If you are someone who celebrates Thanksgiving, this might be a stressful time for you. There is usually family involved, and with the addition of food, there is often food and body talk. So, if you are working on improving your relationship with food and your body, here are some tips that may be helpful for you!!
1. Set boundaries
Boundaries are an important thing to establish if you typically experience comments about your food choices or your body. People inevitably end up commenting on these, and having some techniques on HOW to respond can be helpful. Here are some examples:
Comment: “Oh you must be on a diet, you’re eating so healthy. I could never do that.”
Response: “I actually just enjoy eating veggies, and I’m looking forward to the pie later.”
Comment: “You look so ______”.
Response: Address their name, “I would really prefer to not talk about my body size, tell me something interesting that is going on in your life.”
Comment: “Ugh this is so fattening. Good thing diet starts soon!”
Response: You have a couple options here. “Actually did you know diets end up failing 90ish% of the time?”. You could also choose to ignore this completely, or direct the conversation somewhere else, “this pie is good!”. Reaffirm to yourself that YOU know that diets don’t work. Remember that it is NOT your job to convert someone to see things the way you do, but it is your job to take care of yourself that best you can (which might look like removing yourself from some of these covos).
Comment: “Just try some, I made it special for today!”
Response: “I am actually so full right now. That looks delicious, could I take some as leftovers?” Or, if you feel comfortable, a simple “no thank you” should suffice. You do not need to make someone else happy by making yourself miserable, even if the food is a symbol of their love for you.
Another blanket comment could be – “I’m actually approaching my health in a different way, and I would really appreciate it if we could talk about something other than food or bodies. Would that be ok with you?”
“I feel” statements can also be helpful. People generally feel (ha) more positive towards you if you frame it this way. For example, “I feel anxious when we talk about food, could you tell me more about what’s going on in your life? I would love to know more about ____.”
Again, these are all statements that might be helpful as you navigate this holiday. I recommend testing out a couple to see which ones fit best for you, and then practicing so that you are prepared!
2. Eat consistently throughout the day
Even if you are having a large meal early in the day, you still need to eat. Start with having breakfast, and have lunch and/or snacks depending on what time your meal is. Feeding yourself appropriately is important so that you aren’t starving come dinner time, and you can actually enjoy and savor your food (and aren’t a grumpy mess up till then).
3. Choose foods you like to eat!
Not into green bean casserole? Skip it! Love rolls? Eat them. Choosing foods that you actually want to eat is part of this experience. Do you want lots of hot foods? Cold? Salty? Sweet? Savory? Taking a second before you dive in to identify what you really want can be part of the fun! Also, remember that you can choose to have these foods at any point throughout the year, not just around Thanksgiving.
4. Practice gratitude
I encourage practicing gratitude daily. You can start by writing down (or saying out loud), three things you are grateful for each day. State what you are grateful for and WHY. This can be at the end of the day, or at the beginning, whichever you choose. Practicing gratitude may help improve mental, physical, and psychological health, and may also strengthen relationships, all of which are so important!
Example: I am grateful for the ability to get outside and walk because it clears my head, and I feel more alive, energetic, and able to focus after. Your turn!
5. Do boring self-care
Since the holidays can be stressful, self-care is essential. This doesn’t mean big fancy bubble baths with flowers and wine, although it can mean that if that’s your jam. But what I am talking about is boring self-care. For me, that’s prioritizing sleep, consistent meals, and some sort of movement every day. Write out your top three boring self-care items that keep you sane, and do those everydamnday.
So there you go! 5 ways to help stress less around this season. Remember you do not need to “detox” or “eat clean” after this holiday. Your body will take care of itself, and you can help by listening and caring for yourself compassionately.
Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you! Happy Thanksgiving!
PS. I am going to be running a #dietculturefreeholiday challenge December 3rd-7th. This will include daily emails, worksheets, and the chance to be entered to win a copy of the book Intuitive Eating! If you would like to join, sign up HERE!