5 Tips for Enjoying Thanksgiving as a Intuitive Eater

Enjoying Thanksgiving as a Intuitive Eater is very possible with a plan. Intuitive Eating is the “antidote to the craziness you feel around food and your body.” It slowly takes you away from the diet binge cycle that can steal moments from your life. The journey to become an intuitive eater is not a short one, and occasions like Thanksgiving that center themselves around food can threaten to derail our progress if we don’t go into them with a plan.  

This post is for those of us out there that are relatively new to intuitive eating. If you have memories of Thanksgivings ending with sour stomachs, guilt and an inevitable diet starting the next day, this post is for you. If you feel at all anxious going into Thanksgiving, let us take your hand. 

5 Tips To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving As A Intuitive Eater

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  1.  Eat breakfast:  I know what you are thinking: this used to be a dieting tip I’m sure we all diligently followed (as well as its opposite: don’t eat all day until the meal, because you know you have to try everything). But in this case none of these tips are to ensure we don’t “overeat” on Thanksgiving Day. Intuitive Eating is not about perfection, or ensuring you never feel “full” another day in your life.  Eating a breakfast that will sustain you IS about nourishing your body for what will certainly be a busy day, probably including a lot of standing and cooking, maybe cleaning, crafts with the kids, whatever….eating is actually a form of self-care. Additionally, you will enjoy your day, and the food you do eat, much more if you don’t get to the point of being ravenously hungry. When we become too hungry, our biological need for food takes over, making us eat ferociously, and making it nearly impossible to actually savor and enjoy the meal in front of us.
  2. Spend Some Time In Your Journal Before Guests Arrive: Regardless of where you are in your Intuitive Eating journey, a “food-centered” holiday that includes our friends and family members can be a lot for anyone that has any past or present disordered relationship with food. Take a moment to sit down in the morning and reconnect with the reasons you have made this shift to become an intuitive eater. List a few ways that IE has positively impacted your life. Define specifically what the day means to you and what you are hoping to get out of it. This preparation will go a long way into creating a beautiful day and a barrier to diet culture’s attempt to shove her way up to the table.
  3. Prepare to Protect Your Boundaries:  In our coaching program we discuss this with women nearly every week. Those of us that have found ourselves in disordered relationships with food, have gotten to that point because diets themselves have become a huge part of our identity. It can be very alarming for your family members to see a change in your behavior around food. While protecting our boundaries, we can still have compassion for our family members that have no idea what we are doing. Many of us embark on this journey to repair our relationship with food alone, without even telling anyone in our families. It is natural for them to ask questions and continue to make comments. However, vocalizing this paradigm shift we are making can feel incredibly vulnerable at the beginning when you are still shaky when it comes to this huge 180 you’re doing in your life.  Rehearse a response to comments or questions you don’t want to discuss regarding your weight, why you aren’t dieting, etc. Something like, “ I’m not dieting anymore, let’s focus on giving thanks today, that’s what the day is about right?”  Reconnecting with your purpose like I mentioned in #2 will also make you feel more confident and stable if family members make comments that are hurtful  
  4. Get Outside For A Walk: To be clear: not for the sake of burning calories. You may be seeing a theme here… as an intuitive eater things that we used to do because a weight loss program prescribed it become acts of self care that you choose to do because it ultimately makes you feel great. Getting fresh air has been linked to heightened mood, concentration, and overall health.
  5. Remember Intuitive Eating Principle #3 (Make Peace With Food): As the third principle dictates, as an intuitive eater we need to remove all labels we previously placed on food.  As it is a special occasion, there will be both more food than normal, and foods that you don’t typically eat.  Take it step by step, and eat what you feel like to a point you feel satisfied and pass on what you don’t.  You can have a slice of every pie, if that’s your thing, and you also have permission to pass on Aunt Bertha’s no-name casserole if you’re not feeling it. 
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Although it will look a lot different this year, Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays are times of gratitude, family and making memories that will last forever.  With relatives and children around, holidays are heavily anticipated and magical. When I think back to my holiday memories however, my overwhelming feeling was always regret and shame for eating too much, getting off track on my goals and having to start over fresh.  I recall family members always lamenting about “how guilty they felt for how much they ate,”or “how the pie was sinful, and sticks right to the hips.” They’d declare, “the diet starts tomorrow” and comment on who lost or gained weight. And frankly…those memories suck.  

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Enjoying Thanksgiving as a Intuitive Eater strips the power away from food, and from the dieting mentality that has stolen so many holiday memories out from under our noses in the past. If the thought of Thanksgiving dinner makes you feel anxiety and dread, it doesn’t have to.  You could stroll into the holiday, feeling your best, void of any rules to be broken or shame to be felt.  You could eat what you want, stop when you are full and be fully present with your relatives.  Waking up the next morning, you could think not of all the things you ate, and what you will have to do to work it off, but truly just what a nice day it was.  

If this is what you want, but you can’t even conceive how to get there from where you are now, take a moment to set up a free breakthrough call with one of our coaches. We’ll discuss the root of your food and body image challenges, and how you could see this shift in your life and become an Intuitive Eater. If you don’t believe it’s possible, take it from one of our past clients who were in the same exact place not too long ago.   

For other posts about navigating holidays as a intuitive eater, click here

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