Everybody says it, this is truly the best time of the year to enjoy as much food as we want: mince pies, endless amounts of Christmas chocolate and of course a huge Christmas dinner. For someone like myself who has struggled and continues to struggle with their relationship with food, this can be an extremely challenging and frustrating time of year.
My experience with food
Looking back two years ago, my mental health and relationship with food was at the lowest point it had ever been. Everywhere I looked there was so much temptation and constantly hearing "it's Christmas, just treat yourself" was overbearing. For me, it wasn't as easy as 'just treat yourself', as the thought of consuming foods that I deemed 'bad' made me feel guilty before I even ate them.
When Christmas Day rolled around, I was exhausted from battling with the constant voice in my head saying, "Should you really be eating that?" and, "Don't do it, otherwise you'll put all of your weight back on". This is where the battles stemmed from; I was proud of myself for losing weight, but I wasn’t prepared for the mental exhaustion that came along after it.
Something had to change
After Christmas that year I knew I couldn't carry on like this. I dreaded to think that my mental health would take such a hit whenever Christmas came around - I needed to change. Don't get me wrong, it certainly wasn't a quick fix, but what seemed to help me a lot was incorporating more treats throughout the year and not just waiting for Christmas to do so.
Last Christmas I could tell something was different. I managed to enjoy the full day, food included, and not constantly be thinking about the calories and the nutritional factor - I just enjoyed myself and the food.
Just a reminder
I wanted to write this in case anybody else was experiencing similar thoughts. I wish I had someone to tell me that worrying is simply doing nothing and it’s wasting my time. Try and enjoy yourself and indulge now and again with your favourite Christmas food - it won't do any harm and you'll feel better for it.