With Christmas less than 30 days away, you might be tempted to follow the advice coming from every possible corner:
Quit sugar* in preparation for all your food indulgence at Christmas.
Be prepared! Cut down on sugar before Christmas so you’ll be able to eat what you want without having huge repercussion on your weight.
*[replace the word sugar with carbs, fats and it’s exactly the same].
I’m seeing many challenges circulating on social media and all sort of pre-Christmas detoxes, focused on reducing calories and cutting all the foods which are ‘supposedly’ making you fat.
My humble advice as a binge-eater in recovery (you can read more about my journey here) and your trusted eating coach is this:
PLEASE DON’T JOIN THOSE CHALLENGES.
DON’T ENGAGE IN THOSE DETOXES.
Especially if right now you’re struggling with binges.
Especially if you find yourself overly obsessing with calorie counting.
Why do I find the advice of cutting sugar before Christmas harmful?
- They perpetuate the message that you need to earn the food you eat, by restricting, limiting, exercising, using willpower to then be able to “cheat” at Christmas by eating what you want.
- They can make you overly concerned about your weight, having negative feelings about yourself any time you can’t keep up with the challenge, and have you blame yourself for not sticking to the rules.
- It’s very likely they’ll increase your desire to binge, whenever sugar is around, with extra guilt brought by your participation to the challenge.
Is this really how you want to spend the next four weeks? What for?
Here are my reminders for you to ponder over:
- The food you eat at Christmas is available to you all year long. You can have it when you want, not just one week in the whole year.
- There’s no need to cut down on sugar or avoid certain groups of foods, fast or skip meals before or after Christmas dinner.
- If, at Christmas, you eat more than you’d normally do in one meal, there’s no need to over-exercise to burn those calories. As there’s no need to do it any other day of the year.
- You are allowed to eat what you want the day after Christmas, and the one after, and the weeks after.
A writing practice for you.
Now take pen & paper (or your fabulous journal) and try to answer the questions below.
Aim to write for at least 3 minutes on each of them:
- Am I (officially or unofficialy) taking part to a detox, ‘give up sugar’ challenge, fasting or similar before Christmas? What am I hoping to achieve by doing it?
- What’s the food I get most anxious about eating during this Christmas season? Why is that (for example, past diets, comments received from parents as a child, desire to ‘eat clean’, etc.)?
- Apart from Christmas, is this food available for me to eat any other time of the year? Why?
Here’s to a diet-free countdown to Christmas.