December is a time for being with friends and family and usually losing your regular routine for a while. That’s okay, even if that means your eating changes. Many people tend to both look forward to and dread the food that comes with the holidays. Here’s why you should just eat the cookies without feeling bad.
Foods we eat during holidays or family events are generally not foods we eat all the time. This is a special time with your family and friends and the food served tends to follow suit. It’s also special. The holidays can bring guilt and shame and other uncomfortable feelings for a variety of reasons, but food should not be one of them. Do these foods have more fat, sugar, and dreaded calories than your normal diet? Probably. Could you end up gaining a few pounds? That’s a possibility. If thinking about these things makes you nervous you need to ask yourself why.
A cycle to break
A few weeks of eating special foods may lead to a few extra pounds, but a few weeks of getting back to your normal routine will have your weight back to normal. This may not be the case for everyone though, especially if you have an all-or-nothing mentality around diet, have a history of dieting or restricting foods, or are planning to lose weight in the new year. All of these reasons can lead to bingeing which can start, or continue, the cycle of restriction and bingeing which leaves people in worse health than when they started.
If you are wondering if you are at risk for this kind of behaviour, consider how you feel about these special foods. Do they bring up more uncomfortable emotions than comfortable ones? Are you considering what actions you will have to take after eating this food, like skipping meals, severely increasing your movement, starting a new diet, or only eating low calorie foods after the holidays? If so, you may need to change your mentality around food, diet, and body size. This sounds like a lot of work and it is. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources to help.
Changing the status quo
Changing your mentality and doing all of that work has a lot of benefits. When it comes to the holidays, the negative feelings concerning all the special food you and your family and friends lovingly prepared will be heavily outweighed by nostalgia, joy, comfort, and pleasure. The food at these events may be culturally important, time consuming, or expensive to make but they are served because they represent something to the people present, something that often equates to love.
This holiday, just eat the cookies, the ham, the yams, the latkes, or the stollen.
Check out what I do in our previous blog for more information!
**Please note at this time we do not have a Dietitian at the clinic. We are always looking for new providers to serve our community; if you know someone or would like to join us please use the Join Our Team link.