Enjoy a guilt free Christmas

By Indira Das-Gupta

Last Christmas with my two favourite people

“2020 has been a hoot”, said nobody ever. So it’s little wonder that some people started putting their Christmas trees up in October because after everything that this year has thrown at us, we're all looking forward to the festive period more than usual. And Christmas tends to go hand in hand with indulgence, or to be more accurate, over indulgence.

It’s the one time of the year when you can get away with pouring Bailey’s on your cereal in the morning and still be tucking into the Quality Street in the small hours. Ok so maybe the Bailey’s on your cornflakes would be a step too far, but it’s fair to say that we all tend to eat and drink more over the festive period.

We also move less as we binge not only on food but also Netflix. Now I’m not advocating gluttony but I also think that we need to stop labelling foods as “good” or “bad” and then feeling guilty when we eat too much of the latter. What makes a food “bad” exactly? Well we can probably all agree that eating lentils every day will have a more positive impact on our health than having a dozen pigs in blankets. But that’s not to say that pigs in blankets are bad for you per se - WHEN CONSUMED IN MODERATION.

A typical light Christmas snack?

And that’s the crux of the matter, too much of anything is not good for us - even lentils, imagine the gas! Have a few pigs in blankets is that’s what you fancy - or have some Quality Street, but just maybe don’t eat the entire tin in one sitting.

It’s precisely because we label foods in this way that we crave more of the "naughty" stuff, which then makes us more likely to over do it which is then closely followed by feeling guilty. So then we vow to cut out all the naughty stuff, to eat only fruit and veg and go for a 10 mile run before our meagre breakfast of hot water with lemon.

Little wonder then that after two days of this we crack and we’re back to Bailey’s for breakfast. Don’t get caught up in this toxic cycle any more.

Enjoy all the delicious food that goes hand in hand with Christmas. Watch a great film, or five, with your family, relax and have fun. But remember, you can actually eat stilton and chocolate at any time of the year. And maybe when you remind yourself of that you won’t feel the need to consume it like there’s a global shortage of the stuff.

You also don’t need to punish yourself for eating nice food by forcing yourself to do a really hardcore work out. It’s lovely to go for a walk with loved ones after a nice meal and to make sure you get a bit of fresh air, but don’t just do it because you feel you have to do penance. I intend to take a break from Yoga because my body needs a rest but that doesn’t mean I’m going to lie spreadeagled on my sofa liked a spatchcock chicken until the new year either.

When you stop depriving yourself of things so much for the rest of the year, you might find that you don’t feel the need to go quite so crazy at Christmas any more. Or think what you might say to a small child, your inner child in fact, “Yes of course you can have another mince pie, it’s Christmas! But don’t eat the whole lot because you’ll feel sick.”

I went to a Catholic school when I was growing up so I am well versed in the art of feeling guilty. But you know what I realised? Guilt really doesn’t serve any purpose other than to make you feel rubbish about yourself. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. So if you do “accidentally” end up inhaling the contents of your cheeseboard over Christmas, maybe give cheese a bit of a rest for a while, but don’t beat yourself up about it to the point when you feel so depressed that you are bulk buying Brie again.

If you value yourself then you will treat yourself with compassion this Christmas. Enjoy treating yourself but if you take it to such extremes that you end up feeling ill, that’s not being kind to yourself. Don’t retox just so you can detox. Just treat yourself with the love you deserve.

Merry Christmas!

If my blog resonates with you or got you thinking then please follow me @indiranorthlondonyoga on Instagram


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