Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are you in control this Christmas?

"Are you going to be "in control" over Christmas or are you going to go for it and make excuses?"

I saw this question posted in a Women's Fitness Forum and underneath it was the plethora of predictable responses that said "I am going to try and have a controlled Christmas". Of course this is in regards to eating and nutrition but when you read this, what does this mean to you?

Does it mean that on Christmas Day you'll be balancing macronutrients in your head, counting calories and wondering if you can sneak in some extra vegetables and a run to burn it all off? And then on Boxing Day and beyond, will you be ruminating that you shouldn't have eaten "x, y or z" and that you've failed to maintain any sense of control or discipline and that you've failed. Or on the flip side, you've eaten like a bird and feel a bit hollow about the whole event (perhaps you feel you missed out on all the fun?).

I'm all for a different approach - that of "making allowances". This is not to be confused with "making an excuse" but rather "making allowances" encourages a global perspective during a time where overeating is par for the course for many.

Making an allowance reflects that there will be a large variety of foods to choose from over the Christmas period and that it's perfectly OK to eat a few treat foods over this time and enjoy time spent with friends and family. Having a few treat meals and different foods and enjoying time with friends and doesn't cause the Christmas weight gain, it is the self destructive thoughts and behaviours around this different food and not making an allowance for yourself that cause the problem. Underlying issues of restriction, rebellion and "discipline" can really backfire on the person wanting to stay lean over the holidays.

This is completely different from overindulging until you hurt and making the excuse that "it was Christmas time". Making an allowance will make you feel good about yourself - ironically by giving away "control" you find true control because you're holding the reins. Making an excuse and trying to grit your teeth and "stay strong" is a soul destroying, self esteem crushing venture.

The take home message is "go with the flow" and treat yourself with respect. For me this will mean having a bit of what I feel like and leaving the rest. It will mean not abusing my body with gallons of Diet Coke or too much ice cream. It may mean a walk in the morning to clear my mind without regards to calories burned. It will be as God intended, a day of peace and joy.

Now to head off to do some final last minute shopping!


KatieP@head.heart.health said...

Making allowances here :)
For the last 5 years I counted calories at Christmas and this year I'm not. What I fancy is champagne and orange juice, seafood and salad, a Christmas mince pie then a swim in the pool.
Ahhh ... comfort and joy ♥

Deb said...

Making allowances, too. I posted on my own blog that I was going to do it but was afraid it might be a mistake. I've decided it's not. On 27 December I get back on the clean eating wagon & finish my fat loss program in time to maintain for about 6 weeks before I go on a cruise in late-March.

Michelle said...

God I LOVE diet coke :)

I think that most important thing that I am starting to focus on now is switching my thinking from 'being good' to 'being healthy'.


Anonymous said...

ha - i LOVE go with the FLOW - it's my motto in life Liz! I am planning a day of gorgeousness with family, with many laughs and probably a bit of fun in the pool , no guilt - guilt is bullshit, oh and no tupperware on Xmas Day ;) hahahaha xxoo

ss2306 said...

Why should xmas day be any different to any other day she say with a glass of sauvignon blanc in her hand? Personally this is what I call going with the flow!! Cheers and a Merry Xmas to y'all.

Shar said...

Great post Liz.
This will be my first Christmas that I won't be seeing it as a feast-fest coz 'I'm starting' on New years day, this will be the first christmas that I will actually not want to eat shite in excess because I'm aware of what I'm doing to my body and how it makes me feel, I could go on and on.
My approach this year is to eat what I fancy on that day, who knows how I will feel? but I have no plans to overeat, no plans to make the 'most of it', just satisfy my hunger with foods that I enjoy.

Shar x

LizN said...

Katie, I'm a bit of a closet mince pie fan myself!
Hi Deb - thanks for dropping by my blog - have a wonderful Xmas
Mish - love your thinking!
Ferny - glad to see there's no Tupperware on Xmas day (otherwise I would have had to slap ya!)
Shel - sav blanc? I wish :) Take care of you :)
Shar - back atcha - love your work! (don't we LMI instructors just love to say that!

ShareWIK said...

This is such a great article - making excuses and losing control during the holidays is so easy to do! I added a Weight Loss/Body Image as well as Women's Health community on my website, www.shareWIK.com (share What I Know) and would love your input! ShareWIK is an online community bringing together people of all areas of expertise so that they can share what they know. Keep up the great work, and we would love to hear from you!

ShareWIK said...

I also thought you would love this article off the site...it's about a woman who lost 200 pounds, and has kept it off!


Leanne said...

Hey Liz,
Thanks for your comment on my blog:-) Hope to see you at comp next year....Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!!
P.S. Gotta admit I will be pretty relaxed about eating on xmas day, Yann's dad is vietnamese & they make the most delicious food, so I will be making the most of that, lol! I am usually pretty good with my eating, so no guilt here!!