As we start to enter the festive season there is certainly going to be a lot of conversation about keeping the ‘holiday weight off’ and eating well. No doubt the media will make comments about how much weight we are ‘all’ expected to gain, but let’s look past these generalisations, as the data is limited to support such statements. A lot of blogs and health messages will also focus on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ and ‘avoid or do more of’ but here’s what I’ll be discussing with my clients across the month of December and you should be thinking about too.
The mindful and balanced approached.
The truth is most of us will likely eat and drink more than we usually do. Firstly, it’s important to truly enjoy your holiday period, and if that means a few social gatherings and eating extravaganzas with family and friends then why not! Dieting never lasts and only causes more stress and confusion about food and our health. Look at this in the lens that a few extra days of more food and drink, coupled with mindful eating on other days during the holiday period will balance out. Listening to your bodies hunger and fullness (internal cues), and practicing stopping eating and drinking because you are not hungry and becoming overfull can make a difference. Remember no one meal or drink changes your health, it’s the long term balance that effects it, so don’t stress about that extra Christmas cake!
Having a clear but flexible set of goals and strategies, to be sensible with your food and drink, while staying in routine is also a good idea. Alcohol and highly processed and sugary food are a part of a normal and healthy balanced diet. Without depriving yourself and enjoying the food and drinks you want, without feeling guilting, will limit the likelihood of blowing out then dieting again in a constant cycle. This can be challenging, but your attitudes and beliefs (mindset) will most likely dictate your eating behaviours and dietary patterns.
The next step is to think about your previous holiday and end of year ‘silly season’, and now that you have a new lens, what changes are you going to make to eat and drink well, enjoy the festivities and maintain your health?
To help develop these habits, it is important to take an individualise approach working with an experienced practitioner in this field. Book on in to see your friendly dietitian before the Christmas break, and make the most of your end of year.
Written by Accredited Clinical and Sports Dietitian Andrew Ho-Peng