3 Diet Myths to Drop this Holiday Season

3 Diet Myths to Drop this Holiday Season

3 Diet Myths to Drop this Holiday Season

A big part of any holiday is gathering with family to enjoy indulgent, festive meals. Unfortunately, for many, this also comes with a side dish of food guilt, weight gain anxiety and the inevitable January resolutions. Here are a few diet myths debunked to help you enjoy this holiday season without the unnecessary guilt.

“I am going to be huge by the end of the holidays!”

While it may feel like the holiday season is a constant flow of homemade treats and big dinners with the family, a few weeks of indulging is not enough to change your body permanently. The “set point theory” suggests that we are genetically predetermined to remain within a weight range that allows our body to function optimally. If we try to restrict or overeat (within reason), our body will do what it can to fight to remain in its range—for example, by increasing body temperature in order to burn more calories, or increasing appetite in order to encourage eating. In other words, your body knows what to do with that extra nourishment. Our general health and wellbeing does not depend on one meal, but rather how we eat, sleep, exercise and simply live over the course of months and even, years. Do not skip breakfast in order to “save calories” for a big dinner. The holidays only comes once a year so why not trust that your body knows what it’s doing and you can enjoy the holidays like you were supposed to!

“Don't Eat After 6pm”

Our bodies do not run on a 24-hour clock. There is no mechanism inside of us that tells our body to shut off the metabolism in the evening and switch to storing calories as fat. Even if we were to lie in bed all day not moving a muscle, we would still need to eat a regular amount of food to keep our hearts beating and our lungs breathing. Diet and fitness culture have normalized the idea that intermittent fasting—eating only within a window of the day—is the only way to stay healthy. But, there is no one-size-fits-all diet that will yield the same results in every single person. When deciding what works for you, you should consider your individual needs: stress levels, job hours, bedtime, lifestyle and most importantly, your appetite. There is no proof that eating after dark will make you gain weight, so why would you want to miss out on eating Santa’s cookies or a New Year’s canapé?


“Weight is All About Calories In and Calories Out”

The only thing worse than counting calories on a regular day is counting calories on Christmas Day! With all those decadent treats around, it can be tempting to try and cut down your calories from other meals in order to have enough “points” left to get you to dessert. A common misconception in the diet and fitness industry is that 3500 calories = 1 pound. While calorie counting might be a helpful tool for someone to loosely track their eating, it is important to not get hung up on numbers. In terms of the scale, stepping on it every day is unnecessary. Our bodies can fluctuate as much as 10 pounds in one day just from liquids consumed, bowel movements, and the type of food we eat and how our body stores the corresponding water molecules. Your body is a holistic temple, not a math equation. Give yourself a special gift this holiday season and toss out the scale and the calorie tracker.

Calorie Tip

Somewhere along the way, it became normal to associate overeating with shame, weakness and guilt. Have you ever watched a toddler munching on a cupcake with absolute delight? There is nothing more beautiful than a person who loves themselves enough to enjoy their food and body. This holiday season, drop the diet talk at the dinner table and instead focus on all you have accomplished this year. Eat mindfully: enjoy each bite and rather than focusing on the calories in your food, think about how much love and work went into preparing these tasty meals that you are able to share with your family.

There are so many joyful things about the holidays, and enjoying the food should be one of them!


Written by Niki Zarikos, CNP

Niki is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner from Toronto, Ontario. Currently working as a Clinical Research Nutrition Associate at dicentra, Niki is motivated by her interests in the nutrition of mental health, body image, addictions and holistic healing.

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