Love yourself this Christmas

Christmas time (or festivities in general) are tightly connected to food. No wonder, because food doesn’t just provide us with energy, but also means connection, tradition, belonging… all of which is deeply nourishing and important.

However, it can be a challenging time, if you try to eat healthy, because it’s also a time where cookies, chocolate santas, traditional sweets and Glühwein are even more omnipresent – in the shops, in the streets, and even in the office – and of course at home. What usually happens is that you either drop or compromise your good habits for a while, or you use all your willpower to stay strong. In both cases you usually feel bad – either guilty for indulging or deprived and isolated for not participating. 

There’s a third way however. It’s what I like to call the way of love. Love for ALL of you, your body, your mind and your soul. It’s as simple as asking yourself: What would be the most loving thing to do right now? The answer can vary depending on the circumstances, your individual constitution, your bigger goals and the quality of the temptation.

Generally, if you care about your health and your body, the most loving choice would probably be to say NO to the temptation most of the times – especially if the treat in question is of low-quality (as most of those available commercially or on Christmas markets are). This is especially true if you have a bigger goal, such as recovering from a health-related condition (or preventing it) or optimizing your fertility, or if you know, that your body is simply more sensitive than other peoples’ bodies. Even if it makes you feel temporarily frustrated, teaching yourself the concept of “delayed gratification” can be a very loving thing to do, as most parents would confirm. Because even if we usually think about sweets and alcohol as a reward, they are most often rather a punishment to our physiology.

However, sometimes the most loving thing to do is indeed to say YES to the treat, no matter its quality. This could be the case if the taste reminds you of your childhood (and that memory is actually a good one), or if it simply belongs to a certain experience to make it feel “complete”. It could also be worth to say YES if eating the treat would make another person extremely happy – like your grandma, who prepared your favorite cake just for you. However, in other cases, saying NO might be what is needed in such situations, in order to set clear boundaries and stop eating just to please others.

There are no clear rules, you really have to judge for yourself from case to case. To do so, really tune in with yourself and be honest about your true needs and motivations. Do you really need that additional cookie or are you simply bored? Does it really make a difference whether you drink Glühwein or a tea on the Christmas market? Do you really need it to complete the experience, or rather to avoid the discomfort of sticking out? Does having dessert really provide you that much of added value and if so, could a few spoon-fulls do the trick? As a general rule of thumb, indulging should bring you EXTREME joy and pleasure, not just some “ordinary” version of it. You should want to really take your time and savor your treat. If you just gulp it down, you are probably betraying yourself about your true motivations.

My wish for you is that you learn to change your perspective from “I cannot have that food – I feel deprived – poor me” to “I could have that food, but I CHOOSE to not have it, because it actually hurts me – I feel empowered and good about myself, because I take care about my well-being – lucky me”.


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