A Dietitian's Guide to a Merry Christmas

The holiday season is officially upon us and I could not be anymore excited to do all of the fun festive activities, like watching all my favourite Christmas movies and the FOOD. We can't forget about the food.

Christmas is truly my favourite holiday season. I am that kind of person that starts playing the Christmas music right after Halloween, sometimes even before. No judgment here. Cue music.

Alright, so when it comes to Christmas, similar to any other holiday in the year, the most common question I hear my clients ask are: "what do I eat?" or "can I eat this?"

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or another tradition this time of the year, let's dive into some tips on how we can eat well and feel confident in our food choices this holiday season.

start with gratitude

As cheesy as it sounds, let's go back to what the true meaning of Christmas or holiday season is.

Let's peel back the layers and think about what is really important for us to think about this holiday season.

Gratitude is something that I would highly recommend to practice, because not only does it allow us to think of our lives in a positive light, but it really does change our mindset overtime if practiced regularly.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are some things you are grateful for?

  • What can we do to show our gratitude to others or to ourselves?

  • Does gratitude look like judgment, guilt or shame, or would it look like something else?

Even if it means just taking 1 minute out of your day, let's give it a try. Start with thinking about 1 thing you are grateful for. Just one. Then go from there.

Try it out in the morning when you first wake up, with your family while sharing a meal, when you take a shower or if it helps writing it down and making a list, take out that paper and start writing. Find a time that works for you.

Give yourself permission.

How great would it be if we could let go of guilt and shame and allowed ourselves to fully enjoy food for what it is?

Imagine this. Eating a meal that you actually love without feeling bad. Is this even possible? Yes it is fully 100% possible.

Often with my heart health clients, many think that you need to take the extremes and avoid all "bad" foods, but there really are no "good" or "bad" foods. Let's try not to categorize foods this way, as all foods provide us with some kind of nourishment.

If you've been restricting for a long time, what I can say for sure is that you're missing out and it's time to let go.

"But if I let go, what if I lose control?"

This fear is normal, but you are never going to get to heal your relationship with food if you don't start somewhere. This is going to take trial and error and that is okay. Baby steps.

Book a 1:1 complimentary Discovery Call with me to discover how a life of eating without guilt while still prioritizing health is possible for you personally.

Be mindful.

We hear this this term "mindful" or "mindfulness" a lot lately, but what does it really mean?

Being mindful means tuning into and understanding what surrounds you in your environment. Mindful eating means being present during your meal. It means diving into the 5 senses: taste, smell, sound, sight and touch. Being fully present in that moment may also mean minimizing distractions like screens.

Take a moment before taking that bite, and be mindful of the delicious smelling food, the temperature of the food, the various colours that you see, the various tastes and how they pair together and the crunchy and soft sounds when chewing on food.

Remember that practicing mindfulness is actually not just beneficial during this time of the year, but all year round.

Being mindful is a practice that takes time. If you have not tried this before, let's start this holiday season.

Be intuitive and listen to your body.

Intuitive eating is another word that is used a lot .

It stems off from mindful eating, and it really is all about understanding yourself better. It focuses on healing your relationship with food plus your body. It dives more into you as a person, how you feel around and when eating food, your emotions, plus your rational thoughts.

What it involves is letting go of restrictive eating and unsustainable ways of eating, honouring your body, your cravings and letting you and your body guide you. It involves tuning into your hunger and fullness cues. Eating when you are hungry. Stoping when you are full.

Start in small ways.

Intuitive eating looks and will feel different for each person, because we all are different people. No need to overcomplicate things. Think of this as an exciting process where you get to discover more about yourself and learn things you didn't know before.

Annnnnd yes, you can still eat intuitively and still prioritize your health.

Nourish your body.

So this whole process of letting go, giving yourself permission to eat the foods you love, being more mindful and intuitive is all great, but let's not forget the why.

Let's go back to the way that food is really meant to be thought of and enjoyed.

Let's treat food as not just a hunger stopper, but let's treat it as fuel and nourishment for our bodies.

Let's eat for the purpose of nourishment. When we eat, let's try not to forget that food is transformative and the great amount of nutrition and energy it provides for our bodies.

bottom line: Enjoy yourself!

The bottom line is that the holidays is meant to be a time of gratitude, connection, conversations and memories with friends and family. It is meant to be a time of smiles and giggles, and definitely not restrictive thoughts and actions. Let's let go of shame and guilt, and enjoy the holidays for what is really meant to be for.

Remember also that eating balanced and prioritizing health during the holidays is still completely possible. Let's treat the holidays the same as any other month in the year.

There is no need to eat lots of foods you wouldn't normally eat during this time of the year, and then over-restrict afterwards to "make up" for it. Just eat the food you love. Whether it is a salad or a cookie. You can fully enjoy both!

Need recipe ideas? We got you covered for the holidays. We have so many great holiday recipes coming your way, so stay tuned!

Let's Connect

Let us connect this holiday season. Let me know what your biggest struggles are and how I could support you in your nutrition journey.

Book a free 15 minute one on one Discovery Call with me today. Check out the heart healthy counselling services we offer.

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