Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are back, ready or not!
As we all know, the year-end festivities can bring happiness and cheer. But then again, there’s a lot of emotion-charged side-effects that go along with the “most wonderful time of the year.”
And if you’ve ever been in a strained relationship with your body or your food, the holidays might not bring the sparkly feelings that you wish they would.
It’s that moment when you get that party invitation. Or you put that family dinner on your calendar. You want to be excited for good times with loved ones, but something else happens instead…
Your mind starts to envision every potential holiday eating disaster.
What if the appetizer table at the company party is a smorgasbord of temptation, and you just can’t help yourself?
What if the family dinner feels more like a minefield of forbidden foods than a time to enjoy special moments with loved ones?
These are the kind of thoughts that bring more worry and panic than comfort and joy.
But here’s what I want you to know…
Just because holiday celebrations often revolve around food doesn’t mean that a binge eating incident is your holiday destiny.
You can make it through the holiday season without fear of the holiday food. You can make it through to New Year’s without gaining that seven to 10 holiday pounds that the average person supposedly gains.
And did I mention that you can do this while still partaking of your favorite holiday delicacies?
So stay with me, and I’ll share the strategies that have helped me and the thousands of women I’ve worked with to let go of holiday food fear for good!
Let me show you five ways to navigate the food situation at any holiday gathering–and still enjoy every bit (and bite) of the season!
Step One: Don’t “Save Calories.” I bet you know this game. The big holiday dinner with the family is looming on your calendar, so you make a deal with yourself. You’ll starve yourself all day so that you can “save” those calories for a super-sized meal at night.
It sounds logical enough, right? But ironically, “saving your calories” usually ends in consuming all of those calories right back–and more.
Why does this happen?
If you’ve been starving all day, you’ll end up a ravenous trainwreck by the time dinner rolls around. And that in itself triggers all the overeating that it was supposed to prevent. And sometimes, that overeating morphs into a full-on binge.
Not quite what you bargained for when you decided to ration out your calories for a good cause, right?
So don’t deny your body the nutritional support that it needs all day in hopes of a guilt-free eat-a-thon that night. Take care of your needs in every moment, even on special days.
Not only will this help you avoid the pain of overindulgence, but when you do get to your party, you’ll make grounded, present-moment minded food choices. This means you’ll actually enjoy your food instead of wallowing in guilt about it! So it’s a big-time win-win.
Step 2: Let go of holiday food FOMO. So you get to a holiday shindig, and BOOM–you see your “downfall” holiday delicacy, front and center on the appetizer table.
And right away, your brain tells you to eat it NOW. And lots of it. Because if you miss your chance, that holiday treat will vanish for another year, right?
But here’s a truth that you won’t hear anywhere else…
Just because a holiday lasts for one day doesn’t mean that your favorite foods will turn back into pumpkins at midnight.
That right there is holiday food FOMO–the idea that you have to eat all the special holiday foods NOW, or you’ll miss out for another year.
And when your brain thinks that food is scarce–whether it is or not–it’ll flip on the survival switch and send you into food overdrive.
Now, here’s the thing. If you’re privileged enough to be reading this right now, I’m guessing that you have access to most of the essentials in life. That means that a genuine scarcity of food probably isn’t part of your reality.
But if you’re afraid that there won’t be enough food for any reason, your survival-minded brain will still hit the panic button. And make you think you have to consume all that you can eat.
Now, here’s another truth: holiday food FOMO is just a straight-up lie. Or in other words, it doesn’t have to be an official holiday for you to enjoy a holiday-themed treat!
Let’s face it–you could have that pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, or Christmas cookie any time of the year. You don’t have to force yourself to gorge on seasonal treats for fear of missing the holiday window!
Because let’s be real–that isn’t food freedom. And freedom is the ultimate goal, no matter what time of year it is.
This brings us to Step 3!
Step 3: Embrace your freedom. There’s something exciting on the other side of hyper-control with food. And that, of course, is freedom!
Because no matter what day it is on the calendar, freedom with your food is the ultimate goal. So if you allow yourself a bit of wiggle room all year round, the special days are a lot less likely to trip you up.
Even better, the more consistent you are with food freedom, the more trusting of a relationship you’ll create with your body. And when you and your body trust each other, magical things happen.
You won’t worry about not being properly fed. Food scarcity triggers won’t be an issue. Your survival instincts will be kept at bay.
That means you’ll be less likely to fall into overeating, even at holiday time!
Step 4: Visualize yourself at peace with food. Maybe it sounds silly or kind of “woo-woo.” But I can attest to the power of visualization. It has helped me create my dream life–including my dream relationship with my body and my food!
Visualization can be a little bit scary, though, especially when you’re new to the practice.
After all, to envision the life that you do want, sometimes it means confronting what you don’t want. It means letting go of the things you fear and shifting your focus to the things you love.
But if you’re like a lot of us, and you’re default visualization mode is envisioning a disaster before picturing a miracle, this can be a tricky transition.
Add to that an ongoing war with your body or your food, and a holiday party might trigger a vision of your worst overeating nightmare.
But what if you could picture a happier outcome? One where you’re at ease, empowered, and enjoying every moment of the holiday food experience?
I recommend giving your brain a chance to see the outcome that you desire rather than the one that you dread.
Why is this such a powerful action?
If you start picturing yourself as the person who navigates food situations with ease, you’ll start identifying with that person. You’ll feel what it feels like to be confident in all food circumstances.
And when a food-based event happens “IRL,” you’ll embody that vision with a lot more ease!
Even better, visualization helps you prepare for any life situation, whether it’s a job interview, the big game, or a holiday party! So it’s a useful life skill no matter what.
So how do you harness the power of visualization to make your next holiday party a joyful experience?
Just create a scene of how you want that holiday party to go, almost like you’re a writing a movie.
Envision yourself, for example, walking into the party. You’re connecting with friends, feeling confident, and enjoying the food. And without fear, guilt, or loss of control.
Make the scene as vivid as you can. Capture the feelings that you want to feel, and let them arise in your body. Then picture the scene to the point that your brain is convinced that it’s a done deal.
Then when you stroll into the event, it’ll feel more like a walk in the park than a walk on the plank!
Step 5: Keep the activities that keep you grounded. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of the season. While the festivities can be exhilarating, the hustle of the season just might take over your life.
And from there, it might uproot you from everything that keeps you grounded.
So regardless of the date on the calendar, remember to take time for yourself and do what makes you YOU every day!
That means keeping up with the things you love–and that love you back. Maybe for you, that’s a workout, a meditation session, or quality time with your journal.
Not only will your everyday self-care practices keep you centered, but they’ll also help you manage special events with more grace, ease, and confidence.
Most of all, you’ll end up feeling more peaceful, cheerful, and joyful. And isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about anyway?
I hope that these tips and tricks help you have a happier and more empowered holiday season!
Remember, these tricks work are there for you any time you’re facing a potential food freakout. So use them well no matter what the season might be!
Of course, this approach to the holidays might be new to you, and I get that! I was on board the holiday struggle bus for over a decade before I decided to hop off.
So if you’re looking for a more support to break free from the struggle with your body and your food, I’ve got a holiday gift with your name on it!
Don’t let food freakouts come between you and your best life anymore. Set yourself free from the fear of food, once and for all–my training will show you how!
Grab it for yourself at the link below!
Have you ever hit the food panic button when the holidays roll around? If you’ve ever feared making it through the season of food without gaining 10 pounds or losing all control, I want to hear from you!
Leave me a comment if you relate, and tell me which of the above tips you plan on using to help you have the best holiday season ever!