No Wellness Wankery

40: You CAN enjoy the holidays without food guilt or body loathing. Here’s how

December 06, 2022
40: You CAN enjoy the holidays without food guilt or body loathing. Here’s how
No Wellness Wankery
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No Wellness Wankery
40: You CAN enjoy the holidays without food guilt or body loathing. Here’s how
Dec 06, 2022

It doesn’t take long before the non-stop eating and drinking at the Christmas parties and BBQs begins to feel overwhelming… and the thoughts around holiday weight gain creep in.

It’s cruel really when you think about it. At exactly the same time you know you’re meant to relax around food – festive season – the food guilt and weight worries turn up like unannounced in-laws just in time to ruin your holiday.

But what if the oh so lovely, intuitive eating was the answer to these problems yet again! 

Spoiler: it is. 

We want to eat the foods we love over the holiday period, rest and recharge with loved ones & treat our bodies with kindness. 

Let’s learn how.

💜 Want help with binge or emotional eating? I think you'll get a lot of value from my FREE 5-day course, in which I teach you strategies that helped me to skip the cravings and feel in control around food. The course will be delivered via email straight into your inbox.

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Show Notes Transcript

It doesn’t take long before the non-stop eating and drinking at the Christmas parties and BBQs begins to feel overwhelming… and the thoughts around holiday weight gain creep in.

It’s cruel really when you think about it. At exactly the same time you know you’re meant to relax around food – festive season – the food guilt and weight worries turn up like unannounced in-laws just in time to ruin your holiday.

But what if the oh so lovely, intuitive eating was the answer to these problems yet again! 

Spoiler: it is. 

We want to eat the foods we love over the holiday period, rest and recharge with loved ones & treat our bodies with kindness. 

Let’s learn how.

💜 Want help with binge or emotional eating? I think you'll get a lot of value from my FREE 5-day course, in which I teach you strategies that helped me to skip the cravings and feel in control around food. The course will be delivered via email straight into your inbox.

Want to feel more in control around food? Check out my Stop Struggling With Food Guide, currently on sale for 40% off.
You’ll also find 50 of my favourite recipes to get you inspired!

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy


If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Lyndi
 0:00:00
 Hey, everyone, and welcome to today's episode of the No Wellness Wankery Podcast. I'm Lyndi Cohen, dietitian, nutritionist, and I'm joined, as always, by my lovely co-host, Jenna D'Apice.

Hello. Yes, my name is Jenna D'Apice. 

I love chatting with you guys each week that all the wellness and the wankery in the world where there is a lot and we are getting to the time of year where it it cranks up to a different level. Crank up okay so well we have holiday season so you know Christmas and for me it's Hanukkah there's other the other holidays happening as well and so what we end up getting is a lot of pressure around healthy eating over the holidays but at the same time a million functions. A million functions. Every weekend you might have like three different things on each day which means lots of eating which means lots of stressing out if you're still in that dieting world. And a more stressful January. And a more stressful January, yes. It rolls into it. It rolls into January which is when you get fever pitch of the New Year's So let's try and see if we can sidestep all of it and help you have a healthy, relaxed and cheerful holiday season.

Jenna
 0:01:46
 This is what we need. So it's basically like if someone has lots of events coming up, what type of things should they be thinking about?

Lyndi
 0:01:53
 Okay, cool. So I think if you read any kind of health magazine or any health tips, actually when I started my career, I definitely was one of those dietitians who would answer these and there'd be questions like the journalist would come to me and be like, Lyndi, I want to try to find the best Christmas puddings under 100 calories.

Jenna
 0:02:12
 Yes, under 100 calories, the magic number that's going to change your life.

Lyndi
 0:02:16
 Why is it always 100 calories? Who chose that number? Or how to cut calories from your Christmas lunch. And I used to, with good intentions, as a fresh off the boat kind of dietician, try and give these tips about salad dressings and all that kind of nonsense. And I'm kind of now of the opinion that a lot of that nutrition advice that you're going to read in those magazines is just dieting and disordered advice. It's kind of like, what we need to understand is that fundamentally, you only have Christmas pudding once a year. So just eat the one that's delicious, not the one that's 100 calories. Make it tasty, make it enjoyable. Feel relaxed around these holidays and not feeling like you need to try and have too much of a game plan around trying to control calories and how much you, you know, restricting basically. Because I think that can be very counterintuitive. So boycotting a little bit of those healthy eating articles, but at the same time, if we do just eat all the time, any time, you're not going to feel good. You're not going to feel good. So at the same time, we can tell you to do intuitive eating, but also I want you to end up in the holidays, I want you to feel good. Something I need you to know is this, that this is actually just a short period of your life, this holiday period. It might be a couple of weeks in the exact same way that having kale for a week is going to transform your health. A couple of weeks of silly eating isn't going to destroy your health. And I think there are a few things that we can be doing that are going to be helping us feel good so we're not feeling like we get to the end of the holiday and then the New Year's resolutions kick in and we feel like a diet seems like a really great idea when we're feeling so bad about ourselves. So let's talk about some things that we can actually do. Firstly, intuitive eating is the best thing to be doing around the holidays because normally when we're in our usual routine, we've quite set meal times, you know, like we work like this is generally when I have breakfast and this is when I have lunch, we get quite set in that routine. When we're on holidays, this is the time where we need to be a lot more relaxed in what we should be doing all the time and just trying to eat when we do actually get hungry. So let's say you went out for the weekend, you're like, I actually ate quite a bit. Wake up the next day and instead of being like, okay, well, this is what I normally have, really just try and tune and be like, when am I gonna get hungry? If I ate more yesterday, some people feel like they're hungrier the next day, and some people are less hungry. What's true for you? So using it as a real opportunity to let go of meal times and eat when you need to eat, because sometimes, you know, let's say you have a brunch and then you have a big like afternoon tea, you might find that you don't need other meals apart from that because I got to those parties and I ate what I wanted and I was actually still full. So by the time I got to dinner, I was like, I'm actually hungry for dinner. And so it's different from when you're dieting.

Jenna
 0:05:05
 To save calories for that night.

Lyndi
 0:05:07
 Yes. This is different. This is like, oh, I'm not hungry and I know that I can eat when I want, but I'm just either going to have just like maybe a piece of fruits and yogurt, but then I feel like quite fine and I don't need to eat something. So that's different and you're allowed to do that because that is part of intuitive

4
 0:05:21
 eating.

Jenna
 0:05:22
 And I suppose is it also leaning into like, it is the holidays and you have more time off and more time to check in with yourself.

Lyndi
 0:05:30
 So maybe it's about moving your body more. It's absolutely about moving your body more, especially if you're living in this Southern this southern hemisphere where the weather supposedly is meant to be nice, and you could hopefully be getting outdoors and doing things that make your body feel good. I feel like exercise is that one thing that, we talked about it in another episode, we talked about what to do when you hate your body, and one of those very important things for your energy, for sleeping well, for liking yourself, is moving your body unrelated to how much you weigh or what you should be doing. This is just something that I want us to be doing every single day, to get to the point where we're doing every single day. I think we have these rules like I should be exercising three times a week and four times a week. I don't want it to feel extreme where I'm saying you should exercise every day. What I'm saying is you should be living actively. Yeah, it shouldn't be extreme that we should be moving our bodies every day. Like, we are living things that should be moving. Yeah, like diet culture's like, hey, there's exercise and then there's not moving your body. No, there is like this middle in-between ground where you're like, actually, I want to get outside for a little bit and take my dog for a walk or I want to like walk down to the shops or whatever it is. So think about ways, especially as the days get longer in the southern hemisphere, finding ways that you can move your body more. If you are in a colder climate this time of year when it's hot in Australia, it does get a little bit trickier to find ways to move your body. But because you aren't having stringent times around, you don't have to work at certain times, you can do those exercising when the light is, when it's still light and when it's not bitterly cold at night. And I suppose another big thing in the holiday season is the labeling of foods good and bad, and then the cravings that come and the shame that comes

Jenna
 0:07:18
 from foods that you said aren't good for you.

Lyndi
 0:07:22
 Yes, and I think that is a bit of a problematic place to be in because there's so much talk around that. You know, Aunty Jenny might be like, oh, I really have to go to the gym on Monday after I eat this meal. There's gonna be those little food comments. Oh, I shouldn't be eating this food. It's really naughty of me to be having this." That's just not the case. What we want to be doing instead of, so you turn up to a meal and then you, so let's say you've got a lunch or something. You go to the lunch and you go, am I hungry? Now you check in with your hungrier, you see what's available and you eat, try and eat according to your hunger as opposed to whether or not you think something's good or bad. You're going to have a mix of foods that are healthier and less healthy. I can't lie to you and be like, no, all food is as healthy as each other. It's all morally neutral, but some food is healthier than each other. But labeling it as good or bad isn't going to be helpful. And then giving yourself a guilt trip if you have cake and then you have ice cream and then lying in bed at night and beating yourself up and saying tomorrow is going to be better, all that's going to do, especially if you've got functions all the following few weeks, that's not going to be helpful for you at all.

Jenna
 0:08:27
 Do you think it's a good place to start about thinking about all the things you can add into your diet over the holiday season as opposed to the things you need to avoid, not

Lyndi
 0:08:36
 have, take away? Absolutely. So, I mean, fiber.

3
 0:08:40
 Fiber is important.

Lyndi
 0:08:41
 Fiber is not a food, but it's in many foods. And by the way, fiber is in many foods that are carbohydrates. So a lot of these low-carb diets, they totally devoid you of any fiber. I'm a big fan of fiber. So we need carbohydrates because we need fiber in our diets. So I think that's a really nice idea. I think when, let's say you're going out and you're having your functions, and then the next day you're like, hey, what's going to make me feel good today? What's going to help my bowels to actually move so that I don't feel bloated and gross? And fiber is going to be your friend here. So when it comes to those meals, it's also like sometimes when you're picking something from a menu, instead of thinking what should I eat, and then the second thought you could have on an intuitive eating journey is what would I like to eat, the next level above that is what would I like to eat and what would make me feel good. Taking those two thoughts into consideration so that the end result is something that's gonna not only satisfy and fulfill you, hunger and emotionally, but it's going to also leave you feeling good, feeling energetic in your best self. So rather than thinking, okay, well, I can't have too many calories tomorrow because I ate too much today, thinking about, well, which foods are going to make me feel really good tomorrow? For me, that isn't summer here over the holidays. It's fruit. I like, at the moment, I'm really having frozen raspberries in plain Greek yogurt with some seeds or nuts.

Jenna
 0:10:06
 I love that.

Lyndi
 0:10:07
 I'm really, really enjoying that. So just finding those yummy snacks that feel really good for you. I'm really enjoying having a papaya with passion fruit in it. Like, oh, it's so good. It's so amazing. So rather than getting sad about all the foods you shouldn't be having, try getting excited about all the foods that you can be having. I like to fill my fridge with foods that feel like great for the season and feel fresh. In summer it's so easy to be doing that. What about you? So I, because we have Hanukkah, which this year, if you don't know, Hanukkah is like, I'm Jewish, so it falls, it's a lunar thing, so every year it's a bit different. It's not like it's the 25th, okay, a different day. Every So for us we have eight days of Hanukkah. It's not a big deal, but there's just stuff we do. We don't actually have, I don't have Christmas lunch, I don't have a Christmas tree in my house. We don't do Christmas things. So can I ask you as someone who does have Christmas, what do you think, what would you say to someone who wants to have a healthy Christmas?

Jenna
 0:11:10
 Healthy Christmas, I would say big things that can help is making sure I'm drinking enough water the whole time because again the water and the fiber they just stop you feeling good when you're not having them. I think the biggest thing to go through Christmas is just the knowing you're allowed all of the foods. It's not that you're only allowed it on this one day of the year so therefore you must eat as much as humanly possible because then you're gonna start all again tomorrow and then you feel terrible. I've screwed it up I may as well just like... May as well just keep going. It's like at the end of the day, if you want to make Christmas pudding in April because you really feel like Christmas pudding, you're allowed to do that. So therefore, on the 25th of December... 25th? 24th?

Lyndi
 0:11:53
 25th.

Jenna
 0:11:54
 I never know. On the 25th of December, you don't need to eat a whole Christmas pudding because it's allowed any day of the year. So I think it's just that permission of knowing you can eat all these foods whenever, you can do all these things, and also you don't need to be pressured into eating by anybody.

Lyndi
 0:12:11
 What do you mean by that?

Jenna
 0:12:12
 Like I think sometimes if you go somewhere and you've got a lunch and then you go to the dinner and someone's like, but I made this cake and I made this and you have to try it and you have to eat it, you don't have to do that.

Lyndi
 0:12:24
 They're allowed to feel uncomfortable with the fact that you're not eating. So you don't need to make your body uncomfortable so someone else can avoid feeling discomfort.

Jenna
 0:12:31
 You're allowed to prioritize yourself. Correct. You can say, I'd love to try some. I'll take some home and I'll have it tomorrow. There's, oh, I just don't feel like it. That's not my thing. If you do feel like it, go for it. But you don't need to be pressured to eat by people. You don't need to overeat because you think it's never going to be given to you again. And you need to make sure you're

Lyndi
 0:12:53
 keeping drinking some water. So with the alcohol thing, I think it's a biggie. Something that worked for me was, you know when you arrive at an event and someone offers you a drink straight away, I'd say no at that opportunity, just so I can kind of settle in a little bit. And then when everyone's kind of on their second drink, that's when I kind of chimed in with my first drink. I know that sounds weird, but for me it was like I felt so much better. I drank so much less. It felt so easy for me to drink less. So for me drinking alcohol boosts my anxiety. So if you're kind of going well it's been a few weeks of holiday eating, is it the eating or is it the depressive alcohol that you're having on top of it plus the fact that you're not moving your body and all these things that actually help you feel good because alcohol is a huge one that you know I don't want to encourage us to be getting to a perspective where it's like all or nothing and we go through a month of never having alcohol and then we binge drink it again. But can we have a healthy relationship with it where you know you can have as much as you need to feel good but we're not getting to the point where we're devastated the next day because we drank way too much again?

Jenna
 0:13:55
 Correct. And you're right. It adds to the anxiety around everything, around food, around your body. It adds to everything. Sometimes I find I'm like the opposite. It's easy to say yes for the first drink and then yes for the second drink, and then by the third drink, everyone's forgotten about you.

Lyndi
 0:14:14
 So then you can just so easily not pour yourself another one. You know what I mean? It's like that heat's on you right at the start, and then two drinks in, no one cares about anyone else anymore. See I feel like two drinks in I'm like tipsy and I'm like oh of course I want another drink. Oh yes, well that is the problem. I'm like I'm over it now. Okay good. Okay so I guess what we're saying is this is about experimentation. And what works for you. And finally what works for you. So you're gonna have to play around and instead of just going to the guidebook about how to be healthy over the holidays, like are you the kind of person who it's better when you don't have breakfast because you're not hungry or you someone and that's what works for you. I don't know what it is for you, so why don't you play around and any some clues that this eating isn't working for you. So if you feel sluggish, if you're hating on your body, if you're feeling like blah, if you are sleeping terribly, if you feel bloated and gross all the time, these are some clues that you're not like living the best life that you should be living. What we can be doing is trying to tune into your hunger, trying to crowd in more of those healthy foods, creating like an environment in your house where you've got the foods that you want to be eating, knowing when you go to a party you can have whatever you have, becoming really mindful of alcohol and not because of the calories in alcohol. Just because of how it makes you feel. Exactly, how it makes you feel. Knowing you can have dessert, knowing you can have it now, you can have it tomorrow, you can have it in April, you can have it whenever you need to have it, that the holiday season is just a temporary time in your life. It's not going to destroy your health. You're allowed to relax around food. And I will say something about this is, I know some people don't have this experience, but if you've ever gone away on holiday and you've truly relaxed around food, you've truly just eaten whenever you wanted, you haven't at the back of your mind been thinking, oh, I just need to like try to lose weight. If you've truly relaxed, I come back from holiday and I crave home-cooked food, I crave more movement, I crave lightness and all that kind of stuff. And I feel like the holiday period, if you allow it to be a relaxed, intuitive time, you can also get to the point where it comes to like, you know, your post-Christmas and you go, I don't even want this. I want to move more and eat more home-cooked food and it doesn't have to feel like a New Year's resolution where you have to throw yourself into...

Jenna
 0:16:31
 It's just you getting back into normal life.

Lyndi
 0:16:33
 Yeah, and what you'll find is as soon as you return to normal eating, it's in your body's interest for you to be healthy. It's in your body's interest for you to weigh the same. Your body really does want to keep you the same weight. So it has a whole bunch of metabolic processes that it does to adjust so when you're eating more calories at a certain period, as long as it feels like a temporary period for your body, your body's like, well, we'll just speed up our metabolism to deal with this. So remembering you have that protective mechanism in your body, so if it's just a few weeks of eating more calories, your body's like, I got this, we can deal with this. And all you need to do instead of back-flipping into the diet chaos, is just to go back to eating normally. Go back to eating when you feel like it, crowding in more of those healthy foods, so you feel good.

Jenna
 0:17:15
 I think the biggest takeaway of this is whatever you do over the holidays, if it's spending time with your family or your friends or just relaxing by yourself, whatever you choose to do, it can be a really nice time of the year. It doesn't need to be a time of the year that is controlled by food. There is a lot of stresses already going on with Christmas and holidays and presents and making people happy. You don't need to add to that fuel by stress about food that doesn't need to be there.

Lyndi
 0:17:46
 My wish for you is that this is the year you finally stop dieting for good, that you never have to get to New Year's resolution and be like, I have to try and lose weight. You deserve a life where you're not controlled by food or how much you weigh. And also if you want some help in doing that, I have my FFDiets challenge which I'm running at the moment. It's just a 30-day free challenge that you can do that I'll give you guidance to help you stop dieting so that when it comes to the holidays, when it comes to New Year's, you're not getting trapped into yet another diet. I had this client once who was like – she's trying to come up with her New Year's resolutions and she was like, okay, I want to know what to – maybe I cut out this food or maybe I stopped doing this." And her husband said to her, what if this is the first year that you don't weigh yourself? What if this is the year that you stop dieting? And it was like a light bulb moment for her. She was like, oh my goodness, imagine, imagine if I did. And then several years later, we're in communication and she's telling me how much her life is so much better as a result of that resolution, which is a much healthier resolution. Also, just a quick little shout out that my book is coming out on Jan 10th. It's called Your Weight Is Not the Problem, and it's all about the psychology of eating. If you like this podcast, if you've ever liked a single word that's come out of my mouth, you will love it. You really are going to love it. I worked really hard on this. It's got lots of beautiful stories in it and also really tangible, great strategies that I think you can start implementing straight away without getting sucked into the diet bullshit. Hey guys, please sign up to the F diet challenge and find that on my website. I hope you have a delicious, delicious happy holidays, whether it's Christmas or Hanukkah or nothing at all.

Jenna
 0:19:30
 Whatever you're doing, enjoy your little break if you get one.

Lyndi
 0:19:36
 Do you feel like you know what you should be eating but you feel completely out of control with food? You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge. Well, if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code PODCAST when you check out via the website and because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money-back guarantee because you know what? You just got to give these things a go, no risk. Give it a try. Give it a try. Check out KeeperReal.