Food Freedom Over the Holidays

There is no shame if you identify as one of the millions of people who have anxiety about food during the holidays. For YEARS, I would be raising my hand right alongside you while hoping no one noticed.

Figuring out our relationship with food is tough no matter where you fall on the spectrum. As I've shared in previous posts, I have struggled with disordered eating since high school. It was always a sneaky struggle - one that wasn't overtly obvious to those around me but that kept me mentally captive and miserable.

So, that pretty much made a huge chunk of my life filled with food anxiety, over-exercising and continual judgment. And yes, I absolutely hated it but didn't know what to do about it.

I am no expert and am still pretty much figuring this out as I go, but I am all about sharing what we know with one another.

So, here is what has helped me have food freedom over the holidays . . .

1. Being full (even stuffed) is normal.

This one can feel tough because so many people (myself included) can use any "holiday" or special occasion to eat past the point of comfort as a way to zone out or because they fear it'll be the last time in a long time they can enjoy these particular foods. EVERYONE sometimes eats past capacity. No, that doesn't mean we should aim to eat so much we feel miserable. But it also doesn't mean we are bad if we do.

2. Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Is that annoying? Maybe, but there's something to paying attention to how you are feeling as you grab another handful of chips. I am NOT saying you shouldn't eat the chips. I am suggesting that you notice you are feeling excited, bored, angry or happy when you grab them. Noticing our emotions around food doesn't have to mean we change our actions, but it does awaken us to paying attention to what's happening while we make our food choices.

3. Eat what you like.

Holidays feel tougher for food insecurities/anxieties because there's so much food and usually so much family and friends around to compare yourself to or worry about or feel overwhelmed by (Maybe not for everyone, but I can say with certainty a lot).

Choose to make the holidays and every other day of the year a day that you can choose to eat the types of food you like. If you don't like brussel sprouts, pass those babies up. If creamed corn casserole is your jam, grab that spoon and don't be shy. Of course we know and acknowledge that our bodies need a variety of foods to ensure overall health, but that doesn't mean you have to fill your belly with things that make you go "ick."

4. Don't plan a diet for the New Year.

This one will feel really tough at first. So many people around you (hello, Instagram!) will be posting about their fitness goals and diet plans come January 1st, and I know it is going to be tempting as hell to jump on that train. But don't.

What if you focused this holiday season and new year on loving yourself more? What if that included pie and yoga? What if that meant less time scrolling Instagram and more time having cocoa with friends? What if you chose to read books you enjoyed and went on more walks? What if you tried to eat more variety and experiment with new recipes instead of cutting out entire foods from your diet? Doesn't that sound way more doable and actually like . . . fun?

Maybe a goal for 2018 would be to be more of who we are instead of trying to mold ourselves into people we aren't - just a thought.

Praying ease over your holidays and that the food you consume would have its rightful place as enjoyed sustenance instead of fear and anxiety.