It's been 4 years since I originally wrote an article where I shared my tips for "surviving" the Silly Season. I recently realised that some of the things I mentioned longer match my way of thinking. With that in mind, here is the remastered version 😉.
Christmas is by far my favourite time of the year. I enjoy it so much because I love spending time with family, friends and I relish the atmosphere of happiness and harmony that you can feel everywhere. Food is also at the top of my list. A lot of what was prepared in my house when I was growing up was rarely cooked at another time of the year. Now that I live overseas, I enjoy the food even more every time I visit Mexico. I have also learned to enjoy the food that is prepared in Australia as well as sharing some of the Mexican cuisine by cooking the family stuffing recipe. Apparently I have turned it into a tradition over here too.
This year the circumstances have been very different and many people will not have the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones or have the agenda full of parties and festivities. I still thought it was important to share with you these points that I consider essential.
Even though the article is called “Guilt-free Silly Season”, I promise you none of my tips will result in a look of terror from your nanna when you suggest she makes a sugar-free cake.
1. Enjoy it!
This pandemic has shown us how important it is to value what we have. Take the time to be with your loved ones and enjoy their company by staying in the moment . Stressing about how many calories you're eating or how much weight you think you're going to gain, will only distract you from the things that really matter like the company of those around you and the hands that prepared the delicious food in front of you.
2. Eat during the day
Skipping meals or not eating enough during the day to "save calories" will only make you hungrier at dinner, end up eating more than you needed, and enjoying less than you should.
Sometimes this is unintentional. We get so busy chatting, cooking or travelling during the day and we forget to eat. Try to listen to your body and eat if you're hungry, preferably choose foods that you know will make you feel good and that will keep you satisfied for longer.
3. Choose what you love best
Filling your plate with vegetables or salad isn't going to stop you from finding room for the casserole or the things you really like. It is better to fill your plate with what you love the most from the start and give yourself the time to enjoy it. By the way, if vegetables or salad are on the list of things you enjoy most... go ahead! But this applies to the rest of the food too.
You don't have to try absolutely everything there is, especially if you are already full, remember there’s usually enough for leftovers.
4. Be compassionate
What's done is done. Hating yourself for everything you ate and how "bad you behaved" doesn't help at all.
5. You don't need to "burn" what you ate
Staying active has countless benefits, however "burning dinner calories" does not belong on this list. Killing yourself by exercising the next day to compensate for everything you ate is neither necessary nor healthy.
If you're going to exercise, do it because you enjoy it, don't use it as a punishment for everything you ate or as a way to justify everything you're going to eat afterwards.
6. Ignore January!
Thinking about January as the month you're going to “behave yourself”, start your diet and finally “be good” only causes you to feel guilty during December. It's impossible to enjoy something when it's done with guilt. "I’ll be good in January” practically translates into “what I’m doing right now is wrong but I will fix it later”. This prevents you from following everything I just recommended and prevents you from enjoying the things that really matter during this season: family, friends, health and all the good stuff.
Thank you for reading! I wish you a merry Christmas and hope you and your loved ones are enjoying good health.