Christmas makes me think of lights, music, church, gifts and the season where everyone seems happy and full of joy. However, it also makes me think of guilt, shame, anxiety and stress. For someone who has struggled with disordered eating, the holidays are tough.
Between all the Christmas parties, family dinners and special events, there’s an abundance of unhealthy foods and temptations around every corner.
Just thinking about the Christmas season used to discourage me because before it even began I already felt like a failure because I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist the cookies, the pie and ALLLLLL the fudge. Has any one else felt like this or am I the only one?!?
Sometimes I tell myself as long as I stay really active every day it will be okay, but we all know how that goes. I look outside at the below freezing weather and all of a sudden my warm, cozy bed feels a lot better than going outside and getting to the gym. Then I go through a downward spiral of degrading self-talk because after a month of homemade rolls, sugar and all the neighbor’s cookies, I don’t feel confident with what I see or how I feel.
First of all, I know these mindsets are wrong and they create a vicious cycle in our heads that steal the joy of Christmas and what we’re meant to be celebrating. I’m here to tell you today that you don’t have to live that way, there is freedom and you don’t have to suffer through the holidays feeling like you have to throw your health goals out the window. Here are a few simple tips I try to practice around the holidays that allow me to relax and enjoy this amazing season.
1. Drink Water
Water helps us stay fuller longer, gives us more energy and also helps our skin. Make sure to get plenty of water because it will make a tremendous difference.
2. Stay active to feel good
If you’re going to the gym to punish yourself or compensate for what you just ate, don’t go. This creates bad habits and correlations in your brain when you think about going to the gym. Working out is not a punishment, it’s something we get to do to become stronger and take care of our bodies. If you really don’t want to go to the gym over Christmas, don’t!! Find some other way to be active just to keep your body moving and feeling good! Take long walks before or after meals, stretch before bed, find a yoga video on YouTube or an old 80’s workout routine to do with your family. It doesn’t have to be crazy; the goal is to move!
3. Plate Portion
I’m not going to be the one to tell you that you can’t have a roll or a piece of pie, because you better believe I’m going to be having one. And maybe even two!! What I do recommend though is changing the portions of some things on your plate. Maybe get a bigger helping of salad and veggies and a smaller portion of mashed potatoes and stuffing. You can still have them and enjoy them, but make the healthier options take up a bigger part of your plate.
4. Eat Dessert
What fun is Christmas if you deprive yourself from the treats and things you love? That certainly does not sound like enjoying the holidays to me. This is the best news you might hear all day: EAT THE DANG DESSERT. Food has no moral value. It is neither “good” nor “bad”. We’ve created these labels for food in our heads that automatically trigger feelings of guilt and shame whenever we indulge in a “bad” food. Food is food. Period. It’s a gift and meant to give our bodies energy so we can function, think, play games and laugh with our families. It’s not meant to torment us, steal our joy or make us feel less than who we are. So eat the dessert and focus on what the purpose of food is: to bring people together. Focus on the relationships, spending quality time with them and making lasting memories.
5. Find other ways of treating yourself
If you feel like you are using food as a reward or using Christmas to justify overdoing it when it comes to food, find other ways to treat yourself. Maybe take a bath one day or light a candle and read a book. Watch a Christmas movie with your family or maybe get a massage with a friend. Food isn’t the only thing you can use to treat yourself so get creative and try something new!!
I hope you found these tips helpful and can maybe try a few this Christmas to hopefully make it not so stressful. You don’t have to be perfect so don’t beat yourself up over the tiny things. You are enough and I believe in you. I know the struggles of this season better than anyone so if you need someone to talk to, you know where to find me! My outfit in these pics came from Chic River and this set is so comfy!! It’s hard to tell but the bottom of these pants have an animal print and it’s SO cute. Check them out if you need some cute new workout gear.
Thanks so much for reading today, your support means the world to me!! If you have another healthy tip for Christmas I would love to hear it so comment and tell me in my latest Instagram post!! Tag and share with a friend you think could use some encouragement this holiday season!
Love you so so much!!
Nicole xx #DoStuff