• Dietitian Kirsty


Updated: Oct 8, 2021

As I post this, the UK government have announced further lockdowns and an extra tier due to COVID, which has undoubtedly caused feelings of upset, stress and anxiety as many of our festive plans have changed. So, to try and help remove one element of stress for you here are my top tips for ENJOYING the moment this festive season with some food freedom.

But first.... What is Food Freedom?

Food freedom is having the ability to choose what foods to eat to nourish your body, without it having a label or rule attached to it. Food freedom means having the choice to have all foods, including dessert and 'healthy foods' without being on a diet!

Food freedom is being in control of the choices you make regarding food and how you choose to nourish your body, instead of the food or a particular weight loss diet controlling you. Food freedom can come from learning to eat intuitively, instead of what a diet plan, magazine or "influencer" says. Intuitive Eating often gets labelled as the "eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full" diet, but it is MUCH more than that!

Learning to eat intuitively can facilitate a shift in the pattern of eating and lifestyle behaviours and helps encourage people to listen to their bodies internal needs and cues around food.

This can help people who frequently overeat or who constantly yo-yo diet to heal their relationship with food. Winner!

So, let's ignore the food police and the ever impending tirade of “New Year, New me” diet marketing that will start to fill TV screens, papers and magazines after Christmas. You don’t need a new you, or to take part in Veganuary if you don't want to, nor should you feel guilty around the foods that you’re eating. To help you enjoy these tasty festive treats this season, here are my top tips:

1. Swap distractions for savouring the moment

Regardless of what you are eating, focus on how the food smells, tastes, feels and how you feel before, during and after eating it. When I say no distractions that means no phones, work and no TV too. Of course you don’t have to do this all the time, but when you’re having these delicious festive foods, why not dedicate some time to actually enjoying every moment of them?

You might be surprised how often you’ve been eating past your fullness because you were distracted!

2. Check in with yourself

Check in with yourself halfway through eating, how are you feeling? Full? Still hungry? Becoming re-energised? Whether it’s a meal or a snack, use this time to see how you are feeling. You want to be satisfied knowing you can move on with your day without A) thinking about the next meal and B) Feeling like you’ve overdone it.

3. Keep a journal

Try to complete a 4-day food and mood journal. Pay attention to how your body feels before, during and after eating. Take note of any patterns that you notice from completing the journal and consider what action you can take to help make you feel better. You can download a free copy of the food and mood journal in the. Gut Instinct Community Facebook group.

4. Balance your snacks

When having foods such as fruits or carbohydrates– try and pair it with something that has some protein in. e.g. a tablespoon of peanut butter or some high protein yoghurt. The protein will help you feel satisfied and will slow the release of energy from carbohydrates.

5. Ditch the number on the scales

For at least 1 month – stop using your weight as a measure of your success. Focus on how you feel, do you feel better for stretching and moving your body, or getting out and going for a walk? Perhaps you could go for a walk in your lunch break to get some fresh air?

You are more than a number on the scales and life is for living, so seize the day and

Reflect on your epic characteristics, things that aren't focused around your looks or weight.

Do what makes your soul and body happy and healthy, whatever that looks like to you.

Plus, If you would like to know more about how eating intuitively can work for you and how you can heal and enhance your relationship with food in 2021, get in touch.

Last of all, and most importantly, please be safe, be kind and do enjoy yourself this festive season.

Sending you lots of love!

Kirsty xx

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