I love Christmas.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It does what going to Melbourne does to me – raises (almost) everyone’s baseline happiness.
At Christmas, we throw around terms like joy and let’s be merry, happy, jolly.
Unfortunately in staff rooms, dietitian consult rooms & on social media feeds, the terms ‘weight gain’, ‘eating too much’ and ‘guilt-free Christmas’, are fitting in between talks of Christmas plans, summer holidays, photos of Christmas trees, decorated mail boxes & Christmas costumes, and christmas light tributes to star wars.
But here’s the thing, as we talk how to avoid weight gain and the rules to survive Christmas (because god forbid if you eat too much pavlova, you’ll cark it). As we talk about tips to beat the bulge and how to have a guilt-free Christmas, what we are doing is taking away the joy. We’re taking away some of the joy of Christmas and creating an anxiety, guilt & unnecessary stress at a time that really should be the most wonderful time of the year.
When I think of Christmas, I think of my Uncles Pavlova’s from his bachelor days. Classic Woolworths pavlova base. One year it was covered in smarties, another slices of kiwi fruit and strawberries. I even think one year it was just a crumbled peppermint crisp.
I think of my great uncle sitting eating prawns straight from the deli paper.
I think of my childhood dog devouring an entire homemade boiled fruit cake from my grandparent’s camper van.
I think of my late grandmother vocally disliking the roast pumpkin & beetroot salad I adore, and my internal dislike of her peas in jelly.
I think of the year I put my heart and soul into making my first gingerbread house & then realised the hunks of royal icing wasn’t that enjoyable.
I think of the year when my brother told me I was getting a My Model for Christmas. Apparently ‘It’s a head’ isn’t a complete give away. Oh, bless.
I think of the year when he got a new bike from santa, the surprise of my parents faces & the following cry when he rode it into a pole outside.
I think of the joy I felt last year when my mum facebooked a picture of a REAL Christmas tree in our house for the first time in over ten years.
I think of my late grandmother giving my cousin and I the same outfits. Pink for her, purple for me. Always. I think of the honey-roasted cashews she always gave my dad.
I think of mum’s homemade baileys.
I think of the year we were camping up bush & Grandad decorated a round tree in the reservoir with tinsel.
I think of the following year when the same tree was 50m out of the water.
I think of driving home for Christmas from Melbourne last year and seeing this.
I remember a week or so ago, coming home from work to this.
And to me, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the horrible Christmas lollies (exhibit A) courtesy of Grandma Wendy, mum’s chocolate ripple cake & enough food to feed a hockey team, for a week.
My point is Christmas is more than the possibility of weight gain and it’s not a moral ground of Christmas foods.
Christmas is a time to make memories with your family and friends.
It’s a time to relax and socialise and forget the stress.
It’s a time to share in the pleasure of food.
And it’s a time when you may eat more than usual.
What christmas is not a time for, is the diet mentality.
I’m not saying go to town, over-eat and splurge just because it’s Christmas.
I’m just saying it is one day of the year and it’s okay to eat a little bit more because the food tastes amazeballs or it’s the only time your Uncle’s pav skills are on showcase.
So, eat the food you want eat.
Eat the foods that you enjoy and will truly satisfy you.
Enjoy every single mouthful and try to listen to your hunger and satiety signals.
And please, eat with joy.
Have a wonderful christmas.
I do acknowledge that not everyone is at the intuitive eating stage just yet, and may feel a little more comfortable with some guidelines. If this is what you need to truly enjoy a food-related-stress free Christmas, then have a quick look at my post from last year where I tried to be punny & wrote one of those titles I really despise.