Do you impose any dietary restrictions during the holidays?
Long live the wind, long live the wind, long live the… Holiday season? This period can be synonymous with stress, the risk of overeating and then guilt for those who have a difficult relationship with food. For others, it is one of the only times of leave of the year. Taking the anti-diet approach, which advocates flexibility and listening to the body’s cravings and cues while decreasing guilt, can make holiday meals more enjoyable and keep the enjoyment going year-round.
A common discourse around the holidays is that we should “limit the damage” (which often means limiting the amount of food eaten and being in control). We must fight our “greediness”, the worst defect we can have. However, this vision of food increases the pressure and stress related to food during this period and in general.
The question of weight is often mentioned. Indeed, some people restrict themselves in December to look good in their Christmas outfit. Others decrease the amount of food during the day before Christmas dinner to give themselves permission to eat more without worrying about gaining weight.
In the anti-diet approach, there is no question of restriction. Whether it is during the weeks or the hours leading up to the event, we listen to our signals of hunger and fullness and we unconditionally allow ourselves to eat 3 meals regardless of the size of the dinner and the occasion. In this way, we avoid arriving at Christmas dinner hungry and ending up very uncomfortably full with the added guilt. Also, getting enough nourishment helps the brain focus on something other than food. This allows you to keep up the conversation with your loved ones and enjoy winter activities.
All foods are allowed
The holiday season while on a diet can be quite a headache; no vinaigrette in the salad or dip for the raw vegetables, no butter on the bread (no bread, by the way!) and maximum a very small portion of dessert when you would like to eat a lot more. Not a festive meal, right?
Traditional dishes, such as grandma’s tourtière or cipâte, turkey with its decadent stuffing and sauce, and delicious desserts, can comfort us. Why deprive yourself of such pleasure? You can eat it until you are satisfied and even just because it tastes good! No guilt in taking full advantage of it. No single food can ruin health or cause weight gain. Leaving room for a wide variety of foods, including pleasure foods, allows you to better connect to your satiation signal and your pleasure.
All foods contain nutrients that help the body function properly, for example sugar in desserts will serve as quick fuel and lipids will help the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. What happens if the body receives more than it needs? It will adjust hunger and fullness cues and even specific cravings for future meals. Trust him!
All foods are allowed tomorrow too (and always!)
You know the pre-diet Sunday syndrome? This day, we tell ourselves that it is the last time we can enjoy it before excluding such and such food for the rest of our lives. We then eat very large quantities of the future prohibitions. The same phenomenon occurs during the holiday season if we tell ourselves that afterwards, we will restrict ourselves. We fill our plate with all the starches and desserts possible, we gobble it all up and the meal ends with physical discomfort and a (big) hint of guilt. This feeds the cycle of restriction and excess that only worsens the relationship with food.
The solution? Give yourself permission to continue eating the same foods if you feel like it, even after the festivities are over. Yes, yes, it is possible to eat dessert whenever we like throughout the year, same thing for turkey, bread and meat pie! Allowing ourselves to eat our fill all year round is also important. No need to restrict yourself from January 2 (or ever for that matter!).
In short, the anti-diet approach makes it possible to avoid perpetuating the restriction-excess cycle established when you follow a diet and thus to better appreciate the meals and family activities of the holiday season.
If you feel that the holiday season will be difficult for you, do not hesitate to call on the LauGau Nutrition team who can support you.
Maude Martinez, Nutritionist, Dt.P.