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Taking the Guilt Out of Holiday Eating

Too often we focus on eating “clean” or “good” foods when training to be able to maintain energy and optimize our recovery. However, this overly restrictive type of eating is not realistic and can lead to feeling guilty and shame when eating “forbidden” foods especially over the holidays.

If this sounds like you, holiday eating shouldn’t cause stress and make you feel badly about eating foods you enjoy with your family and friends. Overcoming food guilt is all about your mindset. You need to dismantle your food beliefs by stop labeling foods as “good” or “bad” or making statements like “carbs make you fat”. These statements are unhealthy and lead to making unrealistic food rules that shame us. You need to think big picture and not obsess over how much you ate, just remember the experiences you had with your family and friends instead.

Intuitive Eating

Becoming an intuitive eater can help you be more aware to the physical sensations that occur when you are hungry so you are more satisfied at meals or snack times. It also helps to remove the obstacles you face when eating based on your food rules and beliefs.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating include the following:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace with Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Respect Your Fullness

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

7. Honor Your Feelings with Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise- Feel the Difference

10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

How to Balance Eating

Eating schedules can be out of whack when we are stressed or busy over the holidays. Here are some tips to help you balance eating during this time.

  • Don’t skip meals. Eat at your regularly scheduled mealtimes so you don’t show up at that holiday party or family meal too hungry and end up overeating.

  • Balance your plate. Don’t just fill up on foods that don’t satisfy your hunger. Eat a variety of foods including protein, fruits, and vegetables to increase satiety.

  • Maintain your exercise routine. You may back off on heavy training over the holidays, but don’t stop it cold. Stay active with running fewer miles, cross-training or going for a family hike.

  • Plan your indulgences and consciously decide what to skip eating.

Instead of having the New Year’s Day mindset of getting back to overly restrictive eating, practice mindful eating before the holidays to you have a plan to keep a healthy relationship with food.

Eat with compassion and no guilt when over indulging and realize that it’s only one day. When it comes to holiday meals, realize that this is not your normal eating plan and that it’s OK to over indulge your favorite holiday dishes. Happy Holidays!

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