The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time, but it can also be a challenging time of the year for a number of reasons. For some, the challenge is managing all the good food! For others, the winter weather can be dreary and make it difficult to want be active or eat right. This winter/holiday season I challenge you to utilize some of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating to help you enjoy this time of year without shame or guilt.
1) Make peace with food: Give yourself permission to eat to ultimately help avoid a binge later.
2) Respect your fullness: Eat similar portions that you would normally eat at home. Choosing your favorites over everyday food may also help.
3) Discover the satisfaction factor: Discover how yummy and satisfying 1 to 3 bites of something can be.
4) Honor your feelings without using food: Discover new ways to comfort or distract your mind without using food. Although the emotional eating response may provide short-term comfort, it will not solve the underlying problem. Moreover, permission to eat can eliminate negative thoughts and instead allow you to respect your fullness and discover how delicious the food is, perhaps with fewer bites!
Strategies for social gatherings:
Prepare friendly responses to food pushers: “No, thank you. I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious” or “I’ll be sure to get some later.”
If at a party the dessert (or another meal item) is cut into large slices, cut one into a smaller piece or share it. Savor and enjoy each bite!
Sit or stand away from the food. Instead, let socializing, rather than food be the focus. Make conversation, play games or help with clean up.
If you drink alcohol, have a plan to limit the amount and drink water in between.
Look at the big picture: If you eat three meals and one snack per day that equates to 28 eating opportunities each week! Looking at it this way means that social gatherings are a small fraction of eating. Therefore, be mindful of the leftovers as well.