Intuitive Eating For the Holidays
By Marina Hamilton
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapist
The holidays are an opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones, which includes eating. More and more it is also evolving to be a time to obsess about the food we “shouldn’t” eat and the fear of gaining weight. As a result, restrictive diets are often used to prevent weight gain. I suggest eating by your intuition as an alternative to dieting. Intuitive eating means using your hunger cues as a guide to what, how much, and when to eat. Hunger cues are both emotional and physical. Here are 3 tips to intuitive eating for the holidays.
- Take food off the “naughty” list
When we categorize foods as “bad” or “good” it’s likely that the foods we find most pleasurable are constricted to the “bad” list. The outcome is our thoughts are spent obsessing on how to avoid the pecan pie instead of deeply listening to your loved one’s stories. Give yourself permission to savor the food you love in moderation.
- Honor your hunger
Restricting yourself from food until it’s dinner time starves your brain from the nutrients it needs to function fully. When we skip breakfast and snacks leading to a holiday meal, we create a “last supper” mentality. This is when we see the full buffet of goodies and our brain demands that we fill heaping plates, for we are starved. Instead, keep your body nourished with food throughout the day. Think of your hunger as a gas tank of satiety- aim to keep your tank between 25% and 75% full. This balances your hunger cues which prevents binge eating.
- Nourish all of you
Bonding over food with loved ones is a long-standing tradition throughout history. This beautiful practice creates connection and nostalgia. In listening to our intuition, we can find fulfillment outside of food by taking bonding with loved ones past the dinner table. Find other activities to enjoy together such as taking a walk, playing games, creating crafts, or simply sitting around the fire. This will not only nurture new connection but will also support intuitive eating over mindless eating.