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Feel Confident This Holiday Season With These Food & Fashion Tips!
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Kick up your confidence for fueling and dressing your body this holiday season

Holiday Food and Fashion

The holiday season is a time filled with warmth, laughter, and connection! Yet, amidst the joyous gatherings and festive indulgences, many find themselves grappling with unexpected challenges.

The abundance of holiday foods and treats often triggers stress and concerns about body image. When it comes to eating healthy during the holidays the so-called naughty or nice labeling of foods gets debated further.  Clean eating diets and fasts preach you should give up shortbread, gingerbread cookies, eggnog, and more.  Or should you?  And with these body image concerns, we also know it can be stressful figuring what to wear to holiday parties to feel confident in your skin.

Keep reading for Dietitian tips from Andrea Holwegner and Fashion Stylist advice from Megan Szanik at espy featured in our Unwrap Your Holiday Confidence event on navigating food and fashion during the holidays!

Let’s start with:

Holiday Eating Tips

Food is more than just calories, carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Food is a vehicle for connection, celebrating culture, and family tradition. A healthy diet is more than eating vegetables. The word “diet” is Latin for a way of life.  Your way of life can include holiday foods chosen exclusively for taste and social fun that have nothing to do with nutrition. 

Andrea Holwegner and Megan Szanik

Here are 3 simple tips for navigating food during the holidays:

1. Be intentional about what foods spark joy 

Not everything food matters equally. Be intentional about what soulful foods are really the best of the best. Which food sparks the most joy? When? Where? Determine a list of your top soulful foods for the holidays and enjoy them guilt-free. 

Is it greasy savoury finger food and cocktails at your best friend’s annual holiday party? Eggnog and chocolate fudge on Christmas eve as it reminds you of your grandma?  What really sparks joy for you? 

Rather than trying to avoid tasty holiday soulful foods, instead, focus on enjoying them from the heart. Satisfaction also frees you to then be able to wrap the nerdy nutritious foods you know you need for wellness around it as you know you won’t feel deprived. 

When you are on your own eat your best, for social fun have the rest!

Christmas Dinner
Holiday Treats

2. Honour the 3 kinds of hunger 
 

Different types of hunger have different types of needs. Short timeouts and slowing down allows us to assess if our hunger is one of the following (as defined by Craving Change (a cognitive-behavioural intervention for problematic eating) that we use extensively in our nutrition counselling practice: 

Stomach hunger (physical or medical necessity to eat) 

Mouth hunger(craving related to the senses) 

Heart hunger(emotional trigger or learned behavior) 

Anticipate holiday cravings and stress eating. More frequent food cravings, stress eating, and generally eating emotionally can be higher during the holidays for many people.  Everyone eats for emotional reasons sometimes. It is very normal to eat when you are sad, mad, happy, or stressed.  Ask yourself how can I comfort, soothe and handle this emotion without food. Here are some more tips:

Honour and respect your body’s physical need for food (stomach hunger) by choosing not to skip meals regardless of your body size, how much you exercised today or how you feel. All bodies deserve to be fueled. 

3. Use “if-then” planning to get back on track quickly 

We all have the best intentions to eat well and live a healthy life but life, work, family, and emotions can get in the way of our success.  If you have a healthy eating goal over the holidays and it doesn’t go well, an “if-then” plan can help you get back on track right away (otherwise you might be off track for weeks at a time).  

If then planning:  

  • if X (something unexpected or an obstacle/opportunity happens)…  
  • then Y (your response)… 

Here’s an example of “if-then” planning: 

  • If I found myself stress eating tonight on holiday cookies and didn’t use one of the 3 stress reduction activities I came up with, then I will still do one of the stress reduction tactics immediately after stress eating to practice the new habit I’m trying to implement. 

4. Find balance and compassion for parts of your body

Lastly, eating healthy over the holidays also means balancing and finding compassion for parts of our body that maybe we don’t necessarily love… this sounds easy but can be incredibly overwhelming and freakishly hard.  

  • Remember, all bodies are good bodies. Positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good but knowing your body is good.  Celebrate what your body can do.
Body Confidence Self Love

 Holiday Fashion Advice

Now just as our food choices can make us feel good, so can our fashion choices. 

At espy, they believe, fashion can either make you feel like crap or amazing, it is all in your choosing, how you use clothing and how it makes you feel. So here are a few tips from their fashion stylists!

1.Focus on how the clothes fit you and make you feel, not how to fit into the clothes.  
 

Everyone deserves clothing that fits and flatters them! We can either wear the clothing and let it accentuate our favourite features or we can be worn by it. Here’s a few things to remember:

    • You wear the clothes, the clothes do not wear you!
    • We all have parts of our bodies that we don’t love, and parts we do, great style accentuates what we love and increases our confidence
    • Make sure it FEELS good on you and you are comfortable, then you will present your best self as you won’t be worried about your clothing. If you are already tugging and pulling on it, that will amplify when you go out in it
    • We have to fit the largest areas of our bodies. For women that’s usually our chest and/or hips and thighs. The rest can be tailored to ensure the very best fit

2. Confidence is the very best style: Trends come and go but TRUE STYLE is eternal

The best style is knowing what looks good on you and feels good – that way you feel good from the inside out and be the very best version of yourself.The stylists at espy can help you figure that out, AND, always be available to trying something else out, you never know what style could be your next favourite.

As for colours…colours come and go but colour that looks great and makes you feel great should STAY in your wardrobe, it elevates mood. For example, wear bright YELLOW when it rains.

Focus on how the clothes feel and move with you and the smile that you wear to add to the clothing.

3. When shopping, don’t pay attention to sizes and try on for comfort

Clothing sizes mean NOTHING…they are completely arbitrary. For example, someone can be an XS to XL in their wardrobe. For that same person in Japanese and Italian brands,  they could be a Large. For US brands, they can be XS, and an S / M / L in Europe etc. 

Work with a seamstress to help you tailor your clothes for YOUR body.

On that same note, find inclusive stores and brands that work for you and stick with them. For example at espy, they carry clothing from around the world for best fits for different body types. This includes a wide range of sizes 0-18 and lengths 28”-36” to get best fit possible. As well as shoe selection sizes 5-13 for women’s shoes, some up to 15, mens 7-14 some up to 16.

4. Simple ways to make it *holiday*

 

  • BLACK, but make it crisp and new (not stale or faded)
  • Sparkle
  • Leather
  • Mixing textures and fabrics
  • Black and navy
  • RED, GREEN
  • Metallics
  • Colourful accessories
  • Colourful shoes
  • Mixing same colour 

See these tips in action from our event:

So there you have it!

Enjoy this holiday season with an open heart and a #balancednotclean philosophy.  Add intention to your eating choices and enjoy foods that spark joy! It’s what you do between New Year’s and Christmas that is important (not between the holidays (Christmas) and New Year’s). 

As for dressing yourself for the holidays and in general, wear clothes that feel good on your body and show gratitude for all that it can do to carry you through life.

Let us know in the comments what you think!

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Adele Fox, Psychologist
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“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
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