I had the pleasure of listening to the wonderfully talented Nutritionist Ruth Tongue at Tally Rye’s Secret HIIT Club event on the 5th of December. After we refueled from our insanely intense sweat sess with the most divine chocolate peanut butter protein shakes from ProteinHaus, we sat down to talk about the healthy way to ‘survive’ the silly season. It seems silly that we even have to refer to it as ‘survive’, like we either miss out on the Christmas treats and cry or we eat them and die. Sounds rough right. She was so informative and I honestly felt like I learnt a great deal. So here is a little recap from the notes I scribbled down. 

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Ruth started with something that really caught my interest. She listed the many many food diets and plans out there these days ie paleo, raw, vegan, carb-free, high fat, sugar-free and stated that the reason there are so many new diets and eating plans to follow is that they are all ‘temporary fixes’. Why? Well if they found one that worked, they wouldn’t keep coming up with new ones to try beat the last. Makes sense right?

Ruth then asked us all 4 questions to think about and answer ourselves in our head. They were;

  1. Are you eating your favourite foods?
  2. Are you feeling guilty for the foods you eat?
  3. Do you see foods as good or bad?
  4. Is your current diet sustainable and would you want your family/kids or friends to eat the same?

I shall elaborate and make some comments on each of the questions and hopefully you can learn something handy or answer them for yourself too throughout my blabber. Firstly are you eating the foods you love? And she doesn’t mean sitting there day in day out forking your chicken and broccoli thinking “yeah I love the fact these foods will give me abs”. Answer this, what is it that you love to eat? Pizza? pasta? Chocolate and ice cream? Do you allow yourself to eat that food? If not, then your diet / lifestyle needs some adjustment. Food is made to be enjoyed and you should thoroughly enjoy the things you eat. Hot tip; if you haven’t eaten your favourite food this week, give it a go. Your body and brain will love you for it.

Food guilt. Big topic right. Do you feel guilty for the things you eat? If yes then again your diet / lifestyle needs some tweaking. Guilt = stress and stress = weight gain so congrats for not eating the pizza but your body has gone into a state of stress for constantly thinking about not eating the pizza and your cortisol levels have risen, your metabolism has inevitably slowed and you may as well have eaten the pizza. Brav – OH!! Food guilt and unhealthy relationships with food are one of the most severe topics in the current health and fitness industry.

Do you see foods as good or bad? Do you make mental lists of forbidden foods and bad foods and only eat from the good list? I tried this once and after 5 days of eating ONLY the good things I cracked with the most outrageous cravings and spent 2 whole days working my way through the naughty BAD list, promising myself to start back on the good list as of Monday. This type of dieting is terrible for your progress and health. Eliminating food groups and categorising foods as good or bad can only lead to binging and yo-yo dieting. Just aim to eat healthy and wholesome foods whilst enjoying treats and sweet fixes as your body requires them. Ie birthday cake at the office? Totally acceptable.

And lastly, is your diet currently sustainable and would you wish it upon someone else? The answer should be yes. Firstly let’s not call it diet because we diets have finish dates and we eat healthy 365 days of the year right? Would you want your kids to eat what you eat? Your grandma? Is it nourishing and wholesome and sustainable? It is something you could continue with for years to come? If not – it is time to make a change. What better time that with the good old “i’ll eat healthy in the new year” resolution. Even better – change now and enter the new year in the best shape possible.

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So back to surviving the silly season I shall leave you with this. Be kinder to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or compare yourself to the things you see on social media. Don’t get obsessed with what you are ‘not’ eating, ie dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, carb-free and start focusing on what nutrients you ARE eating in each meal. Take your time to stop, sit and enjoy your meals and try and scoff less on the run. And finally this silly season… be silly, drink up, enjoy the amazing food, eat the things you love and leave the things you aren’t too fussed about. You won’t undo all your hard work or gain weight simply by looking at delicious foods. It takes a LOT of extra calories over an extended period of time without exercise to gain weight and the Christmas dinner won’t be that.

“There are no such thing as bad foods – just bad diets and bad eating habits.” – Ruth Tongue

Check out her website for more blogs and nutritional advice >> link here. 

And if you want to be a part of Tally’s January Secret HIIT club event (which you do) then head to her website for details >> link here. 



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