Inviting Food Peace to Your Holiday Table
"What if peace on Earth could begin at the (holiday) dinner table? Imagine experiencing inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how (much) to eat." ~ Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN
The smell of savory stuffing, spicy pies, and rich butter wafting through the door. The sound of familiar voices and laughter of friends and family as you knock on the door.
Thanksgiving is a holiday for all your senses. And while I love this time of year now, I didn't always. I remember how challenging this time of year can be for anyone with a disordered relationship to food and their body. If that's you...don't despair my friend. You're not alone!
Thinking back to the holiday scene above, as you're about to enter your holiday gathering...
What's the first thing someone you haven't seen in a while typically says as you come in the door? "Hi, don't you look...(insert body appearance related comment)!" Sound familiar?
How about the conversation around the holiday table? Anyone commenting on how much they or someone else is eating? Anyone launch into a virtuous speech about their up-coming "life style change" in January (dripping with diet culture nonsense!) so they're just living it up now!?! Any food pushers at the table...constantly offering more servings of food somewhat persistently?
I'm guessing that at least a couple of these scenarios sound familiar. Which is unfortunate. It's unfortunate that we take a perfectly innocent holiday, marinate it in our weight stigmatizing diet culture rhetoric, and launch ourselves into an all out holiday food binge fest, because after all - it's only once a year!!
Ridiculous! Let's change that for you this year, shall we!?!
This is your year to be thankful that you're not a part of that crowd anymore. Nope, you're done being body shamed by comments (either directed at you or others) from relatives and distant friends. Done feeling pressure to eat more food than you're satisfied with just to please your host/hostess. You're ready for a change this holiday season. This is your year to bring food peace as your guest to the holiday dinner table! Here's an invitation to help you make that happen...
Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, co-author of the book Intuitive Eating came up with an Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights. These statements are in fact your birth rights in regards to eating during anytime of the year, but they're even more relevant now during the holidays. I invite you to practice creating boundaries around each one of these statements just as you would any other right you hold sacred:
1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgement, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying, "no thank you," or "maybe later" to dessert or a second helping of food.
4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
5. You have the right to say, "no thank you," or "maybe later," without explanation, when offered more food.
6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no," even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat, "no thank you, really."
7. You have a right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast (or even as your first course if that's what you're really looking forward to!).
Remember that only you know what's best for your body. Only you know what your hunger/fullness/satisfaction needs are - even in the presence if well meaning family members and friends.
I hope that you find this resource helpful. May you find peace in using your intuition to guide you through not only the Thanksgiving meal, but all the holiday parties, cookie exchanges, family get-together's, and right on into New Years!