Do you stress about gaining weight over the holidays? Are you worried about consuming extra food and alcohol? Does this lead to skipping meals to save up for “treats” later?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Food used to distract me from fully enjoying holiday parties.
I felt “out of control” around the dessert table and could never eat “just one” cookie. I’d go into the night willing myself not to eat dessert. I’d snack on veggies and whatever healthy foods I could find first. This only lasted short-term. I’d eventually cave and binge eat desserts, ending the night feeling over-full, guilty, and upset with myself.
Fast forward to today, and I can fully enjoy the holiday season without thinking about food 24/7. In hindsight, I see that the holiday treats weren’t the problem. Instead, my mindset around food needed an upgrade.
This Intuitive Eating Guide: Holiday Edition contains my top tips to help you feel calm around food this holiday season.
Intuitive Eating Guide: Holiday Edition
5 Tips to Eat Intuitively This Holiday Season
1. Ditch the Last Supper Mentality.
Last supper mentality typically happens before starting a diet. It sounds like:
Diet starts tomorrow so I’m going to eat all the foods I can’t have now.
Over the holidays, it might sound like:
Diet starts January 1 so I’m going to eat whatever I want now before I can’t have it.
The problem with this mentality is that it creates an endless cycle of restriction and binge eating. When you notice yourself stuck in the last supper mentality, remind yourself that ALL foods are available ALL year-round.
Holiday Eating Vow #1: I am allowed to eat the foods I love all year round.
2. Write a Permission Slip.
Restricting food will always make you feel crazier around food. Like my example with dessert. I labeled dessert as a “bad” food, which only made me feel more terrible about myself when I ate it.
The opposite of restriction is unconditional permission.
Practice giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want, when you want. This takes the power away from food. Aka – it lessens the mental drama around food.
This is permission to say “yes” to food when you want it, and also to say “no” to food when you don’t want it.
Holiday Eating Vow #2: I give myself unconditional permission to eat for nourishment and satisfaction.
3. Find Alternative Ways to Cope with Stress.
The holidays come with their own set of stressors. Not to mention, we’re in a pandemic this year. No matter the set of stressors, it’s essential to have multiple coping strategies available.
Ways to cope with the stress that don’t involve food:
- Take a hot bubble bath with Epsom salts.
- Listen to a 5-10 minute mindfulness meditation.
- Watch your favorite Christmas movie (mine’s The Holiday).
- Get outdoors for 15 minutes.
- Prioritize 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Journal using these gratitude prompts.
- Try a Body Scan Meditation.
- Write a handwritten card to a friend or family member.
- Stream a dance cardio class at home (or your favorite type of movement).
- Facetime or call a friend.
Holiday Eating Vow #3: I have a variety of coping strategies available to me at all times.
4. Set Your Intention.
Intentions are guiding principles for how you wish to be, live, and show up. Without them, we are subject to falling back into limiting beliefs and undesired behaviors. Set your intention for the holidays with these prompts:
- How do you want to feel?
- What makes this important to you?
- What are you most excited about?
For example, my intention for the holidays is to show up with a greater presence in conversation & gatherings (virtual or in-person) because family is a top value to me.
When you notice yourself feeling stressed about the holidays, re-align with your intention.
Holiday Eating Vow #4: My intention for the holiday season is _____________________.
5. Mantras on Repeat
Diet talk is rampant this time of the year. Whether it’s coming in the form of ads on Instagram or “diet talk” among friends – it’s never useful. When you can’t avoid diet talk – silently repeat positive mantras that help you re-align with what you know to be true about food and your body.
Mantras to repeat for Intuitive Eating support:
- Inhale, light. Exhale, gratitude.
- Food is more than fuel.
- It’s okay to eat for satisfaction, joy, and comfort.
- I give my energy and attention to nourishing my body, not depriving it.
- Diet talk no longer serves me.
Holiday Eating Vow #5: A mantra that feels aligned for me is ___________________.
So take off some of the stress you feel this holiday season. Write down your 5 holiday eating vows in a place you see every day. Come back to them when you need a pick me up and connect to the true reason for this season.