With Christmas just around the corner, our attention can often become focused on all the festivities: gifts, toasts, and food, lots of food. This can also be combined with stress - stress of winding up at work, getting all the last minute shopping done, and preparing for Christmas Day. What we then get is the perfect storm for habits to be broken, mindfulness to be dropped, stress levels to increase and for many this can be a real trigger for those who struggle in their relationship with food.
It is important to remember that Christmas should be a cause for celebration, a tradition that reminds us of the importance of family and friends. This can't be overlooked and is important for our overall wellbeing. However, this doesn't mean that you need to have a complete blowout, give up on your practice and think screw it, I am just going to eat all the Christmas cake, who cares.
So what to do to not only survive this time of the year but actually also enjoy it? Here are some tips to help guide you through Christmas in a way that is nourishing and enjoyable.
1. Stay hydrated. When life gets busy at this time of year, it can be easy to forget to drink enough water. However, drinking water helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body, responsible for many different vital functions. From digestion to transportation and absorption of nutrients, drinking water can also aid in fullness and energy levels. Make sure you sip on water throughout the day, especially in the warmer clients, this is a priority.
2. Don’t go to a party hungry. Never ever. I recommend eating a small, nutritious snack prior to attending an event that can help ease hunger. Think protein and fiber in your snacks that will help to keep you fuller for longer, while obviously allowing for a small, reasonable indulgence later.
3. Get adequate sleep. While late nights make it hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule, sleep deprivation can lead to overeating and poor food choices. Sleep duration has a significant impact on the hormones which regulate hunger, thereby stimulating appetite. So make sure you prioritise getting some early nights in on the days you aren't socialising.
4. Watch your alcohol - Drink smarter. Since cutting out alcohol is not realistic for many during the holiday season, limiting intake is important as when we drink too much alcohol it can be much harder to manage nutrition, not to mention the toll it takes on your body. Alternating each drink with a glass of water helps manage alcohol intake. Try swapping alcohol for Kombucha - still tastes great and so good for your gut!!
5. Don’t eat mindlessly. Many times meals are eaten while multi-tasking, which can lead to mindless over-eating. Taking a dedicated 20 minutes to fully chew, swallow, and enjoy a meal can be a meaningful, restorative break in the day, allowing you to notice your fullness cues and not over eat. Be present when you eat, eat mindfully - ask yourself what would feel good for you, what would satisfy you. And eat it slowly and pleasurably.
6. Indulge a little. Deprivation of favourite holiday-only treats often leads to binging, especially when stress levels are elevated. Treat yourself a bit during the festive season, allow yourself some of the holiday treats, don't fully deny yourself. Plan them in and enjoy them.
7. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of the “main meal”. Skipping breakfast, and even lunch to “make room” for Christmas dinner, is a really bad strategy. Having your main meals in the day means you won't arrive starving and you are more likely to make good nutrition choices.
8. Don't stop your workout routine. During the busy festive season it is easy to run out of time to exercise. But remember that physical activity boosts your metabolism and makes you feel good. So continue to make movement a priority over the holiday break. Pick any movement you love and do it regularly.
9. Create connection. Christmas is about connection. But often if we are pre-occupied with food it is difficult to be engaged with others and often we can miss out on being present in that moment. Focus on the people around you. Whichever social occasion you are at, find someone you can have a meaningful conversation with. You will notice how good it feels to fully connect with people around you and as you fill up with connection, the urge to fill up with food will decrease. 10. Learn to say NO. We become inundated with events at this time of year but the reality is you don’t need to attend all of them, be it work parties, social drinks, or BBQs. Prioritise the most important functions and enjoy those to their fullest. Instead of going to 5 functions and being tired, stressed and unhappy, why not go to two or three and be happy, relaxed and connected.
11. Keep a good Morning routine - Our morning routine determines the rest of the day. Skipping breakfast, stress, fighting children can be a trigger for overeating during the day. Try starting your day by getting up 10 minutes earlier. Add in 5 minutes of meditation. Slow your morning down, don't rush it, have your breakfast, breathe, become mindful.
12. Ramp up self care - Prioritise you. Take time out to do things that make you feel good and are just for you. The more you can fill yourself up with things that you love and make you feel good, the less you need to fill yourself up with food.
13. Limit your time with stressful people that trigger you. At the end of the day it is your choice who you spend your time with. Notice who are those people that make you feel good and those that drain you. Pick who you want to spend more time with.
If you would like to talk further about healing your relationship with food, overcoming food addiction, emotional or binge eating or anything else related to mind body nutrition, click on the contact button to book a free 15 min consult, or go directly to my calendar to book.