Eat whatever you want and don’t feel guilty about it.
But it’s not that easy right? No one can expect you to erase 20+ years of social conditioning and toxic diet culture by the time you get to Grandma’s house for turkey dinner. That’s a big (and pretty impossible) ask.
Instead, we’re going to talk about how to navigate the holidays with a healthier mindset about food and our bodies and by taking it one step at a time, if we can’t reach body positivity then neutrality is the next best thing. Let’s talk about those little steps forward that we can take.
For so many of us, the act of eating a holiday meal can involve guilt, shame, punishment, anxiety and an unhealthy serving of commentary from friends and family.
It starts with changing your mindset. Everyone is different. There’s no blanket advice I can give you, but let’s try to break it down. Do what you feel might work for you and toss the rest – that’s good advice for pretty much any aspect of life.
Don’t focus on carbs and calories.
It’s hard to turn off those thoughts isn’t it? Resist the urge to mentally add up the nutritional value of the food. Focus on enjoying your food. If it helps calm your mind you can eat slowly, make your own plate with smaller portions, and only eat the things that you really want to. Baby steps.
Don’t punish yourself. Remember that whatever meal you’re having is about love and connection and it’s totally okay to just focus on that. Redirect any hurtful or mean thoughts.
Don’t pay attention to what anyone else is eating. You don’t need to compare what you’re eating against what someone else is eating to feel good (or bad) about yourself.
Have control over your plate. Don’t eat to make other people happy. Is there something you don’t like eating but you feel obligated to? Say no when it’s offered, get a smaller portion, or give the food away to someone who likes it.
It’s okay to say no to second helpings if it’s something you don’t like and it’s definitely okay to have as many helpings as you want of your favorites!
Commit to stepping off the scale for the next few weeks.
It might not stop the guilt but at least you won’t be obsessing about a number. It’s okay if your body fluctuates in the winter. Practice compassion for yourself.
Break the toxic cycle of “I ate something bad, I must punish myself by exercising or depriving myself.”
Try to change that mindset and if you find that difficult, then compromise. Incorporate physical activity into your holiday plans. Walk around looking at holiday lights instead of driving. Take nature walks with your camera and take photos. Plan a family sports activity after your gatherings for anyone who wants to play. Invite people to bring their dogs and go for walks together.
It’s okay to add more physical activity to your life right now but let it come from a place of connection and fun instead of deprivation and punishment.
Just love on yourself. Those feelings don’t go away in a day. Reassure yourself in your head that you’re allowed to enjoy food. You’re allowed to eat what you want. Try to redirect your negative thoughts to something neutral or reassuring. Being body positive during the holidays is hard but it’s rooted in kindness to yourself.
Dealing with body shaming.
This is also the time of the year when you’ll see Aunt So-and-So and you just know that she’s going to comment on your weight. How do you deal?
We all want to be the person that can shut down body-shamers with ease, right? If that’s something that you feel comfortable doing, that is awesome. If you’re not comfortable opening confronting someone, that’s okay too, we all do what we can do. Instead you can say something like:
“Can we talk about something else?”
“Let’s focus on how great it is to see each other.”
“Well, I’d like to talk about how I…”
“I’m learning to focus on loving my body no matter what I weigh.”
“Do you really think it’s okay to say stuff like that?”
“Today is about gratitude for me, not weight.”
Walk away from the conversation.
It can be hard to navigate the holidays while keeping self-love and body positivity at the forefront.
The important part is that you try, even if you don’t get it perfect. Check out my Instagram for more holiday tips.