Thanksgiving is the first of many occasions during the holiday season where delicious foods are plentiful. How we approach this ever present abundance of our favorite and tempting offerings impacts our body, our energy, our psyche. Some of us will start with a firm commitment to avoid all the goodies which, in most cases, ultimately leads to a 6 week sugar-fest and self-loathing. Others will indulge, starting with Thanksgiving and overeat throughout the season with firm commitments to start a diet on January 1. Sound familiar?
I would like to suggest an alternative strategy for navigating this holiday season by following the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch have brilliantly described how to make peace with food and your body in their book, “Intuitive Eating”.
While all of the 10 principles have a powerful synergy, start this holiday season by following Tribole and Resch’s principle 3: “Make Peace With Food”, and principle 5: “Feel Your Fullness”. In practice, this means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what really appeals to you without labelling food as good, bad, fattening, healthy, etc. Ultimately giving in to your “forbidden” foods often leads to overeating and intense feelings of guilt. Use principle 5, “Feel Your Fullness”, to guide you into ending the meal when you are no longer hungry. This requires slowing down, listening for your body’s signals that says “I am pleasantly full and satisfied”, knowing that if you continue eating past fullness you will tip into overeating and uncomfortable “unbutton my belt” fullness.
Allowing yourself to eat what truly appeals to you and stopping when you are pleasantly full and no longer hungry are powerful tools for creating contentment and satisfaction throughout the holidays.