It’s that time again, folks! Holiday season. For some of you, it may have started the day after Halloween with all your decorations + Christmas music blaring! 😉 I’m a “must wait until after Thanksgiving” gal, myself, but you do you!
The holidays can be stressful, but let’s not allow food fears to add to that! Here’s a few tips to help keep us grounded during all these festivities.
Maintain your normal eating pattern.
You might be tempted to fast or skip breakfast before having a large Thanksgiving meal, but don’t be fooled! Restricting food intake often leads to overeating or binging later on. Instead, try to keep the same pattern of meals + snacks that you normally would. Maintaining a normal eating pattern the days following the meal is also crucial because no matter how much you ate the day before, you’re body still needs fuel.
Many times, our holiday meals start at funky times that aren’t always our typical meal times. Maybe it’s a 3pm meal, which might be when you would normally go for a snack. So, instead, maybe have breakfast, followed by snack or two to help tide you over until the feast. Then, check back in afterwards to honor any hunger that comes your way.
Along with this comes not planning a future diet or exercise regimen to start after the holidays. We know diets don’t work, and trying to schedule the start of a new one often leads to treating the holiday season as a “last supper.” This isn’t going to be the last time you get to eat all these delicious foods! Removing any present or future restriction keeps them from being forbidden fruits that you’ll feel out of control around.
Not all of these festive foods are offered other times throughout the year. Or they may have special memories attached to them (e.g. your grandma’s pecan pie). You certainly don’t want to miss out on these! So, if you love the pie, choose that option, savor it, and move on.
Of course there’s room for fruit/veggie trays, but if you’re depriving yourself the buttery mashed potatoes while munching on a carrot, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Choosing a mediocre (for you) food can still be a form of restriction and will not provide that satisfaction factor! We need this satisfaction to help honor our hunger, fullness, + cravings.
Tune in to hunger + fullness cues.
Did you check out my last post? Listening to our body’s signals can help us choose when, what, + how much to eat. Of course, at the holidays, it’s completely normal to eat past feeling comfortably full.
So while it’s important to be mindful of where you fall on the hunger-fullness scale before, during, + after your holiday meals, give yourself grace! Not landing right at the perfect level of fullness is not failure, it’s flexibility + balance. That’s what we’re aiming for because perfection isn’t attainable.
So let’s say you’ve tuned into your hunger signals, decided that you’re full + satisfied, but someone is trying to offer you second helpings or a slice of their homemade pie. What do you do? Well, that’s your call. You have every right to say “No thank you, I’m full.” Or maybe you opt to have a small serving to appease the eager sharer. You know your body + where you fall on the hunger scale, so honor it the best you can while still allowing room for overeating from time to time because it’s a natural part of living!
Ditch the diet talk.
Everybody loves to talk about their new diet or exercise plans during holiday gatherings. Or comment on how many calories a certain food item has.
But when we’re trying to stay sane around food and ditch that diet mentality, it can be tough to swallow! You can excuse yourself from the conversation, try to change the subject, or if you feel comfortable, maybe express that you’re trying to avoid talking negatively about food/exercise/your body.
You can also be a role model simply by choosing not to start conversations that include negative food talk, weight, exercise, etc. There’s so many other things to catch up on + discuss that don’t involve nutrition or our body size! Of course the holidays are a time to eat, drink, + be merry, but don’t forget that the focus isn’t just on the food. It’s also about spending quality time with friends + family rather than how many calories were consumed at the meal.