Difficult days begin for many people. For one thing, there’s always someone missing from the table on Christmas Day, and that hurts. These are days of nostalgia, of missing, of reviewing and remembering what we lack. On the other hand, they are also very dreaded days for those people who fear getting fat during these holidays or for those people for whom calories play an important role in their life. Those who are already thinking about January, the gym, and the new diet. But before reaching January, you have to go through family meals. And these people can become afraid, leading them to act in a certain way the days before and after the Christmas meals.
The restriction in the previous days
This post may be a little late, but if you’ve been on a diet so you can put your boots on for the holidays … mistake. And it is that the consequences of being on a diet before Christmas only leads us to the restriction so that we can binge that is actually due to the feeling of deprivation that we have given ourselves. When you have been depriving yourself of the previous days, it is normal that you feel more attracted to Christmas meals as a method to compensate for the deprivations of the previous days. Everything we forbid, our body and mind want with more anxiety.
What good is restricting yourself in order to binge? If you want to eat, eat, but don’t restrict the days before.
Mindset on the January diet
Another factor that makes us more attracted to food these days is the anticipation that possibly in January I will start a diet. As I am going to have a future deprivation, I take advantage now (this is not said out loud, of course, but it is the message that your body interprets of your deprivations). For this reason, you eat under the message of: «Total, in January I start a diet». And this is what we usually do on Fridays too, saying that on Monday we start a diet; Or we say it to ourselves on summer vacations, saying that when I go back to school I will be dieting again. In all these cases, we are anticipating the restriction, eating large amounts of food of everything that later you will not allow yourself to eat.
And it is that while I write I think: What a great deception! Let’s all wake up! The culture of diet has done us so much harm that we can no longer enjoy the best moments of our lives. Because eating is also a celebration and great satisfaction and sometimes, it is a moment that we remember all our lives.
Food to celebrate
The great celebrations are accompanied by food, you may have already noticed that. Weddings, birthdays, friends’ gatherings … The link between food and celebration has a great cultural component. It is nice to celebrate, toast, taste, feel satisfied with what we have cooked, or what they have prepared for us. It is such a beautiful act! But we end up spoiling it with this type of action, restrictions, thoughts, prohibitions that do not allow us to enjoy. Therefore, if I still have time for these days, I would like us to take a different approach. An approach whose ultimate goal is to enjoy yourself, your company, conversations, and presence, regardless of the amount of food you eat and regardless of your future diet or non-diet plans.
My proposal for these Christmas meals
I must say that these proposals are applicable throughout the year, but now may be a good time to change perspective as we are presented with several opportunities to celebrate and enjoy. We believe that these meals are the most difficult to make changes, but hopefully, you can put the following proposals into practice and show yourself that you have been able to do it.
- Do not stop having a snack or eating the mid-morning snack, with this you will only get to the meal with more hunger and anxiety after the restriction. Snack if your body needs it or has that snack in the middle of the morning if you feel like it.
- Before eating, try to observe the beauty of the dishes, the table, the well-laid food. Breathe all that you are seeing and be thankful. It is a very good time to become aware of how you feel, your emotions, your thoughts. It is time to create an intention for that meal: how do I want to experience this meal today? Perhaps your answer is: in peace, without guilt, enjoying … Setting the intention, you start the course towards him.
- Practice Mindful Eating. I know it is difficult when we are around people, but you can share some of these practices with your family. For example, you can observe the dish with curiosity and then smell the dish to notice the different aromas … And I understand that from here the conversations begin and it is more difficult to be present, but try that each dish has a moment of presence.
- If you don’t want to repeat, don’t repeat. That is, on these dates, and especially when we are invited, they usually put more servings on the plate, and we repeat and repeat … And many times we do it just so as not to disappoint the person who offers it to us. If your wish is to say NO if your wish is not to eat more, tell him that assertiveness. You can say, “No thanks, I’m full.” “No thanks, my body doesn’t accept any more food despite being very rich.” Or whatever you can think of. Honor your body first.
- Let go of feelings of guilt and shame. On these dates, and on many others when we celebrate, we tend to overeat. And nothing happens! It is normally the irregularity and not the norm. So let’s not make these 5 or 6 family meals (because there aren’t really many more) a space of guilt or punishment towards ourselves. Enjoy it, your body, your mind, and your emotions deserve it. Honor yourself.