The holidays are here! Which means that nutritional temptation lurks around every corner, and indulging in any way will surely ruin all of the hard work we put in during the rest of the year, right?!?
Well not quite…. we all spend far too much time feeling guilty over, beating ourselves up about and generally feeling conflicted about what we should and shouldn’t eat during the holiday season. The bottom line is this, indulgence is OK, eating things that are good is OK, and enjoying said things is definitely OK! Ultimately a calorie is still a calorie, whether it comes from a healthful (but not always appealing) piece of broccoli, or from a delicious (but not always healthful) butter tart. If you are enjoying your holiday treats within, or nearly within, the construct of your normal nutritional allowance no harm will come of it. For example if you normally consume 2400 calories a day, having some of those calories coming from some of the sweeter things in life (and oh so many good things come to mind!) won’t ruin you or your health goals.
Yes we should all aim for less processed, more fresh and whole foods, but extreme restriction, ex not allowing yourself any of the foods you really enjoy even when you really really want them, will only lead to problems down the road. How long can you sustain this restriction, for a month, a year, can you really say no to the things you enjoy for the rest of your life?? And why? Enjoying foods you like in moderation is far better than going to the extremes of attempting to cut them out entirely, better for you mentally and ultimately physically as it will decrease the likelihood of binge eating later on and hopefully help you avoid the disordered eating that has so unfortunately become the ‘norm’.
Now it isn’t to say that these very enjoyable foods can’t also be healthful at the same time, I recently met a very very tasty vegan chocolate pudding made from avocado’s, we’ve become lifelong friends very quickly. So if you can turn your indulgence into a partially healthful experience at the same time you’re even more ahead of the game.
Bottom line don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily, don’t make yourself victim of your own guilt trips and don’t stress so much over the small moments of nutritional joy you have over the holidays. So go forth, eat, be merry and above all enjoy the moments that really matter (and these moments do not include guilt over one cookie you ate earlier today!).
In health and training,
The Fitness Ninja’s