The thing with mince pies and Christmas cake is they only come once a year. The same with the World's biggest cheese board, After Eight's and sherry trifle.....or do they?
We tend to think 'if I don't have them now' I'll have to wait a WHOLE YEAR before I can have them again.
Oh and I've got that new year diet thing coming up again so hey fuck it, lets do it.
This is the classic thought pattern that creates festive food FOMO.
We give ourselves temporary permission to eat everything on our 'naughty' list, with the view we will just starve ourselves, I mean get 'back on track later'.
What we don't appreciate is that creating a 'blow-out/restrict cycle' we are setting ourselves up for failure, because our body doesn't work like that.
Typically, we place festive foods on the naughty list, along with all the other foods we believe we shouldn't have. We stick them on a pedestal, way up high (so we believe they are way more special than they actually are), with a view to holding out a bit longer if we can't reach them.
But at some point we say 'GO' so the anticipation, excitement, and intensity that has been building up for days, weeks, even months means we go full steam ahead, almost blind. We fall deaf to any of the cues our body might be telling us because all we can think about is food, food food. And we go beyond our STOP eating sign.
Which means we develop the 'I'm losing it' sense because we feel out of control.
What's actually been happening is through 'trying to be good', through restricting all the yummy, tasty foods, we've create a sense of scarcity.
How does your body respond to food scarcity?
In exactly the same way as it does when it's being starved.
Like the times we lived in a feast or famine environment. And there was no food to eat. Because you had to spend 3 days hiking to catch it.
That makes you think about food more
It makes you want it more
It makes you seek it out more
It makes you eat more when you eventually get it.
So what can you do?
1. Give yourself permission. You are allowed to want tasty foods and to enjoy them. A healthy diet does not have to be a perfect diet and ALL foods are welcome into a balanced diet.
2. Bring those 'naughty' foods down onto the same level playing food as all the other foods. More than likely, many of the foods we have during this festive period ARE available at other times of the year. You can choose to have them now, or choose to have them later. Fruit cake is perfect with a cuppa during every season yes? And you know that mince pies are in the shops from October to March right? The shops will not stop selling mint matchmakers on boxing day. You can have pigs in blanket with every roast dinner if you like.
3. You don't need to eat everything now with the view of making up for it later, in the New Year. I know many of us are all or nothing creatures and there may be a fear of losing control, once you pop the Pringles but the more you try to control, the more your body will fight back and the blow out will eventually ensue.
4. It may not be about the food at all. Eating experiences create memories. Maybe certain foods at Christmas remind you of things and feelings gone past. Fun times, happy days and perhaps people that are no longer with us? How could you recreate those feelings without eating the coffee creams that you don't really like anyway? Through connecting with friends, music or watching a film?
5. It's OK to eat beyond comfortable fullness. We are designed to 'over eat', it's a pretty handy survival mechanisms from back in the day when food WAS scarce. Overeating does not mean you are greedy, weak-willed or a failure. It means you are human and you are normal. And in reality, do you do it every day?
If you need a helping hand with your food relationship and eating habits, I'm offering 60 minute survival sessions for just £57 to help you get through the festive period without the usual feelings of frustration and guilt.
E-mail me at mel@wakemannutrition and I'll send you the special link