How to Avoid Food Anxiety on Thanksgiving

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How to Avoid Food Anxiety on Thanksgiving

In the midst of a holiday season largely focused around food, it’s difficult not to obsess over what and when to eat or not eat. You’ll hear all sorts of information about how many jumping jacks you need to do to burn off a piece of candy or pie, how many calories are in your exorbitant mashed potatoes, or what you need (need) to do to stop yourself from indulging and going off track from your goals.

NEWS FLASH: indulging on a holiday does not equal going off track from your goals. The two are not mutually exclusive. If you want to, you CAN indulge, while staying on track with your goals—no matter what those goals are.
In a world where you’re told to focus on diet choices and mitigating weight gain, try a shift in perspective this Thanksgiving and holiday season. Try eating intuitively: focus on feeling good for a change, mentally and physically.

Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude and plentiful food. Let diet culture and food anxiety take a backseat. That’s not to say give yourself full clearance to eat like an asshole and make yourself sick, but give yourself space to eat the foods you want without worrying about consequent weight gain or counting calories all day. These thoughts are guaranteed to leave you laden with stress about your eating on a day meant to simply be enjoyed.

Eating intuitively can be a tricky balance. It doesn’t mean going HAM on the ham, per say. It’s all about eating to satiety and enjoying the foods you want to enjoy. Here are a few tips you can implement on your Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to practice intuitive eating without going overboard and making yourself sick to the point where you can’t enjoy the holiday (unless of course that’s what you want to do):

1. EAT BREAKFAST. A lot of people skip breakfast to “macro hoard” for dinner, but that deprivation is a recipe for binging later in the day. Don’t go into your meal famished with a shrunken stomach. Have something light to hold you over for an earlier dinner, or if your dinner will be later in the day make sure you get some fats, carbs and protein in that breakfast.
2. CURATE YOUR PLATE. Eat the foods you like and pass on the ones you don’t. Seems obvious and simple, but so many people feel obligated to eat everything (and lots of it) where that’s just not necessary. Pick your poison.
3. TAKE PAUSE. Throughout your meal and when you’ve finished your plate, take mindful pauses and check in with yourself. Let your first helping sit in your stomach for 10 or 20 minutes before you go jumping up for seconds. Give yourself time to settle. Stuffing yourself full too fast is a sure recipe to go overboard. Ever feel a wave of nausea halfway through that third plate? That’s what we’re talking about avoiding.
4. REMEMBER: EATING IS NORMAL. Keep in mind that indulging on (and throughout) the holidays is totally normal. You are not doing anything wrong. Enjoy yourself, even go overboard if you want to. There is NOTHING you can undo in a day as far as your health and wellness goals go, and a lot of the scare tactics you’re seeing on social media are just that: scare tactics.

Ultimately, what you do or don’t do on a single day means nothing in the grand scheme of things. The mentality of all-or-nothing will do much more damage to you than a day (or even days) of indulgence. Keep in mind: whatever you do consistently will be the results that you get. Enjoy your holidays! Give yourself space and appreciate the bounty before you. Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays Team CK! Keep on keeping on.

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