Shed the guilt and enjoy the cookies this holiday season

(Isabel Williams is the Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer in Stittsville.)

Our relationship with food can be especially difficult around the holidays. We want to enjoy ourselves and all the deliciousness the season brings, but sometimes feelings of guilt can take away from this delicious time. Guilt takes up so much of our time and energy, while pulling our enjoyment away from celebrating with friends and family. This year, it’s time to try something new. It’s time to eat the cookies.

As your local Stittsville Registered Dietitian, I often hear about the cycle of resisting or restricting holiday indulgence foods, then overeating and feeling guilty. Here are a few ways we can combat negative feelings towards food this holiday season.

Respect your hunger
The holidays can be busy, and it’s important we keep ourselves properly fueled throughout the day. While you may be tempted to skip a meal, so you don’t feel as guilty about indulging later, the fact is that by eating before you head outwill help to meet your nutrition needs and avoid you getting too hungry. Skipping a meal can also lead us to eat mindlessly later, when our bodies are stressed from being too hungry. You can continue to fuel your body regularly throughout the day and enjoy your special holiday foods too!

Avoid the diet chat
It can be tempting to talk about dieting, or comment on body changes with your friends or family during holiday gatherings. This year, consider skipping these topics, as they can lead to preoccupation with food and body, and unnecessary pressure for people to change their bodies or eating behaviour. Instead focus on other exciting conversation topics and updates from your holiday guests.

Don’t label foods as “bad”
When we label certain foods as bad or off-limits it only increases our desire for them. All foods can fit into a well-balanced diet. Listening to your body is key. Choose foods that make you feel good, and you enjoy. From salads to cookies, try practicing mindful eating and savor the flavours and textures of every food you choose, which can help your get the full joyful experience from eating.

When in doubt, I am here to help. As your local Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, we’ll work together to help ensure you can enjoy your favourite foods, care for your body, and not get stuck in the cycle of guilt and dieting. Visit to book a free 15-minute video or phone consult to learn more about my approach, and how I can support you in developing a positive relationship with food this holiday season.


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