Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recovering from a Holiday Hangover (and I'm not talking about alcohol)

I'm republishing this post (with a few modifications) from my archives.  I wrote it the day after Thanksgiving last year.  I am realizing that I need to read it again and take my own advice.

Give yourself permission to eat...unconditional permission.

You do NOT have to earn the right to eat food.  It doesn’t matter that it was Thanksgiving just two days ago.  That was then.  Today is today.  It doesn’t matter if you ate a lot more than you are used to.  It doesn’t matter if you ate “bad” foods or not.

You are allowed to eat today.  Are you hungry?  What are you hungry for?

Don't give yourself penance for what you ate in the past.  Don't tell yourself that you will exercise or diet in the future in order to not feel guilty about eating.

Food is more than just food.

Food can intellectually nourish:
During a meal, we nourish our minds by sitting around the table and talking to people.  We get a chance to share stories and hear about the lives of other people.  We use our brains to cook and bake yummy things.  Eating gives you brain power.  If you skip a meal, you skip more than just the energy needed to move your body; you skip out on intellectually stimulating your mind and your social skills.

Food can spiritually nourish:
During a meal, we nourish our souls.  We pray before we eat.  We thank God for the gift of food.  Meals are really very spiritual and scripture based.  There are incredible teachings centered on food and meals in the Bible if you stop and think about it.  For example, the Passover, Manna from Heaven, the Last Supper, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the Eucharist, just to name a few.  If you skip a meal, you miss important spiritual nourishment.

Food can emotionally nourish:
Eating IS a very emotional experience.  Everyone remembers their favorite things to eat as a kid.  Lasagna is so nostalgic for me that eating it can bring me back years and years.  Food can be associated with traditions.  Can you say, “Birthday cake”?  Root beer floats, Friday night treat night, bike rides to the tasty freeze, and “slapping” cheese.  I won’t explain why all those foods have meaning to me beyond just nutrition.  I would run the risk of overloading the inside jokes to poisonous levels.   I am sure everyone has their own stories about childhood and food.
{Photo courtesy of}

Want to make this Holiday Season more enjoyable?  Want to get rid of your fear of the feast?

This Holiday Season, you can change the way you view the abundance of food.  Start by asking yourself what you are really hungry for or what you are really craving.

Don't eat something just because you think you "should".  Don’t make food choices because of what other people are eating, what you think is healthier, or what you think you “should” eat.

Allow yourself permission to eat unconditionally - without repercussions.  Remind yourself that if you don’t eat all your favorite foods today, you will still be able to eat them tomorrow.

Eat slowly.  Ponder the food you are eating, where it came from, what it tastes like, what it looks like, etc.

Trust yourself.  Your body is NOT a Tasmanian devil waiting to be released.

This might take some time.  So don’t get too discouraged if you find yourself reverting back to your old ways or feeling the old guilt trip after eating “sinfully delicious” desserts.  Be kind to yourself.  Give yourself a break.  And remember, food is not intrinsically evil.  Food cannot be “sinful”.  This concept is a fabrication of the modern media via commercials and women’s magazines.

If you improve your relationship with food, you will find that your Holiday experience will be more enjoyable...and nourishing!

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