Whether it’s Christmas, Easter or the Summer holidays, the residual guilt of fun, food and indulgence can be the downside. But fear not, there is a way to enjoy any holiday and remain guilt-free.
Holidays are a time for letting loose and enjoying a little more of what you fancy; that’s the joy of having more time to indulge and let yourself go a little more than usual with guilt-free eating.
There should be no guilt in that pleasure, but media and peer pressure have brought us to a place where we berate ourselves for taking time out to enjoy these simple pleasures.
Sure, if you eat and drink all the indulgent stuff all year round, that will be detrimental to health and life. But if you do choose to indulge a little on your Christmas holiday or when you’re on your next beach holiday, then why should you feel guilty about that?
Healthy eating and indulging every so often is about balance, and when you include regular exercise, self-care and good hydration, you have that balance.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
There’s a handy trick, rather than indulging so much over the holidays and then struggling to lose those few pounds that have been added somehow to your waistline.
Prepare your body in the weeks/days leading up to your holiday event. This doing mean you have to work like crazy to get a six pack, unless you want to, of course. Just make your diet a little leaner and more wholesome, decrease your sugar intake and cut back on alcohol or sugary drinks. Increase your exercise and hydration.
Then when you’re on holiday, be as active as you can, whether that’s playing frisbee on the beach, hiking in the snow or doing a holiday workout: the more energy you use, the more you can consume, guilt-free.
It’s as simple as energy in – energy out.
FOOD AND DRINK SWAPS
The smart way to ensure you don’t pile on the pounds or ply your body with more harmful foods and drinks is to make smart choices. You don’t need to opt for low-fat or low-alcohol because they often contain more sugar or chemicals.
Choose foods and drinks which are as nature intended, packed with natural ingredients, including sugars and fats. Focus on including foods with high vegetable and fruit content because they contain fibre and plenty of vitamins and water.
Making smart choices helps to lessen the post-holiday eating guilt.
Managing your stress levels is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure you don’t overeat before or during your holidays. This is especially important during the festive holidays, where more people tend to be involved, and a lot is going on for your mind and sanity to process!
When we’re in a stressed state for a prolonged period, our cortisol levels rise to help us cope with this; the problem is when your cortisol remains elevated, your Ghrelin (hunger hormone) kicks in, looking to refuel your energy stores which become depleted by staying in a stressed, tense and anxious state.
Finding ways to help reduce your ongoing stress levels will help to ensure you don’t overeat during the holidays and is a great way to help combat overeating at all times. There are so many stress busters now available.
Here are some simple ways to reduce stress:
- Gentle and steady-state exercise
- Guided mindfulness and meditation
- Practice breathwork
- Walk in nature
- Listening to relaxing music
Guilt steals enjoyment. It does not serve you to create positive lasting habits; it keeps you feeling bad, which leads to more detrimental behaviour.
Guilt-free eating allows you to enjoy the moment, savour the foods and drinks in which you’re indulging and take the power out of that eat/drink-berate-repeat cycle.
BALANCE THE SCALES
We’re not talking about weighing scales here. It’s a case of if you have an indulgent day on your holiday, then perhaps the next day you have a lighter eating/drinking day and move a little more. We come back to that energy in – energy out thinking.
That’s the balancing of the scales your focus needs to be on for guilt-free eating.
Guilt-free eating doesn’t work if you give yourself carte blanche to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, like a kid in a candy store.
It’s about enjoying your holiday, letting loose on the foods/drinks you enjoy but don’t have all the time, because you’re stepping out of the confines of daily life and allowing yourself time off, hopefully for good behaviour.
So, guilt-free holiday eating is possible; you just have to ensure you have the balance right and be kind to yourself, in body, mind and spirit.
There is no shame in indulging and enjoying what you eat, the real shame is if you don’t give yourself that joy.