to nutrition. It is possible to eat in a balanced way without giving up the foods we love!


Enjoy this holiday season!


If you feel like you need further guidance before the holiday season, book a call with me here.


The information presented in this article is intended for informational purposes only. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, or give specific medical advice. The information in this article is not intended as medical advice, medical nutrition therapy, or individualized nutrition. No content on this should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical or nutritional advice from your doctor or Registered Dietitian.

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