This One Thing Can Change Your Holiday Eating

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Turn off the All-or-Nothing thinking.

I know this may sound too simple but really, y’all, this is HUGE…

This old insidious leftover symptom of dieting causes us to eat more than we normally would, and then feel weird about how we ate it. It’s a soul crushing joy-sucker.

This one mind-shift changes things drastically.

We’re all familiar with how we inherited our All-or-Nothing compulsion. We started dieting to lose some weight and the next thing we know:

  • We’re eating everything we can before each diet – saying goodbye to all the things we love which we shall never eat again!
  • We’re avoiding each “fattening” food like it’s the plague – all the while longing for exactly what we cannot have. Making certain food illegal gives it far more power over us than it deserves.
  • We’re bingeing on “bad” food after each diet and feeling weak and guilty about it – but at least we’re enjoying the old favorites we’d missed (making them even more special).
  • And then of course there’s a nice big helping of shame. Shame over not being able to stick to the diet perfectly, even though it’s not humanly possible. Shame over feeling out of control with food once we think we’ve “blown it”.

Then add some excessive food anticipation to the desperation about the deprivation – and WHEW!

All. Or. Nothing.

NO “non-diet” food, or TONS of “non-diet” food.

Enter Holiday Season 2016. All-or-nothing thinking can really kick up during the holidays. It yells at us to just go ahead and give upuntil after the new year. Go ahead and eat it ALL until January 2017 and then start that New Year’s Diet.  Again.  Just like last year.  And the year before that.

But.

What if?

What if this year is different?

What if we changed the channel in our brain from All-or-Nothing to Savor-Some-Things? A liberating idea…

Now, imagine it’s January 2017. 

The holidays are over.

What if you look back and see that you’d thoroughly enjoyed a few thoughtfully chosen pieces of your favorite Halloween candy? Or what if you’d savored one fun-size treat* every day for the entire last week of October? And what if enjoying those treats hadn’t led to eating ALL the candy because you remembered that forced deprivation was over. Forever.

What if you looked back and remembered a lovely Thanksgiving Day? You had one perfect piece of Aunt Deloris’s chess pie (my favorite since I was 8). You’d thoughtfully fixed a plate of what you wanted at Thanksgiving dinner. Not everything – but all your favorites. And you savored the meal and the day and the people. You felt a bit fuller than you normally do after The Feast of Thanksgiving, but there was no guilt. No harsh judgement. Just an observation.

What if, over the course of the Christmas season, you remember feeling relaxed and reasonable most of the time? You deeply enjoyed your favorite Christmas goodies now and then. And you’d really enjoyed Christmas dinner too.

And what if you had felt no guilt about eating these rich foods? In fact, you felt grateful. And blessed. You experienced the beauty of savoring – which is also honoring. It enriched you and your holy days.

What if you looked back and saw more peace around food this year?

And what if, when you did eat more than you wished, you said to yourself “Hmmm. That didn’t feel good. I would of felt better if I’d eaten less. I’ll remember that next time.” And what if you didn’t beat yourself up?

What if this year you focus on eating more slowly and mindfully than last? And then next year it gets even easier – more and more relaxed and mindful with each passing year…

What if this is a beautiful journey after all?

Not a battle.

A journey of discovery – not just about food, but about ourselves?

And what if you decide to love yourself through it? To take a deep breath and trust that all will be well, even when it’s messy.

 

 

*Side note concerning sugar: I work with some liberated eaters who have decided not to eat sugar. This is not about dieting or deprivation for them – but a personal choice after exploring and finding what works best for them, right now.

5 thoughts on “This One Thing Can Change Your Holiday Eating

  • October 26, 2016 at 7:27 am
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    What a beautifully written article. That brought back a lot of memories for me before I went through your program. I can never express my gratitude enough for you, that I no longer live in that frenzy. The holy days are so much less stressful, even with all the hecticness going on, when everything doesn’t involve preoccupation with food. I plan the meals and cook for crowds, but now it’s done with love and not fear. Learning balance brings life, freedom and enjoyment.

    Reply
    • October 26, 2016 at 9:08 am
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      Carol, thank you for your kind words. I love this thought: “everything doesn’t involve preoccupation with food”. You have such a creative and generous gift of hospitality – it brings me great JOY to hear that your gift is FREE to FLOW!!!

      Reply
  • October 26, 2016 at 8:01 am
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    Cindy – This is AMAZING! I’ve traditionally had a “cheat day” mentality where it’s a free-for-all of eating for a day (or 3) and the inevitable guilt comes rolling in after. I truly feel your insight will help me make this holiday season different. I love your detailed descriptions of how to properly plan meals and savor food choices. You’re awesome!

    Reply
    • October 26, 2016 at 9:04 am
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      Thank you Cassie, this means a lot coming from YOU. Your discipline and devotion to vibrant health inspires me! And WOW – I can certainly relate to the “cheat day” phenomenon. I lived there for years. Perhaps the next step in our on-going maturity (for it is a journey after all) is to move from occasional cheat days to consistent and peaceful choices everyday. GOOD THINGS ARE AHEAD!

      Reply
  • November 15, 2016 at 10:12 am
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    Wonderfully, wise words! Thanks , Cindy!

    Teresa

    Reply

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