I wrote a variation of this post last year, but I think it’s worth reiterating because I know it’s something that’s probably on most of your minds right now – I know it’s something I’ve been asked about by most of my AnneTheRD clients! How do you enjoy the holidays in a way that embraces the deliciousness of the meals/parties but also leaves you feeling good, both physically and mentally? How can the holiday eating experience be joyful, not stressful?
So many websites and magazine articles tell us how to avoid this and deny ourselves that around the holidays, turning situations that should be fun into stressful internal battles of will. I saw a couple blog posts recently recommending things like “weigh yourself every day!” or “wear your tightest clothes so you will be uncomfortable and won’t eat much!” or “avoid anything with cream!” or “only make/bring food you hate!” Seriously?! This is the advice being given out now? All things that will make people feel extremely guilty, unhappy in their bodies, and like food is the enemy? That makes me really sad. (See also: Why You Should Throw Away Your Scale)
So – to counteract that advice, here are a few of my tips for enjoying what the holiday season has to offer food and drink wise – without stressing yourself out, feeling guilty, or waking up with sugar or alcohol hangovers.
How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday Eating Experience
1) Place nothing off limits.
Yes. I realize this is counter to most of the advice out there. But for the mindful and intuitive eating approach to work, you have to truly allow yourself to have whatever you want, and without guilt. When a food is off limits it becomes MUCH more appealing. And if guilt is involved and you DO end up eating that food, the “screw it, I’ve already had a bite and ruined everything so I’m going to eat the entire party and have a thousand cocktails” mentality appears. Give yourself permission to get pleasure from food. It’s okay! Food is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Remember?