Every year at this time we’re bombarded with endless ‘How to avoid Christmas weight gain’ articles that pop up on the internet and in various magazines and newspapers. While I’m all for healthy eating, this always make me a little bit sad. It seems that instead of focusing on the opportunity to kick back and relax, spend time with our families and enjoy delicious food that we don’t normally eat, Christmas is being portrayed as a battleground of overindulgence, guilt and stress about weight gain.
In my opinion Christmas just isn’t the time for advice about packing your own healthy snacks, going for the salad instead of the roast potatoes and having fruit instead of dessert. Instead, it should be a time to loosen up a bit on our usual restraint and restriction and enjoy a little indulgence.
However, on the other hand, we can fall into the trap of overindulging just because it’s Christmas – and spending the rest of the day groaning on the couch wishing we hadn’t eaten so much.
So how can you enjoy a bit of indulgence at Christmas without going overboard?
1. Keep it in perspective
One day (or a few days) of eating and drinking too much is going to make very little difference to your health and your weight in the long run. And sometimes there are more important things to focus on than how healthy our diet is, like spending time eating and drinking with family and friends and enjoying Christmas for the overindulgent tradition that it is. These things are important to our health too.
2. But remember, Christmas is a day, not a month
While you can’t do too much damage in one day, if you continue the overindulgence for the entire festive season, you’ll start to feel (and see) the effects. So once Christmas day is over, ease yourself back into your normal eating habits.
3. Eat what you want
As in, eat what you actually want, not to be confused with ‘eat everything and anything in sight’. Save your indulgences for the foods you really love. Not a big fan of mince pies? Don’t eat them. Save that space for some plum pudding or pavlova instead. There’s no need to eat certain foods you don’t particularly like just because it’s Christmas.
4. Avoid eating just for the sake of it
Think about why you’re eating. Are you hungry or just eating because its Christmas? It’s absolutely fine to indulge a bit, but make sure you’re doing it because you genuinely want to and are really going to enjoy it.
5. Don’t decide to go on detox/restrictive diet after Christmas
Firstly, just about anyone who’s been on a diet can tell you that diets don’t work in the longterm and you’ll most likely end up worse off than when you started. Secondly, this sort of all or nothing thinking only encourages overindulgence while you have the chance, before the deprivation begins. Instead, focus on embracing moderation, allowing a few indulgences – ones that you really want and will enjoy – and then, when Christmas is over go back to a healthy diet and exercise routine and your body will sort itself out before you know it.
And most of all enjoy it! Merry Christmas