Holiday eating: Lead with logic & love
By: Haven Nutt
The holidays can be bittersweet for a lot of people. This season can carry a lot of emotional baggage around eating and exercise. Past traumas with food never cease to show up this time of year. Triggers here, trigger there, triggers EVERYWHERE.
We see companies chomping at the bit to reel us in for the upcoming “diet season.” Floods of articles and ads tell us what foods to avoid or “better” foods to substitute for our holiday meals. Many fitness brands give us extreme workouts leading up to the big meal. People are coming at us from left and right, telling us what to eat when to eat it, what portions to serve, and how to make sure we burn it off. This isn’t one of those articles. I think you know what to do.
The holiday season is by far the most challenging time of year for people who suffer from an eating disorder or any disordered eating. Eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose. As a society, I want us to evolve and heal from that statistic.
I pinpointed something straightforward that is the core of what helped me navigate my eating disorder. That is—you have to invite logic into the conversation. Your mindset and inner conversation cannot be 100% emotionally driven. Without reason invited into the equation, you continue living in a made-up headspace that keeps you drifting further away from reality. That emotional space is a dangerous place to be.
“I just ate two pieces of pie. I’m the biggest failure on the planet. I’m disgusting. I’ll never recover from this.”
Is that logical? Is that factual? No. It’s an emotionally driven statement that is only causing harm. Invite logic into your thinking.
“I ate some pie. I also ate nutrient-rich foods all week. It’s just pie. It’s going to digest just fine. I’ll be just fine.”
We all hold the power of logic and love. Invite them to your conversation.
Lead with logic, love, and the basic instinct of what feels suitable for YOU. Do you get a healthy high off of running a 5K on Thanksgiving morning or doing your favorite boot camp? DO IT. Do you like spending all day on the couch sharing stories with family, snuggled up, and cozy? DO IT. Maybe you enjoy doing a little bit of both?—DO IT. The reality is those holiday foods can be made using “healthy” and “wholesome” ingredients or not. Either way, they will digest just fine. You will be fine. Tackling the mental side of it is the battle. Release the power of food by focusing all your energy on your present memories with your loved ones.
It has taken a lot of time, constant practice, and persistent gentleness with myself to overcome the (all-too-common) guilt and shame regarding food. Overcoming it meant disassociating toxic emotions from food altogether. It didn’t happen overnight, but nothing ever does. Life is one effective practice. Like yoga, like exercise, knowledge, self-love, breathing–everything is a practice.
Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. So let’s embrace them. What scents are in the air? What family recipe is being shared? What moments will become lifelong memories? So grab hold of your loved ones, walk into the kitchen with presence, and celebrate the memorable moments being created.
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