How many times have you told yourself “You shouldn’t eat that,” “Don’t drink another one” or “Don’t have any of those”?
Before you know it, you’ve eaten or drank two to three times as much as you were trying to avoid! Many have been there.
And Christmas season is the perfect time of year for “should-nots” when it comes to our health. Shouldn’t have those shortbread cookies at work, shouldn’t put all that cream cheese in the desert, shouldn’t be drinking so much pop and shouldn’t have had all those rum and egg nogs or have polished off that third bottle of wine with friends — especially when “friends” consist of you and one other person.
But is the guilt you feel or the time you waste pining over cutting out the fat or avoiding the desert table or muscling up the willpower to stop eating your favourite Christmas treats really any healthier?
Of course I’m referring to your mental, emotional and social health in this case. And at times they are just as important as your physical health.
Health should never be about forcing yourself to avoid things you enjoy. In fact, it should be the opposite.
This doesn’t mean that you should overindulge in unhealthy foods because that’s what you enjoy. The goal is to reach a state of health that allows you to know when to eat well and when to allow yourself to not be so perfect.
It should always be a conscious choice.
And by conscious I mean having a full awareness of both the health and social implications.
Those who don’t necessarily struggle with indulgences are in this state. They can easily “not drink” or overeat because they’re not putting that limitation on themselves in the first place. It’s just a conscious choice. You may want to enjoy some indulgences with friends and that’s OK. Just don’t be hard on yourself.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, whose theories principally developed the Myers-Briggs personality test, put it nicely in saying: “What you resist persists.”
He found that his patients who tried to change something they didn’t like about themselves would actually enhance the very thing they didn’t like because they put all their focus on it. So if you focus on not eating that cake, you may just eat more than you would have if you had just not put that limitation on yourself.
So the solution to resisting treats?
Stop worrying about it so much. Let go and change your focus from what you “shouldn’t” do and put some energy into what you should do.
Focus on exercising, staying hydrated and nourished throughout the day and you won’t have so many urges.
Perhaps choose some more all-round healthful activities.
Focus on the fun of Christmas. Good times with friends, outdoor skating, tobogganing, peppermint tea and movies with the family, playing board games, or learning to make a healthy “treat” that still tantalizes your taste buds.
There are many “treats” of Christmas to be enjoyed. No need to resist anything. Just enjoy.
Healthy and Simple
Chocolate Turtle Treats
12 whole dates
12 whole pecans
¾ cup dark organic chocolate chips
Line a tray with parchment paper. Remove pits from each date and replace with pecan. Use a fork to roll each date in chocolate melted in a double boiler and place on tray. Refrigerate and serve when cool.
Source: Health by Chocolate
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at email@example.com.