Let’s get very honest here:
Anxieties around the holidays are much greater than finding the perfect gift for our step-brother’s girlfriend, hosting mother-in-laws, or our first world guilt with every slide of that credit card (We know we should be giving more…).
There is something big brewing in the atmosphere right now.
It’s the hovering, tense, jittery fear of the food.
Sister, I want to ask you, how was Thanksgiving?
I mean really, how was Thanksgiving?
If it was:
- wearing a moo-moo to cover your body
- sneaking cookies to eat behind closed doors
- stuffing yourself with every indulgence because THIS IS THE ONE DAY I’M ALLOWED, SO MAKE IT COUNT FOR THE LOVE OF CASSEROLE!
- anything of the like
then it’s time for a halftime huddle, girlfriend.
If you crashed and burned your eating goals on Thanksgiving and it’s still a burning pile of rubble you’re fixated on in your rear view mirror, it’s time to regroup.
You are not doomed with food. There is nothing wrong with you. In fact, you are normal. Trust me, as a Women’s Food Coach, I talk to women about what they’re eating and why every single day. Feeling crazy with food around the holidays is so normal.
And our national obsession body shape, diet, and the hunt for true “clean eating” is throwing so many women for a wild loop this time of year.
This post is my holiday gift to you.
I want you to take these 3 Practices Anyone Can Use to Make Holiday Eating Actually Enjoyable
(because, psssst, that’s the whole point of all of this effort).
Eat 3 Meals a Day
If you do nothing else from this list, do this one thing. Eat a real breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday.
This is the scaffolding holding you up through holiday parties, office happy hours, and Grandma’s family feast.
When you restrict your food intake or skip meals in an attempt to hedge the damage you foresee coming from treats, meats, and drinks, you’re setting yourself to do more damage! It becomes a vicious restrict-binge cycle rolling through the entire month.
Instead, pretend it’s freaking March or any other month and eat a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner! If there’s a work Christmas party, fine! There’s lunch. Or dinner. If the party falls between lunch and dinner, enjoy a simple “something sweet” between the two. Then move on.
Here’s the magic: if you had a real lunch and there’s a real dinner waiting for you at home, you’re 1,000x’s more likely to have what really is just a snack, rather than 1 piece of cake, 2 cookies, and 4 mini fried summer rolls, and 2 Reese’s cups on your way out the door.
This isn’t complicated, ladies. Diet culture just has a lot of money to make from convincing you that it is.
No Food Sneaking
Diet culture has pounded at women the message that restraint is the metric of success. Thus, partaking in the holiday indulgences is failure by definition.
Is it any wonder you choose to eat your “vices” in private…or straight up sneak them. Extra chocolates in your pockets, excusing yourself to get a drink when you’re really making another trip to the buffet table, etc.
Before you know it, you feel like you’re living a double life. There’s the you laughing with your Aunt recalling the latest episode of Insecure, and then there’s the you secretly calculating how to get another slice of that chocolate mousse cake without her noticing.
Leave food-sneaking in the past. Burn it in that Thanksgiving crash pile.
There is so much research in the behavior science community right now demonstrating the power of honesty to break unwanted habits and behaviors.
So here is your simple practice in honesty:
if you want it, you plate it, sit down, and enjoy, right there in plain view.
And if you want another, do it again.
How would your life be different if you stopped living a double life and instead stayed present during holiday eating?
My bet is there would be a lot of renewed connection, and lot fewer food hangovers.
Share Your Goals/Intentions with One Person
Tell just one other person that you’re “trying out” Practices 1 and 2.
OMG Am I nuts?! How terrifying is that?!
Bring attention to your eating?!
I know, I know. But hear me out because this last practice is key to making the other two practices stick.
Tell just one friend, one collegue, one parent, or sibling, or neighbor you are trying “these two tricks I read in a Chicks Who Give a Hoot article online.”
When you share your intentions with someone, you bring them out of your mind and into the environment. Suddenly, your Practices are real, not wishes in the wind.
Also (and this is the best part), you never know who you may be inspiring to step out of her own Holiday Food Fear Haze and back into her seat of empowerment.
I, personally, committed to all three of these practices on Thanksgiving.
I told my dad (yes, my Dad) that on Thanksgiving I planned to eat a normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of skipping meals in preparation for the big Turkey Dinner.
I also told him, “I’m tired of feeling like the holidays are a blur of unleashed eating cloaked in embarrassment. This year my goal is to stay present and eat everything with you guys instead of trying to ‘get away with’ anything.”
You know what happened?
I wasn’t screaming at myself to “get it together!” or hearing tips from fitness bloggers play on a loop in my head.
I leaned on these practices as though they were my scaffolding, and I stood strong.
If Thanksgiving was a twirling disco of food anxiety and personal body-shaming, let this be your halftime regroup for the December holidays.