Intuitive Eating for the Holidays

The holiday season has long been known to be a time of tradition. Many special traditions involve family, friends and celebration, but even more involve food. For someone struggling with problematic eating, food addiction, attempting to lose weight or change eating habits, the holiday season can be an especially difficult time. Events that should evoke emotions of fun and celebration, are often met with dread and anxiety by those that feel they may lose control.

During this holiday season, stop the diet and try a new and different approach to managing eating behaviors.

1. Correct Distortional Thinking - Distortional thoughts are beliefs we have which only bring us back to a place we don't want to be. Thoughts like: It's just one time a year....  I'll start my diet for the New Year.... This is the ONLY time I can enjoy Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, so better drink as many as I can!  Having these types of thoughts creep into your mind can easily derail you from your bigger goals of attempting to be healthier and not binge or overeat. To combat these thoughts, we work on a strategy called Thought Stopping.

2. Minimize and Manage Stress Levels - Stress is often the emotion that tends to send us into a tail-spin of making poor choices for our health and well being. When we're stressed, we feel out of control, rushed in our routine and like we just can't handle ONE MORE THING. When we feel overwhelmed during the holidays, we tend to control the things in our life that demand the most attention - busy Christmas shopping, scheduling ALL the events, traveling here, there and everywhere, juggling stretched budgets and still trying to take care of LIFE. The problem is, when we're trying to stay in control of everything else, we tend to slack on other areas -- unfortunately that's usually ourselves. Self-care and taking time out for ourselves is the thing we put LAST when everything else is crazy. Sometimes, this translates into our health goals, managing our binge eating behaviors or saying TO HECK WITH IT in working on making healthy changes.

3. Plan Ahead - Having a plan about how you're going to manage difficult situations can be one of the single, best ways to prevent a binge episode. Having a plan doesn't mean you won't experience cravings or urges to binge, but it does mean you'll be better equipped on how to respond to cravings.

4. Support System - Have you ever tried to manage your disordered eating issues during the holidays ONLY to be met with all your family members bombarding you with triggering statements and judgments. Do you really think you need to go back for seconds? I'm only eating the vegetables this year because I'm trying to watch my weight. Phrases such as these can be particularly difficult for those with disordered eating issues. Many people don't understand the difficulty in trying to maintain these changes, ESPECIALLY when there is an abundance of food. Eliciting a support system which understands the difficulties you may face may be most helpful in making changes for your eating behaviors during the holiday season. Explain to your friends or family members your goals and ask them to support you. In the Happy Healthy Holiday program, we will be discussing specific dialogue and examples you can use with your family to help them understand.

5. Focus on the Reason for the Season - From Halloween to Valentines Day, it may seem like there is one celebration after another featuring food. So many times we put ample focus on the food at each of these gatherings. For those with disordered eating issues, the food focus may be even more heightened. This glamorizing of food tends to blind us from other important parts of the holiday season - friends, family, tradition and celebration. It might be helpful to remind yourself that although Grandma's Apple Pie may be very special because you can only enjoy it once a year, it's likely many of the other foods can be made anytime throughout the year. Focus on the real reason for the season and take the glorification out of the food. 

Do you need help with addressing these areas?

In the Happy Healthy Holidays Support Group we will be addressing ALL of these issues and more. If you're the person that has made progress towards goals and you're TERRIFIED you might relapse during the holidays -- then this group is for YOU. If you're wondering how you can possibly enjoy food, when you constantly feel like food is the enemy -- then this group is for YOU. If you find that you are constantly stressed to the max during the holidays, which in turn, leads to eating ALL the holiday cookies -- then this program is for you.

Program Begins on November 11th.