Christmas is a time for appreciating quality time with your loved ones, relaxing thanks to time off work and, of course, enjoying delicious festive food. It’s not a time for stressing about everything you put in your mouth. While that’s not an excuse to eat Christmas pudding for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I think what’s important is that you practice eating mindfully.
I’m not here to tell you the same old tips that make the rounds each year (“eat before you arrive at the party so you’re not hungry”, “use a smaller plate”, “get your salad dressing on the side”). Rather, I want to share with you my top seven practical tips that will help you enjoy the festive season – and maintain your health at the same time – without going without.
But before I dive into that, let’s get one thing straight: Christmas is just one day of the year (if you’re lucky, maybe two or three). Indulging for a couple of days at this time of year isn’t going to outweigh twelve months of consistent healthy eating – but it’ll add a whole lot of enjoyment to your life. So, live a little!
1. Give yourself freedom.
It’s time to let go of strict food rules. No more classing food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or thinking that you aren’t allowed to eat certain foods. You can eat whatever you want if you truly feel like it.
2. Tune in to your hunger and satiety cues.
Before you eat, take a moment to ask yourself if you’re actually hungry. Can you feel your stomach grumbling? Does your stomach feel empty? If not, are you actually just thirsty? Perhaps you’re bored or emotional, and don’t actually need to eat at all. Try to identify your triggers and only eat if you are actually hungry.
3. Be present.
Far too often, we see people mindlessly eating. Mouthful after mouthful without a second thought, scrolling on social media, watching TV or replying to emails. Instead, you should take a step back and be present in the moment. Pay attention to the smell, taste and texture of your food, and really savour each mouthful (rather than scoffing it all in five seconds flat). Putting down your knife and fork between each bite can be helpful, too.
4. Let go of all or nothing.
Does ‘new year, new me’ sound familiar? The silly season is no excuse for a daily calorie bomb just because the New Year is around the corner (and you promise yourself that this *will* be the year to get fit and lose weight). This all or nothing mentality just doesn’t work – instead, it’s important to work on moderation. For more information about healthy dietary supplements visit https://observer.com/.
5. Don’t skip meals.
Eating a healthy breakfast is key no matter what day of the year it is, so don’t skip it in the hope of saving calories for later in the day. If you kick-start your day with a nutritious breakky, you won’t arrive at Christmas lunch absolutely ravenous (which will ultimately lead you to consume more calories anyway).