Holidays can be stressful for many reasons, and especially stressful for people on a journey to a better relationship with food. Here’s how to navigate holiday eating.
Why are we so Stressed Out?
Changes in mealtimes Different “comfort” foods Traveling Seeing family after a long time apart Dressing up for family meals Family members’ comments about appearance
Guess what? You can still eat intuitively during the holidays!
Holidays are a wonderful part of life, and you should be able to enjoy them fully guilt-free! Food does not need to contribute to your holiday stress.
Strategies to Reduce Holiday Food Stress
Don’t wait until the holidays to eat “holiday food”
Restricting delicious foods lead to binges later Allow yourself unconditional permission to eat these foods all year long.
Focus on the positive
Valuable family and friend time Sharing new and traditional recipes
Honor your hunger and your fullness
Try to maintain some of your normal eating patterns to avoid “hanger” Make sure to eat snacks and meals while preparing for the holidays If you have kids, sitting down with them for their meals and snacks is a great reminder to take care of yourself too You don’t need to “save up” calories or “earn” ANY kind of food Remind yourself that you can have this food anytime, so you don’t need to eat beyond your comfort level for fear it won’t be available later
Responses to judgment from others
Change the subject Remind them that it is none of their business “You don’t need to worry about my plate” “I know best what my body needs” Excuse yourself from the room or the conversation. You don’t owe anyone explanation for your plate or your body! Find affirmations that resonate with you I trust my body to tell me what it needs Food is more than just fuel I deserve to be nourished and satisfied I am grateful for my body bringing me to where I am today Progress over perfection I choose self-care over self-control Show yourself compassion Sometimes you’ll eat beyond physical comfort, and that is okay! If this happens, try to wait out the discomfort by distracting yourself or talking with a close friend about how you feel. Remember that a single meal, or day, or week of eating “comfort” foods will not make a difference in your weight or health in the long run Especially prioritize self-care! Try to squeeze in a bubble bath, a walk, a nap, or a funny movie.
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