The holiday season is almost upon us. For those in the US it starts earlier than the rest of us because of Thanksgiving (but only just!). Here in the UK, Christmas preparations seem to start earlier and earlier. I’m not quite sure how it will go this year with Covid, but given how damaging it’s been for the economy, I’m expecting more emphasis, not less.
In normal circumstances, the holiday season can be a fraught time for many people. It’s usually very busy. There’s a lot to do and we often heap expectations onto ourselves that just exacerbate the stress. Add in personal struggles with food and body image at a time when there is a lot of special food around, a lot of socialising and family dynamics to include in the mix – and – well – it can be challenging to say the least. This year there may well be less socialising. For some, this might be a blessing (because you can avoid uncomfortable situations), for others, it may bring more difficulties.
It doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming
This holiday season can be different (even if there’s a pandemic).
Christmas used to be incredibly stressful for me. From the time the advent calendars went up (1st December), I was bingeing. We have a reusable advent calendar which has little cloth pockets for each day in December. When our kids were little, Father Christmas’s little helpers would fill them up each night. One for each child and one for my husband, because Mummy didn’t eat sugar…
Well, you can imagine what used to happen. This little helper would eat all the supplies on her own and have to refill them again and again.
The same thing would happen with the edible decorations we’d hang on the tree. I’d have to buy extra supplies because I’d eat them way before Christmas! I remember one time I’d eaten the decorations when it was almost Christmas day and the supermarkets had run out of them. I was so ashamed. I can’t remember what lie I made up about why they’d disappeared 😳.
By the time it came to Christmas day, I was on a roll of binge eating. I ate and ate and ate. Mince pies, Christmas chocolates, Christmas biscuits – I was indiscriminate. I didn’t pay attention to hunger, fullness or satisfaction. I ate foods I didn’t even enjoy. This didn’t end on Christmas day – I kept going because I had a deadline – New Year’s Day… you know – the start of International Diet month. I had a ritual of setting my goals for the year on the 31st of December. They always contained some new way of eating, some way to restrict – maybe I’d cut out sugar, or chocolate – sometimes I went even more extreme. I was ever hopeful that this time, I would stick to it – and not only that – it would magically solve my food issues.
I have good news for you
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, the December period seems to affect everyone because of all the focus on consumption: food, alcohol and ‘stuff’. It’s hard to get away from no matter what you believe or what traditions you follow.
I want you to know that it can be a time of peace, joy and connection instead of stress, overdoing and overeating.
These days Christmas is so different for me. Together with my family, we’ve created the kind of experience that is meaningful to us and meets our needs. I’ve let go of so many internalised expectations and demands about how Christmas should look and what I should be doing that it’s now a time of restoration rather than one in which I run myself ragged.
And in terms of food? The Christmas period is now no different from any other time in the year in terms of how I approach food. I eat when I’m hungry most of the time. I stop when I’m comfortably full, most of the time. I enjoy my food. There’s no diet starting on New Year, so no need to binge my way through December.
I’ve created a 6-week online course called Peaceful Eating Over the Holidays to help you do just that.
I know the holiday period is busy enough – you’re probably thinking – do I really have the bandwidth for more?
Let me reassure you. It’s not an intensive course that will require a lot of you. There’s one lesson a week which you’ll receive via email. The lesson content is available as an audio download or as a PDF to read. They are not long. I’m presenting you with manageable bits of information and manageable reflections for you to engage with. There are some worksheets too. I’ll be doing 4 Facebook Live Q&A sessions and one Zoom group coaching call in January, as a bonus for those who register in the first 72 hours. The group call is to check in, celebrate, explore missteps and discern next steps. If you can’t make it live that’s ok. You can ask your questions in advance and watch the replay later:).
Want to know more?
Week 1: We’ll explore self-care and setting some intentions for the holiday season.
Week 2: We’ll talk about how to prepare yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually (if that’s important to you).
Week 3: We’ll explore all those food rules that inevitably lead you into dysfunctional eating patterns.
Week 4: We explore 4 important aspects to eating that will make it so much more enjoyable and peaceful.
Week 5: We reflect on the last few weeks – what worked and what didn’t. We learn from the experience so we can course correct for the next time.
Week 6: This is all about approaching the New Year in a way that actually works for you and is supportive, instead of the same-old-same-old goals and plans to diet!
Sound good? And guess what? This year I’m making it super easy to say yes – you can choose a payment option that fits your budget. It’s my way of giving you a little Christmas present after the Covid 19 Nightmare Before Christmas 😜.
I’d love to have you join us! Let’s make this a truly peaceful and joyful holiday season… Go here to get all the details and to book your place.
Need help from an expert?
If you’ve had enough of being on and off a diet, feeling ashamed of your body and how you eat, binge eating or emotional overeating — you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll help you discover how to let go of all the food rules, trust your own body and reclaim your innate worthiness — so you can live your life unapologetically and focus on what really matters to you.