If there is one first piece of encouragement I can give you as we move closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday season as a whole, it's this: you don't need to limit your intake, save your calories, meticulously track every calorie to leave room for treats.
Take it from the Intuitive Eating queen herself, Evelyn Tribole.
"When you rigidly limit the amount of food you are allowed to eat, it usually sets you up to crave larger quantities of that very food."
"When you rigidly limit the amount of food you are allowed to eat, it usually sets you up to crave larger quantities of that very food." Evelyn Tribole
The more restricted we are, the deeper desire we have to rebel and eat larger quantities of that food later on, often when we give ourselves pseudo-permission to eat, during the holidays or parties, and then we feel out of control.
Feeling in control doesn't come from more control- it comes from FULL permission! Knowing that all foods fit in a balanced life- and that balance is different for everyone- but balance doesn't come from restriction or limiting your permission. It comes from knowing you are free to choose what is right for you, in the moment, ALL the time- and responding to your body's needs. This is a powerful shift as we move closer into the holiday season.
Rather than spending time stressing over how you're going to control your eating over the holidays, start by practicing allowing yourself permission.
Now- this doesn't happen overnight, it is a process; so don't be discouraged if you feel like you don't allow yourself permission on the first try (or you allowed yourself permission and ate all. the. things.) this is normal, and it won't be long before you allow yourself to eat all types of foods, and you feel more calm and less crazy around food.
Three Mindset Shifts for Allowing Permission to Eat:
Mindset shift 1: Food is just food. It doesn't change a thing about me.
Too often we put food on a pedestal- eating these foods is going to make me unhealthy (as if it happens automatically!), or bad- or if I resist these foods, I'll be healthier, or good. I know, because I felt this way for a decade. I remember feeling so guilty when I ate the appetizers (usually because I was hungry!) or eating dessert when I wasn't hungry. Remembering that food is just food and having a neutral mindset around it, knowing it serves more than one purpose- as fuel, nourishment and pleasure (it can be just one or all three, depending on the situation) and eating food, whatever choice we make, doesn't change a thing about us. It doesn't make us good or bad for resisting or eating a certain food. It's just food. It serves to nourish our bodies, fuel our bodies and also to provide us pleasure- during the holidays and beyond. We can be confident that we can eat all types of foods, without it changing anything about us as a person- and our health is not changed by one choice.
We can be confident that we can eat all types of foods, without it changing anything about us as a person- and our health is not changed by one choice.
Mindset shift 2: I can have these foods, any time.
One of the biggest fears I see come up when I work with clients is this: "If I allow myself permission to eat all foods, I will eat all of the things!". This may be true the first few times you allow yourself permission to eat all foods, especially if you've been restricting. This is normal and remember: it doesn't change anything about you (and I promise- it doesn't last!). I see this a lot around the holidays- and I know it was true for myself, because we have an idea in our head that we can only have these types of foods on special occasions (in this case, around the holidays or at certain events) and this creates an unnecessary urgency around the foods, making us feel like we'll miss out if we don't have them RIGHT NOW (which can often send us into a tailspin of rebellion and restriction. First, eating all the things, and then, restricting all the things out of guilt and shame).
This is psuedo-permission; only allowing ourselves foods at certain times and the overwhelming urgency it creates can be all-consuming. A helpful mindset shift is moving from "I can ONLY have these foods at x party, or around x time of the year," to "I can have these foods ANY time".
Maybe those specific Christmas cookies won't be around in June. So enjoy one now. You will enjoy one so much more more when you truly desire it and it's not wrapped in guilt or shame rather than shoveling as many as you can down the hatch because "I'll be good tomorrow!".
Remember: fun foods are available any time of the year. Cookies are available any time of the year. Those specific cookies are available for you to eat tomorrow, as well, because food is just food- you don't need to do anything to earn it, you aren't bad for eating it, and you will be serving your body better by allowing yourself permission and tuning in- instead of swinging from restriction to rebellion all season long.
Food is just food- you don't need to do anything to earn it, you aren't bad for eating it, and you will be serving your body better by allowing yourself permission and tuning in- instead of swinging from restriction to rebellion all season long.
P.S. Healthy living is available all year long, too- which means the habits you've created t o feel good are available throughout the holidays, along with eating fun foods. It doesn't need to be either-or. You can choose nourishment and permission.
Mindset shift 3: My body knows how to self-moderate, I only need to allow it.
If we've been in a space of on-again, off-again dieting, feel like we need an expert to create a meal plan for us in order to eat healthfully, or feel out of control around food, the idea of self moderation can be a little daunting. A lot of women I work with try and convince me, "They can moderate what they eat, I just can't. I don't have the willpower,".
Here's the truth friend, it's not about willpower. It's about permission. If we rely on outside cues to tell us what to eat, it feels impossible to learn moderation without them. The more we tell ourselves we can't moderate, the less we are able to (and the more we feel like we need willpower or outside cues to tell us how how to eat). It's a vicious cycle! What better time to begin to learn to tune in than around the holidays? Take the pressure off of yourself to use willpower, jump in and out of a strict plan around holiday parties and know this: your body knows how to self moderate, if you just allow it. Just like with permission, this isn't an automatic thing- but it starts with permission to eat all types of foods, and then tuning into what sounds good and what will feel good. It's ok if you don't know what that means yet- you don't need to have it all figured out to allow yourself permission and begin tuning into your body over the holidays (and beyond).
And before you jump into a new plan come New Year's- know permission to eat while nourishing your body well is available all year long. This is where The Supermama Society comes in- to guide you from the restriction/rebellion cycle to your beautiful balance.
If you loved this and found it helpful on your journey to eating more intuitively, you will love the newly reformatted Supermama Society! Registration opens on December 3oth, and I can not wait to dig into this new group coaching format to help you grow in your journey of eating well and living well, beyond dieting and live like the Supermama I know you are. Get on the wait list- registration will be limited!