As we enter the final month of the year, it’s easy to feel guilty about eating too much at the holiday table. But before indulging, take a moment to think of all the people who would love to be able to enjoy their favourite dishes with their loved ones but don’t have that opportunity anymore.
When we eat something bad for us, it can lead to guilt and anxiety that can come in the form of mood changes, increased appetite for more junk food or even weight gain. The guilt or anxiety may be triggered by a variety of factors such as wanting to fit into particular clothes, not liking ourselves and even seeing friends doing better than us.
However, we all know that there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence during the holiday season. It is an exceptional time where all is allowed as long as it makes us happy and content. But if you just cannot help but struggle with the guilt of overeating, then this article is for you!
5 ways to stop feeling guilty about eating your favourite Christmas foods:
As we eat our way through the leftover turkey, cookies, pies, and desserts of Christmas Day, we start to feel guilty about all the calories we have consumed. It’s hard not to indulge in these tasty treats when they are so close at hand. So how can we stop feeling guilty for it ?
1) Stop the toxic and shaming thoughts:
It is difficult to avoid the temptation of eating unhealthy food in the festive seasons, with all its greasy and sugary goodies. However, it is important to remember that the thing that will not help in losing weight or coping with your cravings is in fact: toxic thoughts and blaming yourself in your head.
We often feel guilty about eating in excess when we binge. We might think that guilt is a good thing and result in better self-control. But the truth is, guilt can also be a toxic emotion that leads to poor health and more overeating.
In reality, overeating has absolutely no consequences on our life as long as we do it in moderation. This is because our body can make up for the amount of food that we eat by burning it off through exercise or burning fat. So sabotaging your mental health for a fixable issue and reversible situation is just not worth it.
2) Distract yourself with other tasks:
Instead of feeling guilty for indulging in food after a long day of work, try taking a break and do something that you enjoy like cooking healthy foods for yourself or for your loved ones.
If you truly ever feel bad when you overeat then try to distract yourself with a different activity. For example, take up a new hobby or watch a movie. Or else try out meditation or exercise!
Studies show that when you are doing something else or thinking about something else, your mind will focus on what you want to do and not on the food in front of you. To help yourself in this journey, turn on your favorite TV show or listen to your favorite song while you’re cooking instead.
There is still no evidence that cognitive distraction actually works when it comes to losing weight. So don’t expect it to help you do that but if you want to distract yourself from overeating in the first place, then it will definitely work!
3) Think about the money and efforts that went in making the food:
Feeling bad for eating Christmas food does not make any sense when you consider the amount of effort we put into buying them and cooking them in our kitchens.
We probably would have put our hearts too into preparing these dishes and when the time comes to eat then we should be able to enjoy them, with no guilt.
4) Set up a plan to lose weight or to stay in shape, after the holidays:
It is great to be able to plan ahead and make a plan for how you’ll lose weight after the holiday season is over. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it will help you stop feeling guilty because you have a plan that you genuinely intend to commit to later.
The most important thing is being realistic about your goal – don’t set yourself up for failure by making goals that are too big or by expecting miracles to happen after just one or two weeks of change.
Keep in mind though that when the holiday season is over, a lot of people often struggle to keep their weight down and after the New Year they will have a big challenge in front of them.
The plan to lose weight after the holiday season can be hard but it is doable, if you are determined. So it’s important that you don’t lie to yourself or invent excuses to be able to binge more, but to be true to yourself and only give promises of losing weight later when you know you can do it.
5) Focus on what matters and be grateful:
Take a moment to reflect on what you are thankful for. Look at the faces of your family members and loved ones around you and be happy, rather than focus on what you are eating.
There is nothing like the smell of home cooked food, wrapping your hands around a piping hot mug of cocoa, and seeing those tiny Christmas lights illuminate your face. However, if you wake up tomorrow with a stomachache or regretful remorse about how much you ate over the holidays, it’s time to take a step back and think about what really matters in life.
During the holiday season, we get into the mindset of rewarding ourselves for surviving another year. So eating festive foods can be forgivable and well-deserved. Not everyone can afford to be a strict vegan, and that’s okay.
Just make sure you’re not overdoing it a lot, because over-indulging might lead to guilt and shame for months after, when the extra weight piles up and refuses to leave.
Try not to feel guilty after gorging on tasty chicken drumsticks if it was for one single night. Think of it as being well-deserved for surviving another year, regardless of your age.