Eating around the Holidays |My experience, struggles, and some friendly advice.

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First of all, I want to say welcome back to my blog! I really appreciate you stopping by. I have not written on this platform in quite some time due to life being busy and then some technical difficulties. But we got those fixed, so yay!
I really love writing, and I love how I can connect with you all on a deeper level than just in a short Instagram caption.

The holidays – a time of both excitement and anxiety. Let me explain.

With the holidays approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my relationship with food used to cause so much anxiety and feelings of guilt when I was younger. Sure, sometimes it still does if I’m being honest. But my mentality has evolved over the past few years, that I now actually do look forward to those home cooked meals and special traditions with family.

I know the holidays do cause a lot of stress for many of you, I’ve even gotten several dm’s on IG asking how I approach holiday eating. I’m still figuring that out, but I’ve found the number one thing to do is…. not stress. That’s it. Stress will kill you faster than any dish with a ton of calories or fat or sugar (or whatever else your mind decides to demonize that day).

Say no to diet culture.

With diet culture sending us the message that we need to “prep” for the Thanksgiving meal by fasting before hand or running a “Turkey Trot” the morning of, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to earn food. Let’s get this straight, you never need to “earn” food. I know a lot of have fitness goals, and we eat a certain way to support that, but that doesn’t mean eating different foods or more food is inherently bad. I’m not saying totally neglect eating healthy and working out just because it’s the holiday season, but don’t feel like you need to earn your Thanksgiving meal by doing cardio at 6am or not eating all morning in order to save up room for family lunch.  I’ve been there, trust me it’s not a good idea. Going into a big meal starving is just going to set you up to eat way past the point of fullness, leading to more discomfort. Simply eat a couple of normal meals before your family gathering, then eat you desire. If you truly listen to your body, you’re not going to “over eat.” If you know certain foods are very rich or may cause a stomach ache, just be aware of that. But also remember, it’s one day out of the year – enjoy yourself. Enjoyment is key to health. I would strongly argue that your relationship with food is more important to your well being than the food itself. Remember it’s okay to have fitness goals (I do!!!) but they should never get in the way of time with family.

Family…

Thanksgiving can be quite a hard holiday for anyone that has dealt with disordered eating in the past. You may feel like all your family is judging what you eat, looking to you, “the healthy eater”, for their own diet advice. They keep a close eye on what you are or are not eating. You feel like if you go back for seconds, someone will make a comment like “oh your eating more? I haven’t seen that before.” Or, if you choose not to eat something, you get the comment “go figures, you don’t eat things with butter or sugar.” (or some other off putting comment). These comments are hard. Most of the time family members do not mean any harm, the love you! But, that doesn’t mean they fully understand your situation, past, or struggle. They might not know that thinking about eating that pie is already making you nervous, and that any comment about it is only making it that much harder.

Learn to appreciate the people around you.

Instead of focusing just on the food you’ll be eating, turn your focus to the memories you’ll be making with loved ones. I know for me, when I was really struggling in my eating disorder, those years have bad memories around food. Last year, I remember making all kinds of memories and fully enjoying the moment. Your mindset is everything. I know it’s easier said then done, but keep working through it. This time with family is so precious, it’s a shame to let it be ruined with worrying about food and your body.

Incorporate your healthy habits with holiday habits.

You don’t have to be all in or all out. Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you’ve “ruined” your healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to “get back on track” the next day if you don’t think of it as a cheat meal. Just simply return to eating foods that make you feel good. Don’t try to eat less to compensate. That’s unhealthy and just leads to a bad cycle. As far as exercise, if going to the gym that morning fits into your schedule with stress, then go! If it makes you happy 🙂 If you’re not able to, even just talking a walk with family after the meal can be a great way to get your digestion moving and make you feel a little active! Taking a short walk after meals is something my coach Paul suggests, and it really helps me physically and mentally.

I hope this helped, and if it did please let me know! I know we all have our own struggles and I believe we can help each other feel a little less alone. Let’s embrace this holiday season with open arms and work on finding that “balance” we all long for. I love you all!
xoxo,

Steph

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