It’s hard to enjoy the holiday season when all you can think about is what you’ve eaten and everything you won’t be eating come January.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re constantly beating yourself up for being weak willed and vowing that this is the last one (when you know it’s so not). It’s hard to join in and celebrate when every mouthful is loaded with guilt and regret.
I used to make it so hard on myself at this time of year.
I’d be stuffing my face for weeks: mince pies at work, tins of Quality Street, cakes and biscuits, hot chocolates, spiced pumpkin lattes… By the end of December I’d be starting to panic about how much weight I’d put on and vowing to start being good in the new year to make up for it. I’d spend the days over Christmas and New year in a haze of bloated indigestion, watching myself cram in more and more food with dread and resignation. promising that on 1st January I would stop, start eating healthily, do some exercise, drink less, take really good care of myself and everything would change.
If you’re already thinking about going back on the straight and narrow in January, you’ll know just how much it messes with your head…and your Christmas.
I’d eat to shut out that sense of impending doom as the new year and the start of January got closer and closer. I’d eat because from next week I was never going to eat again. Except maybe kale.
I’d eat because I love mince pies and one more won’t hurt and I’m going to be so good next year. I won’t be eating any type of pie at all….so…
I’d eat because I was so fat and disgusting that I felt like it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. I’d try to eat healthily and lose weight again after the holidays but in the meantime…whatever.
I’d eat because it all tasted so good and I knew that I wouldn’t be treating myself like this come the new year. I’d be the picture of restrain and moderation.The more I thought about dieting, the more I ate…and the more I thought about being good.
Then I stopped trying to have the perfect healthy diet, I stopped trying to lose weight and my experience of Christmases changed completely.
Without the prospect of a restriction looming over me at every bite, I was able to make choices based on my appetite, my taste buds and my hunger rather than as a response to future deprivation and restriction.
When Diet Culture lost its grip on me, food lost its power.
I stopped having to cram in as much chocolate and as many mince pies as possible before 11.59pm of the 31st of December because if i can eat mince pies…or any pies…whenever I fancy them I can wait until I’m really hungry for one and have it.
When I stopped dieting I stopped feeling so hopeless and ashamed about my body.
And now I know how to take care of it in so many ways, not just by feeding it.
If you’ve had enough of Diet Culture messing with your holidays here are a few things you could do instead.
Experiment with something different this year.
Join us for A Truly Nourished Christmas
Start exploring your relationship with food and your body right now, way before 1st January. Start to feel the difference that eating with awareness makes.