Saturday, December 13, 2014

Food, Eating, Fear of Eating and the Holidays: Finding the Middle Ground

It is holiday time!  We started with Thanksgiving, now we are moving into the Christmas Holiday season that will extend all the way to New Year's Day.  I am so weary of all of the hoopla about "surviving the holidays".  Whether you are a chronic dieter, have an eating disorder, or are just the average person ... you would swear that we are all facing sheer doom and destruction at this time of the year.  Many are trembling with fear and trepidation.  Come on!  You should have visions of sugar plums dancing and prancing.  Celebrations include food, eating, sharing meals, and truly enjoying delicious recipes that are only served once or twice a year.  Food and eating should not be placed on a pedestal.  There certainly are many other important aspects of holidays and special celebrations.  However, food and eating should not be feared and approached as if you were facing a rabid dog.  This is the perfect time of the year to practice intuitive eating principles of eating what you really enjoy, honoring hunger, and acknowledging satisfied.

Be aware that even the mere contemplation of dietary restriction can increase food obsessions and compulsive eating.  Don't buy into the "I will wait until the new year and then I will cut out ______ and never eat _____" thinking.

So, here are some suggestions to help you enjoy, experience, and thrive during the holidays as you continue your journey towards making peace with food, eating, activity and weight issues:
  • Try not to let yourself get overly hungry.  Even though this can be a hectic time of year, don't skip meals or go too long without eating.
  • Mindfully focus on enjoying your food and eating experiences.  Be thankful for meals shared, time to celebrate and foods that you enjoy.
  • Participate in self-care activities like going for a walk, listening to music, or carving out time for your hobbies.
  • Ditch the diet mentality and all that goes with that faulty way of thinking.  Don't buy into guilt, stay off of the scale and tune out all of the diet ads that spike at this time of year.  Learn to trust and appreciate your body.
  • Remember your goal of living in the middle ground.  Avoid extreme, all or nothing thinking.
  • If you are entering into an eating/food situation that normally would cause anxiety have a plan of action and rely on support systems to help you deal with the challenge.
  • Commit to enjoy this wonderful time of year without the fear, guilt and anxiety that might have plagued you in the past.  There is incredible power in what you tell yourself!!
Wishing you all peace and blessings now and in the year to come,

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