Christmas is about connection. Family. Friends. There is always a focus on food but essentially whether there is an abundance of food or less of it, it isn’t the sole focus.
We need to let go of the idea that before and after Christmas we starve ourselves, so that at Christmas we can go all in, forgetting hunger cues and how we feel, in light of stuffing our faces until we can't breathe. It’s that irrational fear that this Christmas is the only time we can eat the mince pies, the Christmas pudding, the stollen, the stuffing AND the left over sandwich because after this special time, we will be on a diet for what feels like all eternity.
A way to beat this is...
Give yourself permission.
Permission to eat. All year round. Permission to eat a mince pie on the 25th November if you so wish. Permission to allow yourself any food on any day at any time of the year. Don’t create scarcity so that in December you make yourself ill with mindless, frantic, panic eating. It never feels good. Maybe whilst doing it, but definitely not afterwards. That food will always be there, after Christmas and next Christmas.
Enjoy and indulge of course. I'm not some crazy lady who would say share your marzipan fruit tray or swap pigs in blankets with sprouts wrapped in cabbage. But, once you give yourself permission to eat and enjoy the foods you choose, the anxiety around needing to eat it all, right now, at this very minute, dies down and we eat for joy, not fear.
Give yourself permission to drink if you want to, but not if you don’t. Permission to go out if you want to and stay in if you’d rather not. The pressure around Christmas is insane. To do it all, moaning to Susan at work about how busy you are, how much you hate it and how it’s such a chore just isn’t the point. The point is, if it’s a chore, don’t choose to be so busy. We all think we have to say yes to every party, even at the detriment to our health and wellbeing. It is ok to say no to Barry’s babies Christmas wetting of the head party if you really just need to get ya PJ’s on and watch ‘Elf’ over and over. We are all grown-ups. We are allowed to say no.
Right here. Right now...Not thinking about work, chores, or the shoulda, woulda, couldas.
Be confident in your choices.
Whether you decide to give the gym a miss for a week or two or if you decide to eat 10 mince pies, do what you want with full gusto and assurance. This is what you want so go with it and then let it go. This season and the end of this decade is not about guilt or shame. We are ending the last 10 years of bullshit "wellbeing rules" and making our own. Ones where we own who we are, what we want and then don’t look back. If you want to share your Christmas pudding, do. If you want to eat two Christmas puddings, do. They’re your choices. Own them.
Wear the dresses that make you feel a million dollars - it’s Christmas!
I’m all about sparkles or velvet but it’s also a time to dress up and make the most out of those dresses in our wardrobe that we've only worn once. Hurrahhh! No, we won’t just be living in work attire or leggings and a T. Sometimes dressing up can be a chore. It can make some of us self-conscious. But this is for you, you're not dressing up for anyone but yourself. I'm a 5 min makeup person but I do embrace this season. It’s Christmas. So many people are excited and buzzy and it’s a magical time of year, so I go with it. Don’t be bah humbug just to have a moan. Yes yes, Christmas is commercial. Yes. It all gets earlier each year. Yes. Xmas songs have been overplayed since Halloween ended. But, so what? We can choose to be annoyed by it or choose to be enchanted by it. I choose the latter. Cos it’s an excuse.
Getting a new dress? Hate trying things on in the changing room? Yup. Me too. The slot lighting is unforgiving. And the angles of the mirrors are angles you've never seen your bod before. It can be a shock. But rather than tell you to just take stuff home to try, I'll say this. Your body is not wrong because it looks like it does in those changing rooms. YOU are not wrong. Everyone goes into those tightly squeezed suffocation cubes of terror and sees something in the mirror that we don’t normally see in magazines or on social media. For me, I see dimples I never knew existed, in places I didnt know I could have dimples. It’s ok. The idea isn’t to run, avoid, leave the bits in the changing room & run out crying (been there). The idea is to say, "so fucking what? What does it mean if I have another dimple on my butt? What does it mean if my legs look too short? Who knows? Your dimples and shape and size IS acceptable, OK, normal and more than any of those things, beautiful. Try and use the changing rooms free from judgement. See a dimple. Move on. See a stretch mark. Fine. See a belly roll. Take note, don’t judge it, let it go and dress is on. How do you "feel" in it? Find the outfit that makes you "feel" awesome. When you feel awesome. You will look awesome.
Don’t over do it.
Chill out. Catch up with family, old school friends, or better yet, with yourself. Reflect on the year behind you. What stretched you? What did you learn? What will the next decade bring you? Where do you want to be at the end of 2020, or 2030? Bloody ‘el. That’s robots and flying car times. But, it’s the end of the year. Don’t go into it with blurry heads and fuzzy eyes... you know what I mean. Take your time to look back over the year. Be grateful for what it was and be excited about what is to come. No new year’s resolutions, just plans to do our best and when we can’t, forgive ourselves and move on.
Eat cos you want to tickle your taste buds and soul - but don’t forget to fill up on protein and veggies too. And drink water. Whilst we all want to eat tins of Quality Street by the dozen, we also know that not nourishing our bodies makes us feel shite. So have the best of both. It’s not all or nothing. It’s not the roses OR the nutritious brekkie. It can quite literally be the nourishing food with some soul nourishment too.
It’s not always something we can all do at the drop of the hat and also, it depends on circumstance and privilege, but we all have the option to be grateful for what we have.
Be kind to others.
In turn, we trigger happy hormones within us which we can’t help but feel better about. Feel good. Be happy. Start the day with kindness, end it with gratitude and see the difference it makes to our confidence.