3 Ways to Avoid Overindulgence this Christmas
I LOVE Christmas.
I love being surrounded by my family, I love the festive lead up to the big day; all the catch ups with friends, going out for food and just general festive cheer (man, I sound like a cringey Christmas card).
But there is a slightly darker side to Christmas that anyone who has struggled with eating will relate to. Christmas is a time of relaxation and overindulgence with food, which often leads to feelings of guilt, self-hate and a lack of control. I know, because I have struggled with these feelings for many years too.
First of all, I want to remind you that it’s JUST ONE DAY.
If you overeat or indulge a little more than usual on Christmas day, don’t worry! The other 364 days of the year, you are (for the most part) committed to yourself, your healthy lifestyle and your workouts. One day will not ruin your progress or unravel your six pack (that's if you've got one, mine's hiding beneath a layer or two of peanut butter).
Still, I understand that it can be hard to remind yourself of this when you feel totally stuffed from all the food you’ve just demolished. What I want to share with you today are some tips on preventing and overcoming those feelings of guilt.
Also, as a little aside, is slightly podgy the worst thing you can be?
Being kind, supportive, fun, friendly, loyal, intelligent, strong (the list goes on) is far more important than being skinny. Than looking slim in a body con dress. Than being the envy of all you friends. Our society demonises women who have any remotely squishy areas, stretch marks, flawed skin... it’s all just wrong. Being authentic and true to yourself is all anyone can truly ask of you, and who cares if that’s you at a size 8 or a size 18. As long as you are happy!
Anyway, back to my three tips...
I think this is the most important thing you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes taking a deep breath is all you need to calm the mind and give yourself some perspective. If you’re having an internal battle about whether you should eat another slice of Terry’s chocolate orange (and the answer is always yes, by the way), stop for a moment. Close your eyes, breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and breathe out for 6. Do this a few times until you’re feeling calm and mindful again. You might decide that you actually don’t want the chocolate, or you might decide you really do. EITHER IS FINE! Allow yourself to do what you want to do, just do it with awareness.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle to sit still and just watch TV; I get bored. This is when I usually reach for the Quality Street (cue the mindless snacking that follows). But one thing I find that really helps is distraction. I LOVE colouring – I always have. I absolutely love all the amazing and intricate designs you can get in adult colouring books – and there are some hilarious sketches too (you can actually colour in Donald Trump's face: true story). It’s so relaxing and gives me such a sense of fulfilment and relaxation. Maybe I’m odd, or maybe I’m on to something for all of us who snack out of boredom! Whether you like colouring or not, find something that doesn’t involve food (or your phone) to distract you.
It’s always important to stay hydrated, no matter what time of year it is. I’m sure you’re already aware, but sometimes when we think we're hungry, it can actually just be that we’re thirsty and craving some water. If I’m craving chocolate/sweets/biscuits etc, I often drink a glass of water first, wait twenty minutes, and see if the craving passes. I’d say this trick stops me snacking a solid 8 out of 10 times!
So there are a few of my tips to avoid overindulgence (read: feelings of food guilt) this Christmas. What are your best tricks? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!