Holidays and Eating
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
I have noticed that over the past few weeks, I am getting more referrals than usual from people struggling with eating . The holidays can be a difficult time for people who struggle with disordered eating. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays are often centered around food. Here are some tips to navigating the holidays when you struggle with disordered eating:
Work on reframing your thoughts around the holidays and food. Remind yourself that you can eat these foods ANYTIME you want. We tend to overeat on candy, desserts, and holiday food when there is underlying restriction going on. Instead, practice an ABUNDANCE mindset - There are so many opportunities for me to eat pie; I can make these foods anytime I want; The Halloween candy never goes bad, it can last all year.
Do not "save room" for holiday food. If you are eating Thanksgiving dinner at 5, do not skip breakfast and lunch. Doing that will set you up to have a huge meal that you are likely to eat mindlessly and quickly because you are famished.
Eat holiday foods mindfully. Use all five senses - what does your food smell like? What does it taste like? What does it look like? Eat slowly and roll around the flavors on your tongue. How much are you enjoying each food? Think about how your food got to the table. I have had so many clients tell me that once they ate food mindfully, they learned that they don't enjoy the Halloween candy all that much.
Eat according to hunger and fullness. Remember that you don't need to eat all the food today, and that leftovers taste just as good. How hungry are you feeling, how much room do you have? You don't have to keep eating if you are full already. If dessert comes around and you are no longer hungry, you can have it later.
Practice self-compassion if you overeat and feel stuffed. DO NOT compensate for it by skipping meals the next day, as that will only keep you in the cycle of disordered eating.
Think about what you really want to focus on this Holiday season. Do you really want to focus on what you eat and don't eat? What are some non-food things that you can enjoy in this season? Here are some things to think about as you shift your focus: Who am I spending the holidays with? Who am I excited to see? What do I want to talk to them about? What am I doing? What do I have to talk/share about? What can I do to have the most fun this holiday season? How do I want to feel, physically in my body, throughout this time?