Happy Thanksgiving! In between the time I first thought about writing this post and the now, when I’m actually writing it, the lovely Robyn wrote this amazing post addressing how to feel less stressed around food during the holidays. If you haven’t already, give it a read! Also, thanks for your feedback on this post. I so appreciate you sharing. Though the celebrations, the friends and family, the food are all wonderful, intuitive eating and body image during the holidays can be tough, to say the least. There’s traveling, lack of structure, different foods. Messages telling you to get into holiday shape. Tips for not “blowing your diet” at parties. How-tos for focusing only on controlling food and your body and thus missing out on everything else. So here are a few thoughts and tips on intuitive eating and body image during the holidays.
Prioritize. I spent way too many holidays where controlling food and my body was my top priority. As terrible as it sounds, spending time with family and friends did not top making sure I got my workout in or avoiding the dessert table. Maybe you’ve experienced this, and the guilt that comes with it. When your life is consumed with disordered thoughts, it’s not easy to get out. If you’re there, don’t let the guilt overtake you. Start slow. What’s one way you can actively prioritize spending time with friends and family, for example, over controlling your body? Maybe for you, that would mean not going for a run Thanksgiving morning so you can have time to chill over a cup of coffee.
Once you prioritize more important things than controlling food and your body (which won’t work out anyways), I think it’s helpful to remember that health can still be a priority. But it’s equally important to remember that health is not just about food and exercise. Sleep and stress and relationships play a huge role in your health. Stressing over what will be on the table is what’s actually detrimental to your health, versus enjoying the food and company.
That leads into my next thought: trust your body. I know. It’s so much easier said than done. But practicing intuitive eating and movement really does make a world of difference. Once I stopped trying to micromanage my body and gave myself permission to eat all foods, I stopped feeling crazy around pumpkin pie. Listen to the cues your body gives you. (That would include NOT “saving up” all day by not eating so you “deserve” big holiday meal.) Enjoy food and rest. Know that it’s okay to feel full. To truly rest. Trust that your body knows what to do. Practice body kindness.
Again, easier said than done. Something that might help, especially if diet talk gets overwhelming, is a social media detox. Obviously those messages are out there and we can’t avoid them entirely. But the sheer overwhelm that accompanies the holidays is no small hurdle to overcome. Cutting out even a small percentage of diet messages frees up space for you to listen to your body.
And the last one, something I feel like I say all the time: give yourself grace. You probably saw that coming. Maybe it should be my new tagline. But really, it’s so important to not let a day, or even a slew of days, set you back on your body-trust journey. Maybe you eat past the point of comfortable fullness. Maybe you stay up late and sleep in instead of working out. And maybe those things were actually what was healthiest for you in that moment.
So what has intuitive eating and body image during the holidays looked like for me? This week, I’ve done a lot of much needed resting. Fewer squats, more walks. Or stretching. Or laying in bed reading a book. Fewer salads, more cookies. By the end of the week, I’ll (probably) be ready to get back into routine. But for now, I’m looking forward to a few more days of minimal work and multiple opportunities to eat pumpkin pie.
What are ways you can trust your body and be present during what can be a hectic time? Thanksgiving traditions/highlights? What are you thankful for? I’m thankful for oh so many things, but I’ll take this opportunity to say that I’m thankful for YOU. For reading and caring and following along. It means the world to me. I learn so much from your thoughtful comments and I’m super thankful for your support. Enjoy your day and weekend, lovelies! <3
Linking up for Thinking out Loud!