Getting stressed out from the thought of eating over the holidays? Allow yourself to celebrate togetherness, and let food just be food.
It’s the time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. From Halloween to New Years Eve, where all the sweets and treats come out in full force, and it seems like the universe is plotting to take you down.
You may feel overwhelmed by the weight of it all. After all, history has taught you that you can’t make it through the holiday season successfully.
Maybe you can’t get by without eating all the holiday treats and feeling like a failure. Maybe you end the holidays vowing to be a better person and start the New Year on the latest detox diet. You are all too familiar with the guilt and shame that comes with holiday eating cycle, and how this robs you of joy of the season.
You may have managed to contain some element of self-control over the year. Maybe you carefully avoid those treats that you know you can’t simply eat one of, or maybe you’ve skipped dessert and stayed clear from all the sweets. Maybe you’ve felt like you’re doing well on your latest diet and are worried about how this incoming holiday treat wave will sabotage your success.
Whatever you’re worried about, the fear is real and paralyzing, taking up that precious mental space as your thoughts are consumed about food and your body. It may be hard to think about anything else when your mind is controlled by the rules that dictate what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
Maybe seeing your spouse or kids eat those holiday treats creates more anxiety for you and sends you on the brink of losing your mind as these food issues become all consuming. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself,
Where is this fear coming from and why is it controlling your life?
I want to let you in on a secret. You are not failing.
That desire to eat all the holiday foods or binge on sweets doesn’t mean that you’ve screwed up or that you have no self-control. You’re not a failure for wanting to eat all the things you don’t normally let yourself eat or for breaking all the food rules you’ve set in place to give you more “control”. You don’t need more willpower, another diet or more ways to become disciplined.
What you need is permission.
Permission to eat those foods that you crave every year, like a slice of your Grandmother’s special holiday dish or the piece of pumpkin cheesecake everyone’s eating at your office party.
Permission to decorate holiday cookies with your kids and actually enjoy eating one too, not pretend like you don’t want one, only to eat a plateful once they’ve gone to bed.
Permission to actually keep food in its proper place, so it’s not stealing your joy, energy, and mental space.
And when you’ve given yourself permission to eat, including all those sweets and treats that are normally off-limits, they suddenly lose their power over you. And when food doesn’t have power over you, you will have freedom to live a life that isn’t bound by what you can and cannot eat.
Because the truth is, there are no good and bad foods or rules you are have to follow. When you can let go of all those judgments and emotional hang-ups that you’ve attached to eating, you learn to trust yourself to make your own choices and view food for what is really is – just food.
So choose being present over being perfect with the way you eat, because no such thing exists anyway. Calm the food chaos by giving yourself permission to eat, taste, and celebrate.
Enjoy the treats, if that is what your body is craving. Take back for yourself what all the obscure food rules and dieting have taken away from you all these years. Take in the memories, the flavors of the season – because you deserve to choose food freedom over food rules.
And by doing so, you are choosing to live.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: MONIKA GRABKOWSKA
Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, & mama of 5. With a virtual nutrition practice, Crystal helps overwhelmed mamas nurture a peaceful relationship with food & their bodies, end the battles at the dinner table and transform their kitchens to place of peace & joy. Learn more at Crystal Karges Nutrition.