Holiday Note

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Holiday Note

At this time of year, it’s often difficult to steer clear of the succulent hams and lavish pies that adorn the tables of every party we attend. The holidays can be one of the (if not, the) most challenging times when it comes to eating. Most people gravitate towards one of the two ends of the spectrum: either painstakingly abide by their diet but become so deprived that it eventually leads to gorging on boxes of chocolate-covered anything (then chastise themselves afterwards), or just completely let go to wine and dine on whatever is in sight. Neither approach is healthy – for the body or for the mind.

People that normally lead healthy lifestyles often feel food shame whenever they indulge. They tend to feel like they’ve let themselves down, but more so that they have let other people down. It is a perfectionistic ideology – a belief that it would be shameful for others to know that they’ve strayed from an always-healthy diet. In reality, however, “always” doing any one thing is never a good thing – even when it comes to healthy-eating. (Yes, you heard it from a Dietitian!) We all need to splurge once in a while simply because not all delicious foods are necessarily healthy foods. I love food. And I love how food nourishes you. Part of loving food is to also enjoy delicious foods that may not be as healthy, but are rich in flavour, tradition, and culture. The key is to not overdo it and to balance it out later on.

When it comes to splurging, my advice is to not use the word “cheat”. Not only does “cheat” have a negative connotation to it, it suggests that you did something wrong. It is not wrong if you are indulging mindfully. Indulging does not mean that your plans have derailed. Instead of labeling food as a “cheat”, replace it with the word “treat”. A treat is something you are choosing out of self-love. It is something important and deserved.

In the big picture, abide by the 80-20 rule. 80% of the time, you are choosing nutritious foods and goal-oriented patterns; 20% of the time, you are being human. Do the 20% guilt-free. Get rid of the food shame and truly reward yourself in a way that you can enjoy it completely.

Happy Holidays!


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