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This article was published 18/12/2017 (667 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s OK to enjoy the holiday season’s tasty food, two dietitians say, adding people shouldn’t feel fearful or guilty about overindulging.
The dietitians, Lise Timmerman and Coralee Hill, are based at the Misericordia Health Centre and are part of the provincial Dial-a-Dietitian program, which citizens can call to discuss food and nutrition for free.
"Around this time of year we get a lot of questions about holiday eating," Timmerman said.
Many callers are concerned, and even fearful, about gaining weight during the holidays, she said.
Those fears get stoked by all the articles about overeating that get published around this time of year. "There tends to be a lot of lists, a lot of rules around eating (during the holiday season)," Hill said. Timmerman said those articles stress people out.
"It’s almost like fear-mongering in a sense," Hill said. "(It) sets people up to feel guilt, to feel shame."
This shouldn’t be the case.
"Whether it is holiday eating or everyday eating, (eating) should never have shame or guilt associated with it," Hill said.
"It’s normal to indulge," she said. "It’s something we all do."
People should enjoy food, Timmerman added. They should not be caught up in rules that are not practical, such as holding your plate and glass at the same time to avoid eating.
Instead, Timmerman said it is better to trust your own body: "We stop eating when we are satisfied."
The amount of weight gained during the holiday season is also often overestimated.
"The reality is, the weight gain (during this time of year) is only about one to two pounds," Timmerman said.
"It’s not a large amount of weight."
What’s more, the weight gained is usually lost when people go back to their everyday routine. "It all kind of comes out the same in the end," she said.
It’s counterproductive to spend the holiday season worried about food when you should be making memories with your friends and families, Hill said.
"The holiday season is short-lived," she said.
"If you want seconds, you can do it without guilt."
"Any time we feel stress and guilt, it takes away from really feeling positive about the holiday," Timmerman said
What’s more important is how you eat the rest of the year, the two dietitians said.
"It’s really important to think, more so, what we are doing the rest of the year than to be overly concerned about those few meals," Timmerman said. Being engaged with eating well and making good choices throughout the year will have more impact than being overly concerned and stressed over the short holiday period, she said.
The Dial-a-Dietitian number is 204-788-8248 and is open to all Manitobans from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.