You CAN Eat Intuitively

With all of the holiday parties, events, dinners, and special foods, this time of year can be especially difficult to tune into YOU and tune out the rest. If you’re brand spankin' new to the concept of intuitive eating, I highly recommend this book. It helps rebuild a healthy body image and encourages you to make peace with food. Just like breathing, we are all born with a pre-programmed ability to stop eating when we are full. As we age, this behavior may change, but that is because it is learned. I find it heartbreaking to hear friends or family mention starving themselves all day to enjoy a particular treat. There is absolutely no reason for crazed calorie restriction or for diving into a pool of food guilt…I want you to avoid that! 

It is no secret that the holiday binge and January purge is trademark in our diet-centric culture. Everywhere we turn, we are slapped with food labels, scare tactics, and unrealistic advertising. These tactics make the diet industry billions of dollars and it is at the expense of our physical, mental, and emotional health. Take your horse blinders off and take your own reins to steer your relationship with food before any event. 

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Have a pre-party snack

Who doesn’t love a good pre-game? I know I do! Having a gluten allergy has gotten me into the habit of eating a little something before events and to always have some sort of small snack on hand. I would recommend this little trick for everyone! Have a couple of bites of leftovers, grab a yogurt, a piece of fruit, hummus and carrots, a hard-boiled egg, or a few nuts for a simple and fast fix before bolting! If you’re not coming from home, I’d encourage you to always keep something portable to keep in your car that you can nosh on in a pinch. There are all kinds of protein bars on the market that are easy to store in your glove box!

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Don’t measure yourself against others

Do your best to avoid diet talk and the comparison trap. Know that you are uniquely you and that there is no way that you can objectively measure someone else’s external make up. We tend to compare our worst with other’s best, but doing this puts your focus on the wrong person. You can only control one thing and one life — yours! Retain your precious energy and joy!

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Turn your focus to the folks around you

Expanding your attention at a get-together will help you to notice that there is more than just the buffet table! I’m certainly not suggesting that you’ll be so distracted by engaging conversation and interaction that you’ll forget to eat. I’ve NEVER and will NEVER be one of those people that says: “I was so ____, that I forgot to eat!” I love my family and friends, but I do always eat if there is food available. Take notice of the new things in people’s lives. Does your cousin have a new job? Has someone taken an exotic trip? Did someone get a new puppy that you can supply with your best trainer’s information? Connect. Isn’t that the point of getting together in the first place?

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Turkey is not reserved for Thanksgiving or Christmas

…and neither is sweet potato casserole. If you want something decadent, make it in March, April, May, and June! They sell canned pumpkin year-round, so there is no reason that you should restrict any particular food for one time of year. Of course I realize that the holidays are a time when you make the extra effort to create meals that you normally may not make; however, I just encourage you to not deprive yourself throughout the year so that you don’t feel like you have to “capitalize” during the short holiday season.

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Cut yourself some slack….nothing and no one is perfect.

You may have 2 pieces of cake (or maybe 3). That’s ok! Be kind to yourself. I like to create a mantra for the day — maybe try something like: “I am here. I am here to celebrate. I am here to connect. I am here."

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Get gamin'

My family is BIG on holiday games…and playing games in general. We laugh together and create memories for the following get-together! Games are a great way to de-stress during the holidays. We do everything from charades to cornhole to cards! Make the suggestion post-dinner and see who’s up for it! 

Meghan Ann Martin