How to manage holiday party food

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The holidays are a wonderful time creating memories.  I remember traveling as a child from house to house for multiple family Thanksgiving and Christmas meals (and at least three sets of presents to unwrap!) all on the same day. 

The holidays are also a time of creating stress.  Since as a kid I just ate and opened gifts, I didn't understand the enormous shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and "family dynamics" that went into the celebrations.  By age 9, though, I did begin to understand one aspect of holiday stress:  the diet.

Dieting in November to January 1st takes on many forms:

  • Throw out all concerns about health and nutrition with "I'll start again on January 2nd."
  • Try to stick-to-a-diet and fret over every party's array of high-saturated-fat/high-sugar foods piled to the ceiling, instead of enjoying the party.  (I remember at one party, during my diet-mentality-days, going to a side room to self-talk and decide if I had the willpower to eat healthy and worried what might happen if I ate one decadent food.  No fun at that party for me.  Just stress.)
  • Tell Aunt Susie you are truly full and don't need 3rds.  And, no, that does not mean she is not a fantastic cook.
  • Take home leftovers to freeze...but since you deprived yourself at the party, you binge on the goodies on the drive home.

Fortunately, for me, I have not experienced that kind of holiday food-stress in years.  After learning Mindful-Intuitive Eating and listening to my body's cues until there is no emotional difference between chocolate and celery.  I can choose whichever foods at a party I am most in the mood for at that time.

As you come into the next few weeks of parties and celebrations, I encourage you to listen in to your body.  Nothing is forbidden.  But nothing is to be eaten mindlessly.  Everything is permissible.  And everything you choose to eat is worth savoring without distraction or guilt.  

Notice how the first bite of food tastes.  Then notice how the second, third, and fourth bites taste.  Once the pleasure diminishes, move on.  You can always have the food again at another party...or as a re-heated leftover that actually made it home. 


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