I can recall many years when the holidays felt especially stressful to me. I was not in a place of acceptance with my body. In those years I was always trying to lose more weight, restricting food, exercising off calories, and depriving myself of yummy foods. Holidays felt overwhelming and out of the little world of control that I had created for myself.
Years later I have found peace with food through intuitive eating. Here are some of the strategies that I use to stay balanced, calm and not deprive or overfill myself.
- Eat your regular meals on the day of the holiday. Don’t hold back and restrict early in the day as a way to “save” calories so you can eat what you want later. Have a breakfast and lunch and then eat your holiday meal.
- Holidays often have foods you “only get once a year”. Enjoy those special foods but still listen to your body and your hunger and fullness. You don’t have to eat all of “it” in one sitting. Why not enjoy a portion, set aside another portion for the next day and stretch out the holiday while not getting overfull.
- Be mindful that your stomach can only hold a certain amount of food at a time and when we overfill we feel sick (number 10 on the fullness scale). So make your food and portion selections accordingly. Look over what is being served and decide which dishes you really want. Maybe there is not enough room in your belly for every dish. If you’re someone who loves variety and a little taste of everything, then take a small portion of each item.
- Eat slowly. Put your fork down between bites so you can chew without the distraction of a pre-loaded fork.
- Arrive to the meal with an Abundance mentality. See the bounty before you. Notice all of the delicious foods. Appreciate the shopping, preparation and cooking effort that went into the meal. Affirm to yourself “I have Plenty”, “I have enough”. All of this is opposite to the Scarcity mentality of not having enough. Those who are “dieting” often feel there is not enough and this drives an emotional desire to keep taking and eating food past the point of satisfaction.
- Honor your body. Do you remember how bad it feels to be 10 on the fullness scale? Food up to your neck, and the need to open the buttons on your pants and lay down. Or worse, maybe some moaning and groaning from abdominal distress. Your body is working hard every day to take you through life. Please listen to yourself.
- Say no to food pushers. Ugh. Every family has them. The ones who try to guilt you into finishing something, taking more, or generally eating when your body is telling you no more. Practice a firm way of expressing that you have had enough food and no thank you. I remember once having this conversation with my Grandma who asked me twice to have more and each time I said “no thank you”. The third time she asked I said “ I already said no thank you twice. I’m done with this question, don’t ask me again.”
- Do your Grounding! This should be number 1, before any of the other strategies. Honestly, if you are Grounded, you are present in your body and you can make empowered food decisions from there.
I hope you find these strategies helpful. If we are not currently working together, go here to schedule a Discovery Call.
I wish you many blessings through this holiday season and the rest of 2021.