08 Dec Let Go of Food Guilt This Holiday Season + Bonus Healthy Gift Guide!
The holiday season is in full swing and with that comes many meals and gatherings with the people you love. Dinners, potlucks, sweet treats, and more! For some, this is a really exciting time. But for others, it can bring up a lot of negative emotions around food. In fact, I find that many of my nutrition clients struggle with food guilt, especially around the holidays.
Food guilt is extremely common and I can guess that most of you reading this have felt guilty about the food you ate at one time or another.
Maybe you eat an extra serving at dinner and feel the need to “work” it off the next day. Or perhaps you have a few sweet treats and immediately scold yourself for it. These are all actions that are driven by food guilt.
However, it is important for you to know that feeling guilty about food is not serving you. It can actually be harming your mental and physical health in the long run. This is especially true if you suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes.
In today’s article, I want to shine a light on the topic of food guilt and some steps you can take to release it. As we go into the holiday season, I encourage you to take this information with you and share it with anyone else who you think could benefit.
I also include a healthy holiday gift guide with 10 ideas for wellness gifts that you can get for yourself or for your loved ones! So keep reading to learn more and let’s get started.
Why Should You Release Food Guilt?
In order to be able to release food guilt, it is important to understand what it is and why it isn’t logical.
You eat hundreds and thousands of meals in your lifetime. This includes a large variety of different foods and food ingredients. When you eat certain foods that normally make you feel guilty, remember that it is only one part of the large picture. It isn’t going to set you back in the way you may think.
So during the holidays, don’t let yourself feel down if your food choices are different than your normal day-to-day eating. This is a time meant for fun treats, homemade dishes, new recipes, and cultural traditions. Release any food rules you have set in place for yourself.
The bottom line is this: feeling guilty over what you eat won’t make you any healthier!
What makes a difference is your long-term eating trends. Learn how to practice self-compassion in your daily nutrition choices, especially if you are managing a health condition like diabetes.
Following these next 4 tips below is a great start to help you get there.
4 Tips for Letting Go of Food Guilt
Reframe Your Mindset
When you feel guilt sneaking up on you after eating, the best thing you can do is reframe your mindset. I recommend taking a pause when you start to feel these emotions. Ask yourself if these are logical or rational thoughts and then reframe that mindset.
Remind yourself that there is no room for food guilt in a balanced and healthy diet. Balanced means just that- a balance between healthful and pleasurable foods. You can’t have a balance without having some of both!
You get to decide the narrative that you follow when you eat. Choose to not have food rules, because there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Instead, think of food as just that- food!
Show Yourself Compassion
Showing yourself compassion is a tangible way to help you release food guilt. You are only human, and sometimes emotions are going to come and go. Be kind to yourself and practice self-love and self-care during these times.
Know in your heart that you are not defined by the food you eat or what is on your plate. There are so many more interesting things to be focusing on and paying attention to! Give yourself compassion and grace in these moments.
Eat Mindfully and Slowly
Mindful eating is a style of eating that emphasizes slowing down, focusing on your eating experience, and tuning into the sensations. It encourages you to heighten your awareness about what you are eating, but without any judgment. Being mindful also helps tune into your hunger and fullness cues which can really help prevent overeating.
When you tune into your food and become more attentive to it, you can be fully present and enjoy what is in front of you. If you are feeling guilty over what you eat, it is really hard to find enjoyment in that food. But food is meant to be savored and enjoyed!
When going into the next few holiday gatherings, take a moment to slow down and be more mindful while you eat. Express gratitude for the amazing food on your plate that you get the privilege to eat!
Bonus action tip: during your next celebration, go around the table before eating and have everyone list three things they are grateful for. Make at least one of these things a food or dish you are planning to eat.
Lean Into Your Daily Habits
Keeping up with your non-negotiable habits and routines can help prevent food guilt and set yourself up for success. During the holidays, it is likely that you will be out of your normal routine.
However, it is critical to stick with your daily habits even when your routine changes because you are less likely to experience guilt and negative emotions around food! A few important habits to focus on are staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating a variety of plant foods, and engaging in mindful movement.
It is also important to not let yourself go all day without eating, even if you have a big holiday meal coming up. If you wait until dinner to eat, this can backfire and make you feel more guilty about food and intensify cravings.
Another way to keep those cravings in check is to start your morning off with protein. Choose a breakfast such as eggs or oatmeal that provides you with 15-20 grams of protein!
Healthy Holiday Gift Guide
Below I am going to include some of my favorite items to give as gifts from a registered dietitian nutritionist!
Air fryers significantly cut the amount of oil used. They cook food quickly and evenly, and you have complete control over how much oil you use. As for taste, air fryers come pretty close to fried food minus the heavy sluggish feeling after. I love the foodie ninja grill, it’s easy to cook up meals and even warm food up! It’s a multi-purpose kitchen appliance that makes meal prep a breeze.
Forgetting to take supplements is a huge barrier that many people face. Getting a supplement container helps you stay organized and reminds you to take them on the right day. They are also great for traveling since you can take them with you wherever you go.
This book is an excellent read to help you establish routines. If you struggle with creating and sticking with habits, this book is for you! It provides you with easy strategies to put in place. This is a great book for anyone on your list!
This may already be a pantry staple, but splurging on a high-quality oil is something many people typically don’t buy for themselves. Olive oil is one of the healthiest foods we can consume in our diet. It is anti-inflammatory properties that help to fight inflammation inside your body.
Reusable water bottles have many benefits! They are not only better for the environment, but they also keep your drinks nice and cold. Additionally, the straw top makes it easier to drink water while working or driving. I personally love the 1-litre bottles!
Getting adequate sleep is crucial to meet your health goals. Any sort of light can negatively affect your quality of sleep. Using an eye mask can help you get a better quality of sleep by allowing your body to go into a deeper rest.
Strength training is good for everyone—and it’s great for helping people with diabetes and insulin resistance feel their best in terms of energy, fitness, and blood sugar levels. These high-quality resistance bands help you build muscle mass without requiring investment in a set of weights or a gym membership. Plus, they’re great for traveling!
Starting your day with protein can really help prevent cravings, and keep blood sugar levels balanced and energy levels high. Adding protein to your coffee is a quick and easy way to boost your protein. Allo protein gift sets are a great gift for yourself or someone you love. Use code Anar20 for 20% off at checkout!
The stress of living with diabetes or any chronic illness can have a major impact on your mood and emotional well-being. Blood sugars and mental health go hand in hand. Meditation can add a little more centeredness and peace to anyone, especially those with a chronic condition. A subscription to a meditation app that helps support developing a sustainable habit makes a perfect gift.
Liva is an all-natural sweetener made from dehydrated dates. It is a great swap for refined sugar. Bonus – this sweetener includes fibre which helps control blood sugar spikes and helps with fullness. It is a great swap to use for baking more blood sugar-friendly treats.
Releasing Food Guilt: The Takeaway
With the start of the New Year coming, there is no better time to check in with yourself and your relationship with food. If you find that you are experiencing food guilt, try to practice some of these methods to help you let go and release any negative emotions.
This will allow you to be mindful and present in the current moment. You will be able to enjoy yourself more when you aren’t spending all of your time feeling guilty over what you are eating.
Instead, you can put that energy into fulfilling and enjoyable meals and conversations with the people you love. I hope you all can implement some of this advice and have a truly amazing Christmas and New Year!
If you are looking to start your New Year off on the right foot, head over to my services page to learn about my nutrition coaching programs!