My holidays used to go something like this:
Brace myself for the buffet by considering what I’m not going to eat. Brace myself like I was bracing for a blow to the brain. Psyche myself up like I was running a marathon.
I’d try to muster up all the willpower I could, so I’d be a “good” eater, and wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt afterward.
Then, once I’d get to the holiday party, I’d pick. A little here and a little there. I’d just pace myself.
But then, inevitably, I’d pile my plate or paw the sweets from the platter.
Like I hadn’t eaten in days. Or weeks.
Or I’d be the perfect restrictor, and then go home, and eat through my refrigerator.
Sure, this didn’t happen every time. But when it did, I felt terrible. Full yet unsatisfied.
I’d tasted a variety of delicious foods, but I barely noticed how they tasted, smelled or felt on my taste buds.
I didn’t savor and I definitely didn’t enjoy.
My diet mentality stopped me from enjoying many holidays – and from being at peace with my food and myself.
Intuitive eating expert Evelyn Tribole has a wonderful way of helping us to foster that peace.
It’s called the Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights, which helps to cultivate “inner peace with food, mind and body,” she writes. Because when we’re preoccupied with food and weight and body image issues, it’s, of course, hard to enjoy ourselves.
And even harder not to feel guilty and ashamed.
So this holiday season, savor the celebrations, and consider Evelyn’s Bill of Rights. She writes:
1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying “no thank you” to dessert or a second helping of food.
4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
5. You have the right to say, “No thank you,” without explanation, when offered more food.
6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “no”, even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat “No, thank you, really.”
7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Consider printing out these commandments. Carry them with you as you go to your holiday celebrations as a much-needed reminder.
Print a few out for your loved ones. Spread the word.
If you’d like to, add a few other commandments to the list that are equally as positive and nourishing.
Remember that one of the best ways that you can nourish yourself is to honor your body.
Unfortunately, in our society, the idea that you can enjoy eating and have inner peace about it is revolutionary.
So be a rebel.
In fact, make that commandment number eight.
What would you add to this Bill of Rights? How do you nourish your body during the holidays?
P.S., Check out the round-up of posts on authenticity over at Katie’s beautifully written healthy living blog, Health for the Whole Self. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I hope you’re enjoying our Self-Discovery Series.
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Last reviewed: 17 Dec 2010