Are you eager to make it through the holidays without succumbing to the stresses of the season, without feeling restricted and without overeating and gaining weight?
If you’re a natural eater then the holidays are nothing special in terms of the abundance of food and the treats that are unique to this time of year.
If you’re someone who would define themselves as having to “watch their weight” or who has a stressful relationship with food, the holidays can be a particularly stressful time. Learning how to navigate stress without losing your grip on healthy eating is fundamental to enjoying the holidays fully and freely. The easiest way to make this your reality is to educate yourself on the ways that you might get tripped up in your use of food to cope this Christmas season and to have clear and effective strategies for turning yourself into a natural eater rather than a mindless eater.
Natural Eating means eating in response to the natural signals of hunger and fullness from our body and overall making choices that lead to a state of optimum health and wellness.
If you eat naturally you have no genuine cause for concern about gaining weight or being a weight that is higher than your natural body weight at any time of year. If you’re a natural eater you feel safe being around any kind of food in any quantity any time because you know that you will:
That’s the natural eater’s experience of the holidays’ they’re not big deal.
Now for those of us who struggle with food and weight issues, that feels like some sort of fantasy and certainly seems far removed from how we currently approach food.
Those of us who feel stressed about food and weight would say that the following criteria represent us more closely than those of the Natural Eater:
- Eat when you’re hungry;
- Stop when you’re full;
- Make honoring choices the majority of the time (choices that enhance your health and overall wellbeing);
- And make choices to have the processed and refined treats that abound at this time of year in moderation.
The most important thing to keep in mind about food and the holidays is that if you’re eating and you’re not hungry there is always a valid reason for you doing so. It’s got nothing to do with you lacking willpower or being lazy or not caring enough about yourself.
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- We feel controlled by food
- We feel guilt and judgement from within for eating certain kinds of foods and certain quantities.
- We feel compelled to restrict certain kinds of food (Whether we’re actually successful in that restriction or not, we certainly do try!).
- We may count calories, points, grams of this and that, but whatever we use as the determining factor for what to eat and when to eat it is not whether we’re hungry and whether we’re full. Thus we often find that we come away from meals feeling unsatisfied either because we’ve overeaten or we’ve restricted.
- Often our choices about what to eat are not at all coming from a place of what is the healthiest choice but what has the least fat/caloric/sugar content. This means that instead of having a small piece of something that is a relatively healthy choice (like good quality dark chocolate or a homemade piece of pie for example) we’ll have something that is filled with preservatives and chemicals that our body can’t digest because it’s got no fat or no calories. The irony of that circumstance being that it’s the chemical laden foods that often lead us to overeat because of the chemical reaction they trigger in our body and it is those foods that typically lead us to put on fat as our body works to protect itself from the toxins that are in those foods and in so doing, stores the harmful chemicals within protective fat cells which are then sent as far away from any key organs as possible. This is why there are more fat cells around our middle, our hips, thighs, buttocks and why those are the places we’re likely to add a few extra pounds – they’re the safest locations to store the toxins that we’ve just ingested in the name of weight loss and “health.”