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Celebrating with Food

There’s certainly been a lot of celebration in the air lately what with the Queens Jubilee weekend and the fast approaching Olympic Games. It’s got me thinking about how people relate to foods in celebratory situations.

Something that I see in clinic time & time again is the sense that a celebration where food is involved is something to fear or be wary of, particularly for those hoping to lose a bit of weight. It’s very easy in these events to go down a negative path whereby what you choose to eat becomes bad & wrong.

Let’s get this straight, there are no bad & wrong foods. If you were starving in the desert a double cheeseburger would save your life. On the opposite end of the spectrum however, a daily helping of French fries could send you to an early grave.

It’s really all about a cascade of choice: being an adult about your choices & deciding in the moment what is & isn’t appropriate for you to consume. A good way to come to this decision is to use a little rule that we nutritionists stole from the business world – the 80 / 20 rule. We have a slightly different take on it however. Here’s how it works: as long as 80% of the time you choose foods that you know are whole foods and nourishing to the body, the other 20% of the time – DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!

Worrying is the worst thing you can do. What benefit is a mental bashing going to provide you with? This kind of mindset just leads to a sense of failure and a declaration of “I’ve blown it now”. The typical end result is a few days of comfort eating down to the fact that you’ve fallen off the bandwagon anyway, so you may as well get stuck into the multi pack of crisps or box of chocolates.

It’s unrealistic to think you need to eat ‘healthy’ foods 100% of the time – that’s just weird & on the verge of disordered eating. Celebrations with food are an integral part of a balanced life. What kind of life would it be without a summer BBQ or a slice of chocolate cake?

When we take the stress out of what to do around food at these events, we’re left with the opportunity to see what these celebrations are really all about in the first place – HUMAN CONNECTEDNESS. So next time you go somewhere negative in your mind about the choices you’re going to make at a gathering – shift the focus – look to what’s really important – the eye contact, the sharing of stories, the spreading of love amongst people. And allow the food to do what it was designed to do, unite you all together in peace & harmony.

 

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