Health At Every Size

Eat, drink and be mindful this Christmas

Ah, Christmas. “The most wonderful time of the year”, I was assured today while listening to Andy Williams sing his famous festive song, as my daughters danced around me. This led me to thinking..

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year, with the full force of diet culture at large?

Diet culture is ever present in our society, but never more so than in Summer. Social media influence peaks and celebrities ramp up the marketing of diet products, shakes, pills, lollipops (gasp) and food products that promise what everyone thinks they want (weight loss), but don’t deliver in the long term. What these products and their promoters fail to communicate is that there is collateral damage from each failed diet. This collateral damage is what I see in my day to day practice as a Dietitian/Nutritionist, and what I attempt to clean up.

Not only are diets not delivering on their promise, they are pushing clients further away from body trust and damaging their relationship with food.

We’ve all been there. New year, new fancy way of eating (dieting), with possibly 1 or 2 food groups missing, depending on who you follow online. Imagine for a minute if you can, a Christmas where you could actually eat the foods that you actually felt like eating, without the negative diet rhetoric.  Do any of these phrases sound familiar?

  • The diet starts January 1st, so now I can eat anything
  • I’m on holidays so the calories don’t count
  • I’ve been good all day (skipped breakfast, small handful nuts for lunch), so I’ve earned that block of dark chocolate 
  • A friend from the gym has recently cut out Gluten and has lost weight, so I might do the same
  • Friend of a friend is doing a 30 day detox so I will jump on board to remove all of the festive season “toxins”

Some of these might strike a chord with you, and others may not. The common theme however is deprivation ⇒ over-consumption ⇒ repeat. And there, in all it’s glory, is the dieting cycle. 

If you are considering a weight loss diet for the new year, I pose a question that I urge you to have answered before you begin said diet. 

Are you realistically likely to achieve the weight loss that is promoted to you and be able to sustain it long-term?

If no one can answer that for you, there is your answer. 

Picture of a lamington on a plate with the quote "Dieting is simply an eating disorder in training" by Fiona Willer, 2018.

As an alternative to being a continuous participant of the never-ending cycle of diets, I offer a refreshing, supportive, inquisitive, compassionate and evidence-based approach to weight concern. Who wouldn’t be keen for that?

This post was written by Madeleine Baumgart and first appeared on That Healthy Girl blog on Wednesday 19th December, 2018 https://thathealthygirl.com.au/2018/12/08/eat,-drink-and-be-mindful-this-christmas/

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