It’s no secret that I have a big Greek family, and for us, food is definitely the central part of all our gatherings and special occasions (in case you hadn't noticed hahaha).
That's where my love of food comes from.. it just reminds me of all the hilariously happy times we get to experience at them. And with Christmas 🎅 around the corner, it's definitely no exception.. if there's anything that's guaranteed it's that there's going to be LOTS of delicious food. 🥕🥑🧀🍖🍨🍩🍰
Christmas can bring up some unsettling feelings about our routine.. we're not eating what we usually would, we're not training when we usually would, and then after the festivities are over it's the 'ah well I've already 'messed up' this week.. I may as well restart next week... or the week after.. or the week after that...' mindset that kicks in.
I'm here to tell you that eating delicious food at our Christmas festivities doesn't mean we're 'messing up'.. these festivities are A PART OF LIFE!! They're there to be enjoyed, to make memories from, and to enjoy precious time with those who are most important to us. We certainly shouldn't be worrying about the food, nor should we be brutalising ourselves for enjoying it!
So, a Christmas gathering 🎄 has been planned and you're starting to wonder what to do...
FIRST OF ALL... BREATHE! 🥰
It's Christmas! It's an amazing time for friends, family, good vibes and incredible food! Sustaining a healthy lifestyle in the long term depends on us learning to ENJOY life's festivities (because let's face it.. they're a part of life!). Feeling guilty or that we've ‘fallen off the wagon’ after a glorious day with our friends our family during the holidays can be really damaging to our long term progress. A routine that is sustainable is the one that wins in the end, not the one that's most restrictive. The strict 'all or nothing' mindset can do so much more damage to our health, than what eating those 'extra' festive foods does.
To my next point...
Remember To Keep On, Keeping On 🏃🏼♀️
DURING the 'silly season' - continue your routine as you usually would. These are just days that yes, we might be indulging a little more than we usually would but that doesn't mean all of our habits need to be thrown out the window. Wake up early, exercise, eat healthy where you can, take the dog for a walk, meal prep...whatever your routine may be.. do that! Remember it's just a day (or a few days leading up to it!). The memories made are worth FAR more than stressing about a few extra calories.
Christmas is a time for family and friends, and the way of a healthy lifestyle is actually INCLUDING these types of events in your lifestyle. So enjoy your festivities, the food that comes with it, and move on without the guilt or shame.. because you absolutely don't need that regret in your life after making memories with your loved ones!
In saying this, if you're wanting to make better choices and be more mindful (and of course this blog isn't to tell you to throw all your work out the window and pick up again next year!), then here's some tips on how to make it a little bit easier for you this Christmas to make better choices 😊
1. Bring A Plate or Platter
The host will absolutely LOVE it.. and so will the guests! It could be a platter with the BARE dips, a plate of bliss balls, the pinwheels, or some delicious creative veggies! This is a great way to know that there will be at least one option for you that's a little on the more nourishing side. That way, if you're going to nibble at something...may as well be BARE haha!
2. Make A Christmas Drink!
If there's one thing that the festivities brings out, it's the drinks! Instead of having wine after wine....How amazing would it be to get creative and make a cocktail jug (or a delicious mocktail in my case!) and bring it along to the party? 🍹 You can absolutely get creative too! Chop up some fresh fruit and infuse a couple jugs of sparkling water.. make your own fresh cold-brewed iced tea.. whip up one of these Kombucha Mocktails, or this incredibly tasty Mocktail with Fresh Fruit & Coconut Water! Or if mocktails aren't your drinking preference...and you're all about cocktails...you could bring your own mixers like soda and lime, for you to use with vodka or gin.. which is another great option!
Especially in our hot Australian summers, there is NOTHING BETTER than a nice ice-cold drink on Christmas day.. and I always feel SO much better when I know what's in it!
3. Include All Your Food Groups
Christmas lunches usually entail lots of amazinnnggg foods in the middle of the table, ready for us to absolutely feast over. Some say this may be temptation's worst nightmare, but really it's GREAT because it means that we can choose exactly what we want on our plates! Much like my blog on building a BARE Lean inspired meal, try to include on your plate your protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Portion controlling is a big one to keep in mind when you're at festive get-togethers.. so when in doubt, listen out for your body's natural hunger cues and stop when you're starting to feel full. Remember, there's usually always dessert later and you'll be able to enjoy it MUCH more if you're not sickeningly full before you eat it!
4. Don't Label The Food!
Some of the foods on offer may not necessarily be ‘nourishing’.. they may have a little extra fat or sugar than we're used to including.. but let's not call them ‘bad’ foods.. because they’re not. All foods are equal - there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. Think of it like this.. some foods are just more nourishing than others, and others are just simply delicious. They are, and SHOULD be part of a realistic and balanced lifestyle.. and one way to help the mindset around that is by teaching ourselves not to label those 'extra' foods as bad!
Remember, festivities are ALWAYS going to be around, so let's learn to manage them as best we can, while still reaching our goals! 😄
You guys got this! 🙌🏼
And I know I'm early but.... HAVE THE BEST CHRISTMAS! 🎄
LOVE LEAH X