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Alex Allan Nutrition
By Alex Allan on 04/12/23 | Lifestyle Tips

Are you at the mercy of Christmas FOMO?

Christmas events and entertaining can seem relentless at times. Apparently, we cram 44% more social occasions into December than any other month.  How many social engagements/ parties do you already have in the calendar for the month of December?  

I know how it can go… parties, drinks dos, buffets, secret Santa. You’ll go to everything because you can’t resist. You’ll feast like you’ll never see another meal, and you’ll consume many festive tipples because otherwise you’ll be missing out on all the fun.

FOMO – shorthand for ‘fear of missing out’ – is the acute and often unjustified belief that everyone is having way more fun than you. And it reaches its annual high any day now. FOMO really is not your friend this month (or indeed any month) – especially if you want to maintain your weight or healthy living over the holidays. 

Let’s take a look at how that festive FOMO usually pans out…

You’re committed to healthy eating at Christmas, and you go to buffet parties or events. The food looks delicious, but you have made a decision to not eat unnecessarily, so your mouth can only water. There’s a very subtle fear that you are never going to be able to have any of these delicious treats ever again. The fear of missing out activates your survival instinct to consume everything and anything. And so you may go on a binge, and your healthy eating plans are obliterated. The self-recriminations start. 

Here’s what you need to know about FOMO: We are culturally programmed to over-value losses and under-value gains, so it’s really not your fault. So, we put more importance on the food we may be missing out on, and less on our goals and wellbeing.

The big question, of course, is what are you really missing out on? Nothing. OK, maybe some sweet or high-carb treats, some booze-filled evenings and such. But eating and drinking these have a flipside: blood sugar imbalance and energy crashes, poor sleep, almost certain weight gain (if you consume in excess) – and that’s without mentioning the negative self-talk for having over-indulged. 

There are several things going on when it comes to food. Your fear of ‘missing out’ on that delicious dessert is the first. But also refusing food is mired in emotional meaning both for you and for the host. 

The answer is not to find more and more creative ways to say no. If you have to own up to eating healthily around this time or being gluten- or dairy-free, this seems to compound the original offence of not wanting to eat. 

Your action plan is this:

  1. HAVE A PLAN Before you go to bed each night, plan out your food for the next day. This is never truer than at Christmas, when parties, chocolates, cookies, and “treats” are just about everywhere.
  2. DON’T TRY TO DIET JUST NOW - Set a maintenance goal instead. This is much more realistic, and it is achievable, even at this time of year. It will also give you the freedom to enjoy yourself without feeling deprived, or that you’ve failed, which in turn means you’re more likely to rebel (and this is code for heading straight for the box of chocolates without a second glance).
  3. WATCH YOUR PORTION SIZES - especially when it comes to fast-release carbs like white potatoes, pastry, breaded items, cakes, biscuits, and other sweet things.
  4. DON’T GO TO A PARTY HUNGRY - If you do, you will be fighting a losing battle. Have a low-GL snack before you go – just a little something that includes protein and slow-release carbs (cottage cheese or unsweetened nut butter on an oatcake, for example).
  5. KEEP FAMILY CHOCOLATES OUT OF SIGHT, so you’re not tempted to tuck in just because they’re there. Ever heard of the ‘see food and eat it’ diet?

And don’t forget – you can always get in touch with me, if you’d like to discuss further. Part of my role is to support my clients in their habit changes – I can help you. Just book in a call.

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