Have you noticed that we tend to celebrate with food? Celebrations are a powerful, culturally-sanctioned trigger to eat, over-eat, and even binge-eat. For many over-eaters, food-centered holidays are a dreaded challenge and a source of post-holiday rumination and self-dissatisfaction.
Here’s a new paradigm to try: have a fiesta without having a feast. The word “fiesta” originates from the word festus which is Latin for “joyous.” The essence of a holiday is celebration. Eating is but one way to celebrate. Try to experiment with celebrating a single holiday in a way that is not food-centered, in a manner that is joyous but not necessarily gluttonous. Pick one of the many calendar holidays or personal events, and make it a fiesta, not a feast. For example, instead of going out to eat to celebrate your birthday, have a picnic. Eat, commune with nature, throw a Frisbee. This way you’ll have a celebration that will involve some eating but will not be primarily food-focused. With Thanksgiving coming up you have a perfect opportunity to try out this kind of celebration mentality.
Start simple: if a particular heavy-eating event has been a long-standing tradition (such as a family reunion), then it is best you leave it alone, as it is (at least, for now). Practice this fiesta-not-feast mentality on a more personal occasion in which your wishes for the format of the celebration are fundamentally your prerogative. Relational anniversaries and birthdays are perfect opportunities to experiment. Aim to develop a standing tradition of celebrating some of the calendar and personal events in a non-food-focused manner.
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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (November 13, 2009)
Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2011