The period of December to January is a busy one for many Aussies. Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Eve, school holidays and Australia Day all seem to come together for an action packed summer.
This can mean that we end up eating out more often than usual, and some people can find this stressful when you've been working on improving your eating habits and reducing overeating.
But, it doesn't have to be stressful. Let's talk about some strategies to help you manage the festive feasts.
1. Practice mindful and intuitive eating in the lead up to the festive season.
Get in the habit of knowing how much you feel comfortable eating (physically) and which foods you actually want to eat. Sometimes when we're out and about, we just seem to eat mindlessly, then look back and realise we didn't really choose any of these foods, and we didn't really enjoy them, we were just focussed on getting the food in as quickly as possible!
2. Learn to let go of food guilt.
Some days you're gonna eat more than you needed to, or more than you planned. That's ok, you're only human and food is tasty! You're meant to enjoy it! Learning to let go of that guilt and shame we feel when we do overeat is a really important part of our health journey. These negative feelings can set us on a food spiral, causing us to eat more as a bandaid for our negative emotions, which then makes us feel worse. Learning to let go is important to break this cycle.
3. Stick to your healthy eating principles as much as you feel is possible.
If you've been working with your dietitian on what healthy eating looks like for you, try to keep this in mind while you're out. Maybe you order a delicious creamy pasta, and add a side salad so you keep your veggie intake up. Maybe you set a plan for how many drinks you'll have at the BBQ, or ask someone to share some dessert with you. Having a plan going in helps to ensure we are still getting in a balanced diet while enjoying our food as well.
4. Enjoy your food a second time around.
Remember that you don't need to eat it all in one go, take a doggy bag home with you and enjoy it again the next day. Even if you're at someone's house for a BBQ, you can still ask for some for your lunch. I love it when people ask if they can have some to take home, it means they truly enjoyed it! I haven't been to any restaurants in the last few years that have objected to me taking the rest of my food home.
More than anything, make sure you enjoy your Christmas and New Year period. If you're finding food anxiety is getting in the way of enjoying your social scene, contact us so we can help you learn to live without the food stress.