Five Tips for Intuitive Eating for the Holidays

Five Tips for Intuitive Eating for the Holidays

As we are now in the midst of the holiday season our schedules are filled with family gatherings, multiple parties, and many large meals. The common theme of these events is usually food which can mean we are constantly thinking not to overindulge and too often feeling guilty of what we ate. Let’s end this cycle of guilt and instead explore the idea of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is defined as using all the senses to choose food that is both satisfying and nourishing. This is all about tuning into and trusting what the body is saying about what and how much to eat, and how that feels physically and emotionally. Here are 5 tips from an article titled, “Intuitive Eating for the Holidays: 5 Tips for Survival” to help you be more mindful during the Holiday season!

  1. Give yourself permission to eat enough of your favorite holiday foods.

Let yourself enjoy your favorites! Choosing to avoid your favorite holiday foods causes cravings to increase, not decrease which sets you up for overindulging.  Giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want is dependent on staying connected with your body. Overeating typically happens where there are thoughts of scarcity and restriction like, “I won’t be able to eat this for another year, so I might as well have another slice”. When attention shifts from your body, redirect it back to your fullness cues.

  1. Trust that your body knows how to self-regulate.

If you eat too much during this time of the year, your body will make adjustments over time. So what if you gain a few pounds during the holidays? It is completely normal to have seasonal weight fluctuations of a few pounds during the year. It is important to realize that weight is not fixed but rather a fluid range depending on the seasons and activity patterns. Your weight will normalize over time with normal eating and activity. The media and magazines exaggerate claims of “holiday weight gain,” instilling fear that weight gain is inevitable. The media does a fantastic job inflating this fear to support a 65-billion-dollar diet industry. This holiday season turn off your television and stop reading those crappy “health and fitness” magazines that do nothing but instill fear and stress.

  1.  Self- care 101: What is self-care?

What is your method of dealing with stress? It is important to develop a self-care routine that helps you connect with your body. If you are unsure where to start the most effective stress reducing practice is meditation and breathing exercises. Breathing is free and can be done anywhere!  Even as little as 5 minutes a day can dramatically reduce your stress levels. Other forms of self-care include: yoga, massage, walks in nature, sleeping in, reading, cooking, dancing, playing music, writing, reading poetry, and other forms of pleasurable escape. When you learn to identify what stresses you out and what needs to be done to take care of yourself, it will be much easier to stay connected to your body.

  1. Protect your hunger before the party starts.

Conventional diet advice is to eat before the party to avoid over-eating. This is actually a set up to eat more, not less. If you want to avoid over-eating, go to the party hungry (but not starving), choose what you most want to eat, sit down, stay connected and enjoy. It’s best to set an intention before going to the party that you want to stay connected and that you want to leave the party feeling satisfied not stuffed. It’s easy to avoid over eating if you know these foods will be around (abundance factor). However, the truth is, that some of these foods are not around much at all during the rest of the year, so this makes it more challenging to stop eating when satisfied. There are some foods that will demand more awareness as well as ‘loving limits.’ Foods that pose a particular challenge to stop at satisfaction require loving limits. Loving limits is a practice whereby you agree to limit yourself in a loving way to protect yourself from feeling stuffed. For example, with Halloween candy, a loving limit might be 5 fun size pieces a day. The hope is to honor this to feel good and to exercise the discipline muscle of wanting to feel good and honor your truth- not saying no out of deprivation or avoidance.

  1. Once the parties are over, please do not go back on another diet.

It is tempting to want to go back to another diet, especially after the holidays and the winter hibernation that sets in. Remind yourself how every diet you went on only worked short term. Remember that once you went off the diet, the weight came back, plus about 10% more from when you started. The best way to regain a sense of control is to redirect the focus from outside of yourself (scales and diets and points and calories) to inside yourself. Reconnect to your hungers, reconnect to your body. Focus on slowing down enough to hear the subtle cues of hunger and fullness. Practice getting into your body every day to shift the awareness from outside to inside. Your body craves movement just as it craves rest and relaxation. It takes some discipline to train your body to crave this, so in the beginning it does take some effort.

Article from: // Author:  Karen Scheuner