While the holidays can be a cheerful and joyous time with family and friends, it can also conjure up a lot of anxiety and negative feelings when it comes to food and our body image. If you notice that this time of year brings in new challenges when it comes to food, you are not alone. I spend a good amount of time working with my clients on developing healthy ways to navigate these hurdles while promoting a healthy relationship with food and honoring our body. Below, I have listed a few tips that may be helpful in your journey to promote health during the holidays.
1) Set boundaries. Whether the table conversation turns to diet culture chat, or someone feels the need to comment on your weight or plate, change the subject or pull that person aside and tell them how this makes you feel. Boundaries help us respect each other and ensures that we are all entitled to a comfortable and safe atmosphere.
2) Move, but also rest. We don't need to "earn" our holiday treats or meals. Move and exercise in a way that feels good. Pay attention to what your body needs. Sometimes, we want and need a more intense exercise routine, other days we may need to take it easy and walk the dog.
3) Avoid the "all or nothing" trap. We all overdo it at times! But each meal is an opportunity to try and understand and connect to what our body really needs. Challenge yourself to not compensate and restrict yourself the meal or day after you overindulged. This will only promote more chaos! Instead, focus on regular, balanced meals and snacks with plenty of fluid and adequate sleep.
4) Manage stress. Regular movement, adequate sleep, balanced meals and healthy coping mechanisms are essential in managing stress this time of year. Other health promoting tools my clients find helpful are essential oils, meditation and breathing exercises.
This is a complicated topic and most likely requires professional help with myself or another dietitian. If you think you can benefit from extra support, I recommend that you reach out! This isn't easy, but it is so worth working on!