FEELING HOLIDAY FOOD GUILT?

Dec 29, 2022 by Tania Gustafson


FuelIgniteThrive - FEELING HOLIDAY FOOD GUILT?

No matter what you might think, what you've been told, or what “worked” for you in the past, skipping meals isn't the answer.

Last week we celebrated Christmas and just like that, 2022 comes to an end and Sunday kicks off a whole new year. The New Year is a funny thing. For some it's looked upon as a new start with new opportunities. For others it's merely a continuation of their status quo. Which is great if your status quo has you on a positive trajectory in those important areas of your life. Like health.

But if you're one of the many who reluctantly told themselves that they would enjoy the holidays, aka attend the parties, show up at the dinners, eat some treats, and are now feeling guilty as all get out, I'm here to tell you that stops here. Rather than driving yourself crazy with thoughts like, “I really shouldn't have had those potatoes with the stuffing...” or “I knew I should've just said no to wine and had a glass of water..” or “I should've just stayed home and not gone to the party, I would have saved so many calories!” That kind of thinking, the kind that has you “should-ing” all over yourself is toxic and destructive. Not only to your physical health but your mental health as well.

Replaying those thoughts, allowing them to dictate your actions – which when it comes to food more often than not translates to not eating in an attempt to rebalance the caloric intake scale and reconcile the numbers. Things like deprivation, skipping meals, crazy elimination cleanses, etc., that, as clear-thinking, rational adults in any other circumstance wouldn't make sense. A mind plagued, by guilt for eating things you feel you shouldn't, by fear that because of what you ate you'll never be able to lose the holiday weight around your midriff, and by desperation because every year you fall into the same cycle and can't seem to break free from, is a breeding ground for chronic dieting and disordered eating.

Just a little spoiler alert for those still reading... No matter what you might think, what you've been told, or what “worked” for you in the past, skipping meals isn't the answer. None of the crazy diet-y things you're going to see popping up on your social media this time of year is the answer. In fact diving into another diet in the hopes that this one just might be “the one that works” will simply set you up to fail. I've seen it happen time and again and the toll it takes not only on your body, but on your mental health and even your overall lifestyle, is not something to be taken lightly.

When a person lives with guilt, fear, desperation, shame, disgust, sadness – pick a negative emotion – about themselves, especially when it comes to something we literally need to do everyday to survive, like eat food, it eventually begins to affect all aspects of life. The parent who continually skips breakfast, and is always counting calories is modelling disordered eating rather than taking an opportunity to teach their kids how fuel their bodies and balance those treats. As a former educator, the number of kids I've seen come to school without eating by choice is mindboggling. The spouse who starts stressing on Wednesday for date night Friday because they don't feel comfortable wearing anything but baggy clothes to hide their body, will likely spend the evening stressed, upset and in their own head, and not able to enjoy that precious time set aside to engage and connect with their partner and grow the relationship. And to think something essential to our survival is at the root of it all.

Let's rephrase that. It's not the food, it's the perception of the food. It's how we look at it, how we think about it and our belief system around eating it. Food either fuels your body, or it fuels your soul and we need both. Every food on this planet can be classified as a protein, a fat or a carbohydrate. Our PFCs or, macro nutrients. And when we eat our PFCs in the right portions, in the right frequency throughout the day and are consistent with that, you're using food to create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar, the body's sweet spot. It's in this place of homeostasis (balance) that your body will naturally release stored fat, turn on metabolism, increase energy, bring down cholesterol and blood pressure and lower your risk for lifestyle diseases. The key is, you need food to make it happen. Nine times out of ten the people I work with aren't eating enough food. I had a client just the other day who said, “I can't believe how little food I was surviving on actually, and I was still gaining weight no matter what I did.” That same client just a few weeks later is reporting increased strength at the gym, more energy, and has shed over 2 inches from her waist.

So before you let the guilt, fear and desperation drive you to do something that won't serve your body or your long-term goals, as yourself these three questions; 1. Is what I'm about to do based in science? 2. Can I do this for life? 3. Would I let my kids do this? If you can answer yes to all three, you've got a winner.

If you're looking to make 2023 your last weight loss resolution, check out Tania's free 15 mins training video here.

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