The holidays are a difficult time for women who don’t have a healthy relationship with food. From restrictive eating to overeating, this time of year can create some serious food anxiety.
So in today’s post I’m sharing four diet-free, practical tips that will help you feel more confident at the holiday dinner table.
And the reason I can help is because I’ve been there too. For ten years I felt like I had only two choices when it came to holiday eating:
- Avoid eating foods that I thought were bad for me.
- Accept that overeating is part of the holiday tradition…and deal with the aftermath in January.
Perhaps you can relate.
But you know what? Both of those options stink. Restricting and overeating are signs of self-sabotage, not self-love, and they’re getting in the way of you reaching your ideal weight.
Fortunately, there’s a third choice:
(3) Eat what you want. Stop when you’re full.
Sounds easy, huh? It is, but it takes time.
This holiday season you need to give yourself permission to eat. Eat what you want, just do it mindfully and slowly. Don’t be afraid to eat, but don’t be afraid to stop eating either.
I know this might be a different approach for you, one that may make you a bit anxious. Here are four techniques that you can test out to get you started:
Decide What To Eat
Have you ever eaten something only to realize that it wasn’t what you wanted? When this happens you feel full but not satisfied, which can lead to overeating and feeling guilty. So instead of rushing in to eat what’s on offer, stop for a moment and consider what you really feel like.
Prepare To Eat
Want to know my secret to enjoying treats without gaining weight? I put them on a plate or in a bowl. This keeps me portion-aware and makes the whole eating thing feel more official. Seeing food before you eat it also triggers the release of the digestive enzymes that are crucial to digestion. Pre-dinner snacks and dessert are best eaten from a small plate, or at least a napkin.
Don’t overthink it – this isn’t rocket science. Eat without distractions, chew your food properly and place your silverware down between mouthfuls. Also, remember to breathe.
Stop and Reflect
In French Women Don’t Get Fat Mireille Guiliano writes that she eats half of her plate then stops for a while to check in with her appetite. If she’s still hungry she eats a bit more. If she’s satisfied she stops. I like this idea and thought you might want to experiment with it too.
Most importantly, try not to make this into a bigger deal than it has to be. Food is just food, there’s always more of it, you can eat what you want, and you can stop when you want.
You really can. And I never thought I’d be the one to say that.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.