How To Enjoy Food without the Guilt this Christmas

We're fast approaching the holiday season and the end of 2019. This time of year, we start to think about how to avoid overeating, binge eating, or how to restrict ourselves so that we look and feel our best come 2020.

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December should be a month filled with Christmas celebrations, delicious food and drinks and everything that makes you happy and excited to close out 2019, right?

Unfortunately, this time of year is stressful for most people, especially when it comes to food and I get it. Growing up I struggled with my relationship with food a lot, especially in my late teens.

I went through a period of restriction and undereating which led to binge eating, which led to bulimia and a whole slew of problems when it came to my relationship with food and my body.

To change my relationship with food, I realised that didn't have to be afraid of it. It didn't happen overnight but I had to learn that restricting myself was what led to my binge mentality.

Binge Mentality

The binge mentality happens when you restrict yourself. You know, when you tell yourself, you can only have a certain amount of Christmas pudding or wine, then all you want is more Christmas pudding and wine!

And so, you start to binge.

If you struggle with your relationship with food, you probably have a lot of guilt and stress surrounding food. Which will continue to cause you to binge eat, so what's the answer?

How I stopped binge eating for good

Binging almost always is a result of restricting yourself, so I advise that you don't.

Here are some recommendations to experience some normal, healthy indulgence that doesn't involve feeling guilty afterwards.

Stop restricting yourself

It's like telling a child "you can't have that" or "don't do that", of course, they then want what they can't have. But once you give it to them, they'll probably lose interest very quickly.

It's a similar scenario when it comes to food.

When you tell yourself "no, you can't have pudding" all you want is some damn pudding! But if you tell yourself, I can eat whatever I want, you'll probably realise you didn't even want any pudding in the first place, or you'll be completely content in having one serving.

Even if you do have more than one serving, so what? It's not the end of the world. Don't punish yourself.

Don't Diet

Diets are mentally and physically stressful and draining.

Your body and brain will respond by losing control over food which intern leads to binging. That's why you see a lot of dieters lose a whole heap of weight, only to put it back on again, and then some.

When we diet and "mess it up" by eating something "wrong or bad" or overeating, we have the mentality that we've ruined everything so we may as well eat everything and start again tomorrow.

Overindulging is OK!

Binging and overeating is not the problem, the problems start to arise when we start to judge ourselves for overeating OR we start to worry about what others are thinking of us.

Overindulging is ok but binge eating is often the result of something deeper. Feelings of unworthiness or internalising pain or past trauma. Binge eating is often linked to how we see our bodies, or how we feel about our sexuality, it’s so much deeper than just food or feeling the need to overindulge.

If you can start to identify what is triggering you to feel the need to binge you can work on resolving these feelings. Just know that when you do overindulge it's ok! The holiday season is the time to be jolly and enjoy some time off, you don't need to have the "all or nothing mentality".

Food freedom

Instead of feeling all the guilt, shame and emotion of overeating or eating something "naughty" you just indulged in, try letting yourself just enjoy it.

If you’ve tried restricting yourself, working it off at the gym, not buying the food and having it in the house, fad diets or even therapy and nothing works... why don’t you try just letting yourself indulge and not punishing yourself for it?

Try it!

Let yourself binge and guess what, you may not even want to because you’ve said you can. You haven’t restricted yourself and guess what, there’s no friction and so you probably won’t want to do it but if you do, NO GUILT.

When you mentally feel restricted you will instantly want what you can’t have but when you give yourself permission to indulge you’re actually less likely to do so.

Eating food should be enjoyable, it shouldn’t come with a side serving of guilt, self-loathing or self-hate.

Food is about nourishing your mind body and soul, it’s to be enjoyed over beautiful conversation with family and friends. This holiday season give yourself permission to eat food, drink wine and just enjoy your life. Food and life are supposed to be enjoyable.

Challenge yourself

If you challenge yourself to have a new years resolution that isn't "lose weight" then I can almost guarantee you will reduce the feeling that you have to over-indulge if you think it's not your last chance to do so.

If you have bigger and better things to focus on than what you're eating, it becomes an afterthought and not your primary focus.

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