By Guest Blogger Alona Orofino
For many years, I saw the Holidays as a food free-for-all. Then come New Year, I would feel gross and happily jump back on the “healthy” train. This pattern was my normal. And it seems to be the norm for a lot of people that I know.
But the problem with that cycle is that it is steeped in black or white thinking. In the idea that you either eat healthy or don’t; you eat sugar or you don’t, etc. That I can either have all of the fun food or none of it. And when I can have it, I need to have all of it because around the corner is another resolution to do better and never eat fill-in-the-blank again.
But here’s the thing: that’s not healthy. Plus, it’s really hard to turn down the second or third cookie when there is a threat hanging over you of never being able to have it again.
So how do we avoid the pitfalls of all-or-nothing with our eating habits? How do we avoid needing yet another New Year’s resolution to start another diet?
The answer is to start looking at what balanced eating looks like year-round. Then, when the Holidays come, we don’t feel the need to overdo it. We can enjoy our Holiday treats without guilt and without another diet looming over us in our near future.
5 Tips for Reframing Healthy Eating
So, as we head into this Holiday season, here are 5 tips to guide you through this alternative approach to healthy eating. Best of all, reframing healthy eating doesn’t include depriving yourself of the things you love.
Always eat regularly.
Shocking, I know! The more regularly you eat, especially on days in which you are planning an extravagant meal, the less likely you are to overeat. The loss of control feeling around food is almost always due to restriction (be it biological or mental).
Eat with balance in mind.
To feel full and satisfied, eat a good mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates that contain fiber. Getting a balance of these macronutrients will ensure that you are balancing your blood sugar and getting the energy you need from various sources. Additionally, you’ll feel less deprived overall if you get all three.
Notice how you feel.
Instead of being in your head about your food choices, shift to how you feel in your body. How much do you need to feel pleasantly full? Are there certain foods or amounts of foods that don’t make you feel well? Start paying attention when you eat. Your body will give you a lot of information that will help you honor it in a way that works for you as an individual.
When it comes to eating the things you love that are not giving you optimal nutrition, mindfulness is key. If you can really savor those foods and appreciate what you love about them, you won’t have to eat them in excess to feel satisfied.
Lead with self-compassion.
If you eat beyond fullness, eat something that doesn’t agree with you, or simply eat things that you know are not the healthiest, it’s ok! Guilt or shame just leads to a pattern of beating yourself up and making more decisions that don’t serve you. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your kid. Kindness is healthy.
No matter what your relationship with food is, as you go into this Holiday season, know that you don’t have to succumb to the same patterns that you have in the past. This can be the season that you stop the cycle and start eating in a way that is both pleasurable and honors your body. And then when January 1 rolls around, you won’t need a reset. You can simply go on with your life with your new balanced way of eating.
You’ve got this, Mama.
Alona Orofino is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor with a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health. She received her training from the Maryland University of Integrative Health.