Balance, regularity important during holiday eating: expert

As holiday foods begin to make their way into some of our lives, experts are saying people should practice stability over irregularity.

Stephanie Dang, co-founder of Vancouver Dieticians, says the holidays are often a time when a lot of people’s underlying food fears can flare up.

She says she often sees people go all-in on holiday foods during December, and then feel the need to compensate by restricting their eating habits in January.

However, the best thing to practice throughout any month of the year is regularity and self-compassion, Dang says.

“Be really kind to yourself,” Dang said. “There’s no perfect diet.”

She says the best way to practice self-love through food during the holidays is to just continue to eat regularly and listen to your body.

“Knowing that food will be there tomorrow and the next day (is important),” Dang said.

Many of Dang’s clients tell her they avoid holiday functions out of a fear of overeating or uncomfortable comments by others, she says.

“(There’s) the dreaded diet talk at holiday celebrations, like commenting on other people’s bodies, which I feel like we should never do.”

Making comments about someone’s physical appearance can put immense pressure on them, which can be especially impactful during the holidays, Dang says.

Dang adds health is also not just about limiting or cutting foods out. In fact, focusing on adding foods can be more sustainable than cutting any out.

“Just making sure you’re fuelling your body,” she said. “When you’re not eating enough, your body tells you to go search for food.”

She advises people with coverage for dietician services to use them, as a way to make sure they’re doing the best they can to fuel their body.

“You’re not supposed to be an expert in everything,” she said. “Looking for help is totally okay.”

-With files from David Nadalini

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