My take on this is rather simple and to the point: Don’t worry about it!
Carb up as much as you want, on whatever you want!
Try this out: Give yourself on average 20 days off of any dietary restrictions per year.
So for most Westerners, it looks like this:
a) from December 24 to January 1
b) Ten days during the yearly holidays. For some it’ll be Spring Break with their kids
or summer holidays.
This is why endorsing a guilt-free eating policy during the Christmas
Holidays is important:
1) During the holidays, food experience goes beyond nutrients.
Festive eating brings in all sorts of happy neurotransmitters and
brings down cortisol (if you really enjoy it guilt-free).
2) Body composition does not suffer that much, and in fact,
actually improves in some individuals because their carb intake
has been too low for too long.
3) Blood values such as Hb1Ac, don’t worsen so much that the
damage cannot be offset with two weeks on going back on the healthy lifestyle.
4) The reality is that you will have 5 to 8 of those meals: Office Christmas Party,
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day lunch and/or dinner, New Year’s Eve, and January 1 meal(s).
Compared the 1,800 meals a year you are having…. ?
Yes, for example, if you like cheesecake (like I do) or any dessert you like for that matter,
you can have as much as you want and do it guilt-free. And no, your arteries will not harden overnight.
The same goes for alcohol.
Here are the three rules regarding this refuel break:
1) Enjoy every bite. Guilt is NOT on the menu.
2) No complaining though. If you are bloated, have gas, have headaches,
joint pain goes up, you can’t complain. It is a reminder why eating clean 50 weeks a year
works for you. Consider it a short-term study on the effects of inflammatory foods on your health.
3) GO TO TOWN! (so to speak). Go for it, eat as much as you want. Remember no guilt though.
What is the reality here? You are probably going to go off the wagon
at least December 24, 25 and 31, and January 1. And maybe your office party.
Do you think those 4 or 5 days are going to ruin a year of effort? Absolutely not.
If you said yes, your training intensity needs to come up and you probably don’t eat too well the rest of the year.
See it as a refuel break. Not a cheat week. (Remember no guilt here).
Have fun with your loved ones. Savour every bite. Be merry. January 2 is just around the corner.
P.S. This year my go-to treats are cheesecake, pumpkin pie and my wife’s yummy gluten-free banana bread. Who’s with me on that? What are your guilt-free go-to dishes?
P.P.S. On your death bed you won’t regret those two servings of dessert 😉
This article was adapted from Charles Poliquin’s article Dealing With Holiday Food Temptations and Guilt.