Holiday meals, as well as the holidays themselves, should be fun and relaxed, a time to enjoy with friends and family. But what happens if you, like many of us, are very afraid to reconcile your usual diet with your seasonal faves? In a perfect world, food would never be guilty, and the holidays would be a pure time of the year. But we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world of rigid ideals and cultural expectations of body and tons of messaging, how to lose weight or keep it off. Every holiday season I see clients fighting for food with fear and guilt. Let's be honest: The holidays are almost as much about food and drink as gifts, Christmas trees, and the Menorah. Eating and drinking more or richer food than you normally do will certainly happen, and that's fine. But feeling bad and anxious feels bad. It just is not productive and you do not deserve it. You need a plan and I have your back. No diet or nutritional plan, mind you. It is more of a mental health plan where food comes into play.
Here are my four best tips for managing the vacation time – and everyday life all year round, in all likelihood, with eating disorders. (Of course, if you can not get your food under control Anxiety or if your life shows up in a constant or intrusive manner, you should check in with an RD or a psychiatrist who is both capable are to help people with eating disorders.)
1. Try to let go of eating rules (best forever, but at least for this season only).
The hallmark of this mindset is that you either diet or are on a diet and are "good" or "bad" and once you've "slipped", all your efforts to practice moderation and enjoyment have failed Perhaps you are now either punishing yourself with even more calorie restriction or by eating and drinking far beyond the point of fullness and enjoyment.
No, do not do that.
Leave the all-or-nothing Think about it By accepting that you want to eat what you like during your holidays – food that you probably can not eat the rest of the year – and when the holiday season is over, switch back to eating in your non-holiday time daily. We are not meant to eat the same diet day after day, the foods we eat and the amounts we eat change with the seasons, the needs of our bodies, our cravings en, our emotions and stress levels and yes, the ebb and flow of holidays.
I find that clients have this all-or-nothing mentality going into the holidays with strict plans, not temptation to go (the "nothing" part of the equation) and if the rigidity and avoidance of the Food that they really want to eat does not inevitably fail, they go the "all" route (after all, refuse to do things you just want then probably do it later ) and eat and drink a lot more than they like, which reinforces their feelings of food and guilt. It is even harder for them to return to their basic values of non-holiday life and eating. Nobody deserves to be forced onto the roller coaster of deprivation and guilt. If you can free yourself from the all-or-nothing mindset, you can completely avoid this roller coaster.
. 2 Distinguish yourself from people who feel bad about your body.
As for me, the best course of action is when you spend time with someone who will feel stressed or triggered whenever possible to avoid this toxic situation altogether. But of course this is not always possible during the holidays. We may have to spend a whole afternoon and evening with Aunt Martha, who can not help but comment on your weight. If you need to be close to someone who thinks it is okay to make intrusive observations about you, you should be able to set boundaries with them by telling them directly that you are not talk about your body or your diet (or whatever you want to comment on)). I've also found that direct "This is none of your business" does wonders, but of course the brutally open route is not easy for everyone and does not always feel appropriate. You can also try to change the topic of the conversation and guide it away from you.
We can not always choose who is present at our holiday events, but we can take steps towards self-care that will help us stay in sticky situations. Take a deep breath, apologize alone from the table for a moment, or go for a walk so you can text a friend who gets it. Avoid, when possible, situations in which you feel emotionally insecure. Sometimes it's best to save yourself by getting yourself out of the situation as a whole. It means self-care and you are worth it.
. 3 Food and dinner fears are the focus during the holidays, so increase your self-sufficiency accordingly.
In my experience, food anxiety is like any other kind of anxiety – the more you take care of yourself, your fear, no matter which form it is, it becomes easier to handle. Plan some time before your calendar becomes too full. If, like me, your exercise routine is part of your mental health care, keep your exercise in rotation mode. If you are overwhelmed with events, parties and celebrations, take a look at all the invitations and find out which one you do not have to say "yes" to. Remember, you do not have to go to every event you are invited to. Of course, we do not want to let people down, but trust me when I say that the one hosting the party will surely overcome this if you can not, especially if you are one of many invited guests. Overwhelmed with life, it can lead to mood disorders and heightened anxiety, so keep yourself in balance by normalizing your schedule in every possible way.
. 4 Give yourself permission not to count calories or macros.
The season should be enjoyed, so get rid of dieting and rules (and if you're already there, you should let them go all year round). The more you feel "on a diet," the more likely you are to rebel against it, and then feel guilty and ashamed when you eat something that you think is "forbidden."
I do not agree mostly with calorie counting, but especially during the holidays calorie burns and carbohydrate numbers can be frustrating and take the joy of eating. As you focus more on your own hunger stimuli and the enjoyment you enjoy from the food you eat and the holiday experiences, I think that this is a happier, less anxious meal.
even more so if you are afraid of eating and eating. But with a few simple steps, we can at least destroy the worst fears.