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Christmas Guilt: How to Find Food Freedom around the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or is it? The holiday season can bring a lot of stress, anxiety and overwhelm particularly around food. Whether this is because of the focus on food around Christmas, or the stress of seeing some not-so-supportive family members, the holiday season can be less than jolly for some.

Why do we feel guilty around the Christmas holidays?

Diet culture seems to be even more prevalent than ever around the Christmas holiday. Talk of “overindulging”, adverts promoting delicious festive foods swiftly followed by “new year, new me” diets.

Never mind family members serving us second helpings whilst commenting on our size… it’s a minefield! If you are finding your relationship with food, movement and your body challenging then Christmas and other holidays may be triggering for you.

Taking time to address your food guilt and finding supportive ways to protect your health is essential.

How to stop feeling guilty around food at Christmas

Moving away from food guilt can be extremely challenging, especially if you have been dieting, restricting and stressing about food for a long time. But, moving away from food guily to food freedom can be incredibly rewarding.

Taking the time to work on your relationship with food can allow you to enjoy holidays like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, trips and celebrations with joy, and without beating yourself up the next day.

Remember that you deserve to eat

Whatever time of year, whatever we’ve eaten in the last few days, we deserve to eat. Honouring yourself and your body by nourishing yourself is the first step to body trust and embodying self-care.

Food is so much more than just fuel too. Food is community, conversation and connection - not just calories. This Christmas time, try to remember that these food memories are more meaningful than macros or the number on the scale.

You get to determine your hunger and fullness levels

Our hunger cues let us know when we are hungry, and our fullness cues let us know when we are full. Sounds simple right?! Then why do so many of us ignore our cues? Take some time to get to know your body, to understand when you’re hungry and when you’re full.

If someone is shovelling more sprouts onto your plate this Christmas but your body is sending you signals that you’re full then respect your body and turn down the second helpings.

Plus, if dinner isn’t for a few hours but you can sense those hunger cues making an appearance, it may be time for a snack - even if your relatives aren’t snacking.

Remind yourself that you can access these foods all year round

It can feel really exciting when the mince pies, Quality Street tins and stuffing come out. But, despite the scaremongering, you can get these foods all year round. Focusing on Christmas and holiday foods being a “one-time-thing” can give this time of year a “last supper mentality”.

Reminding ourselves that we can have a turkey roast in June, or a mince pie in April if we so choose, we break away from the all-or-nothing mindset diet culture convinces us of.

Move chat from dieting and body size

When we are working through our own “stuff” around food, movement, body image and self-compassion having other people discussing body shape and size, or commenting on the way people look can set us back.

No one has the right to comment on someone else body and shifting conversations away from harmful body-centric chat can be refreshing. Calmly state that you’d prefer not to discuss body weight and shape this holiday season as you navigate your own body image, or rebuke some of the comments or claims made.

Seeking support

If you are feeling like the guilt surrounding food this holiday season is too overwhelming for you to deal with alone, it may be time to seek support from a professional.

You can find out more about working with Nuna or one of our nutritionists here.

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