With so many social gatherings, beautiful décor, and service opportunities, the holidays can be a joyful time. However, the holidays can also bring fear of weight gain from all of the festivities, which can be stressful for some of us. I challenge us to say goodbye to the worry around food this holiday season by trying out intuitive eating. Read some of my tips below for how to start!
1. Even the playing field.
There are no “good” foods, and there are no “bad” foods. Food does not act on us to tell us if we are good or bad. We act on food and use it to nourish and satisfy ourselves. When we let the food choices we make affect how we feel about ourselves, the food is in control over us. Thoughts like “Oh I can’t believe I ate that roll, I have no will power” or “I’ll have to go on a run later since I ate this piece of pie”, or even “I ate a salad today, I am so good and I deserve a reward” are examples of how food can control us. Regain control over your food choices by disassociating your character from your food. A carrot and a brownie have an equal weight on your character: none! The goal here is to not feel shame when you eat, which can just lead to increased emotional eating. Instead, feel empowered to make the best decisions for your body’s needs.
2. Allow all foods.
If I tell myself that I can’t eat donuts…well now I’m stuck thinking about donuts all day long! I will end up eating a lot more donuts than I would’ve had I not restricted them. Contrastingly, if I eat donuts for every meal, and for every snack, for several days, I will become extremely disinterested in donuts. The point is, allowing all foods at all times takes some of the intrigue out of these once forbidden foods. This allows us to focus less on what our brains are telling us we want, and more on what our bodies are telling us will make us feel good. Start allowing all foods to fit by switching your thoughts from diet culture to intuitive eating.
- “This food only comes around once a year, I only allow it once so I better eat everything in my path since I can’t have it tomorrow”
- “I have to eat everything I possibly can before my diet starts on January 1”
- “I’m starting to feel full, I’ve had enough of this to feel satisfied. I can have this tomorrow if I feel like it.”
- I’m always eating to nourish and satisfy my body”
3. Find the balance between fullness and satisfaction.
The road to intuitive eating can be long and difficult to trust. Start by making a plan on how you are going to accomplish the intuitive eating goals you make. It could be journaling your thoughts and feelings before and after food-centered gatherings. Maybe it’s having a positive mantra such as “I am more than the food I eat”. It could mean setting a timer every 5 minutes during meal time to check in on how you are feeling physically. One thing to be aware of is the increasing popularity of diet-culture during the holiday season. It can be really easy to become influenced by your peers talking about what diet they just started, or how they feel so guilty for indulging in some cookies the other night. Strategize how you can combat this—you are not obligated to participate in this.
You’ll find you will have so much spare time when you aren’t consumed with dieting and negative body image thoughts. Plus, you’ll be feeling so much more energized because you are giving your body the nourishment it needs–no restriction, and no over-stuffed stomachs. Fill that extra time and energy with things you enjoy doing. Here are some ideas:
- Get creative and make some holiday décor
- Cozy up with a cup of coffee and read that book you’ve been meaning to get to
- Practice gratitude
- Find someone you can trust talking to about your journey with intuitive eating
- Declutter or clean your environment to however it makes you feel best
- Find a new hobby, it’s never too late!
- Look for ways to serve those around you
Enjoy your holidays this season by trusting your body to eat intuitively. Your time is better spent treasuring friends and family than worrying about a piece of pie. If you are interested in one-on-one counseling or have any questions, please reach out to us at email@example.com.