Let’s Ditch Diet Culture This Christmas

Christmas is here! But with all of the festivities comes conversations around food, dieting, restricting, overeating, food guilt, avoiding weight gain, and so much more. But it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be this way. Christmas is a time for relaxation, excitement, memories, love, happiness and treasuring what is most important to us. Food can be a huge part of this, but also a positive one. 

It’s not your fault 

Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed and having dieting or negative thoughts around food (especially at this time of year) you are not to blame. We live in a world of diet culture which promotes restricting food, the thin ideal and shames weight gain/changes in body shape. There is constant pressure to earn or avoid certain foods, achieve perfect portion control, and eat all the right things. This is only amplified at Christmas. While some of these messages may come with good intentions, they often backfire leading to feeling out of control around food and creating an unhealthy relationship with food. 

Let’s look at how you can ditch the diet mentality this Christmas and enjoy the season in a happy and healthy way! 

1.Remember all foods have a place in the diet

No foods are off limit (unless of course you have an allergy or clinical reason to avoid a food). Try to ditch the restriction and focus on a varied balanced approach. When we restrict a food, we only think about it more and crave it. Your mind will keep thinking about it, taking up space for perhaps more important things! Don’t sit in that social situation wishing you could eat a certain food, YOU CAN! 

2. Mind your own plate 

Try not to compare what you choose to eat to others. What you choose is your business and nobody else’s. One single comment can affect someone in so many ways and their food choices. Try to be judgement free and focus on what your hunger, and fullness is telling you. 

Let’s stop comparing our plates to someone else’s. We’re all different, and we’re not meant to eat the exact same foods or exact same amounts every single day. 

3. Change the topic 

There are so many other joyful topics to discuss with friends and family than the next fad diet, how much weight you want to lose, someone’s weight loss success or ‘feeling fat’. Try changing the subject to something more interesting such as memories from the year, what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. 

4. Take a social media detox 

Social media can be the source of many pro-diet culture messages, what to avoid and what to have more of. Unfollow anyone who doesn’t promote messages you believe in or fills you with fear/anxiety. Or even take time offline and focus on what’s around you in the ‘real’ world. One afternoon or day can do wonders for clearing your head. 

5. It’s one month of a whole year 

For the month of December, you may have more chocolate than usual, or less vegetables, more meals out or drink less water. But old habits will return, and your body will adjust accordingly to bring you back to neutrality. You do NOT need to compensate for changes in your diet. 

6. Find time for gentle movement 

Moving your body can help to release tension and tine into your body. Try a walk in the fresh air, yoga, slow cycle or jog, dance or whatever your favourite way to move is. Don’t be hard on yourself for not burning ‘X’ number of calories, working out less than usual or missing a class. There’s plenty of time for that after the festive period. Christmas is not for rigidity; this will only add stress. 

7. Be Kind to yourself 

Allow yourself flexibility during the Christmas period. Your usual routine is likely to be disrupted so you’re likely to feel a little bit out of touch with things, maybe more distracted and busier. Try to find time for yourself, remember how hard you work and that you deserve to enjoy the festivities however you wish to. 

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a lovely Christmas free of food guilt and worries. 

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