'Tis the season to get strong AF
After years of disordered eating habits, I appreciate the relaxed attitudes around food, and message of ‘Chill out and enjoy all the food’ this time of year, however, it is often under the condition: indulge ‘for a limited time only’. But the idea of having a short window of time where we can eat what we like might exacerbate anxiety, especially those deep in struggle with dieting and restriction.
Of course, I’m all for enjoying all the festive season has to offer, and after years of work on my mindset, I’m now thankfully in a very intuitive place with food which makes it so much easier to enjoy. But for a long time this wasn’t the case for me, and while this message would temporarily relieve some of my feelings of guilt and anxiety, in practice, made things worse because I didn’t know how to apply it.
I would stress out for days about various upcoming social events and all the food that would surround me, and whether I would be ‘disciplined enough’ to not go crazy. To be honest, the idea of eating what I wanted scared me to death. While the notion seems exciting, when you’re not used to giving yourself permission to eat what you want, it can make you feel very out of control— because, let’s face it, diets that put us at war with our bodies, hardly help us nurture a relationship of trust with ourselves.
But the good news is that we can learn to build that trust through the practice of checking-in with ourselves and our bodies, letting go of judgement, and knowing that we’re not always going to get it right and that’s ok—that the next time we eat is just another opportunity to practice.
Some things that help to build trust:
Consulting ourselves on our food choices, and honouring our preferences. Not eating things for the sake of it, that are frankly shite ‘because it’s Christmas’. If you want something make sure it’s fabulous and that you really want it—a rule I live by. Stollen for instance 🥰 (Rudy, you have no chance in hell love).
“Go on, just have another, it’s Christmas!”— And yes, this is also an opportunity to practice saying ‘NO’ to others if we actually don’t want any more or any at all, and getting over our people-pleasing behaviours, which also makes us feel powerful AF. #bonus
Checking-in with our bodies and not eating until we feel sick because there’s zero joy in that. Which means that we take things a bit slower and ask ourselves how we’re feeling: “Am I still enjoying this?” “Am I over it?” “Am I full?” “Am I satisfied?”. If we want more, we can have more, if we don’t, we can leave it—did you know you can leave food on your plate when you’ve had enough? #crazyiknow #whoknew And my personal fave, “I’m fine for now, but maybe I’ll finish it later if I feel like it”.
And lastly, understand that we are inherently worthy. That there are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, only food, some more nutrient-dense and some more calorie-dense than others and that our value as humans on this earth cannot be diminished by consuming anything.
The reality is that most of us are eating a bit more than usual, so if anything, look forward to all the gains that await you when you get back to the gym— ’Tis the season to get strong AF. 😄💪