How to Avoid Diet Culture During the Holidays & Stay Intuitive
December can be a scary time if you’re stuck in the depths of diet mentality. All of the food and celebration and socialization can become completely consumed by anxiety-inducing diet thoughts. Not to mention the stress of January 1st resolutions beginning.
- Be prepared
Listen to your body’s hunger cues throughout the day. If you are headed to a party and find yourself worrying about what food options might be available, avoid the unknown by having a snack or meal that makes you feel good before you go.
2. Don’t “save yourself” until mealtime
If you’re stuck in diet mentality, I’m sure you have done it….gone hungry because you have a big Christmas meal coming up. This is really a form of restriction and bingeing and it perpetuates diet mentality. There is no reason to starve yourself or go hungry in order to eat at a later time. Eat intuitively throughout the day and you will be able to enjoy and savour the big holiday meal without guilt and without feeling sick from overeating when the time finally comes.
3. Don’t overexercise in order to counteract eating
Finding ways to keep moving that you actually enjoy is so important. If you can run, dance, kickbox, walk or hit the yoga mat over the holiday season, good for you! However, if you find yourself moving only to “work off” something you’ve eaten or are about to eat, it’s just not a healthy mindset to get stuck in. Movement should be something that makes you feel good! Exercising away guilty feelings or calories consumed is a surefire way to stay stuck in diet mentality and maybe even lead to injury down the road from overexercising. Try to re-frame your mindset and place emphasis on the positive aspects of doing a form of movement you love.
“I’m going to go for a run today and I won’t stop until I have burnt off at least 300 calories. I shouldn’t have eaten that extra helping yesterday.”
“I’m going for a jog today to get some fresh air and feel good endorphins. I feel a bit sluggish after yesterday and I know that this will help. It will be a great way to see the decorations in the neighbourhood as well!”
4. Set boundaries
When seeing friends and family over the holidays, don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries. For whatever reason, people seem to think it’s okay to comment on other peoples bodies or what they are eating. Don’t allow your long lost aunt or your drunk brother-in-law to comment on your body if it makes you uncomfortable. Say, “I don’t appreciate comments about my body” or walk away from the situation. In the same way, if someone comments on what you’re eating or on how much of something you’re eating, set a boundary.
Another important boundary to set is how much you can commit to. Don’t feel obligated to attend every event you’re invited to if it feels like too much.
Setting any kind of boundary can be scary but this is for your peace of mind and you deserve it.
5. Don’t throw it all away until January 1st
Setting goals and resolutions can be great for personal growth. However, don’t “let it all go” until January 1st. You know when you’re dieting and you have a “cheat” food and then throw it all away and give up for the day? Well don’t treat your life like that! Keep focused on honouring your needs and respecting your body’s cues every day. Enjoy the holidays and don’t let everything ride on January 1st. An intuitive lifestyle is the little choices you make every day – not something you set in motion on a certain date.
6. Be kind to yourself
Acknowledge that this season is a time of celebration and you are allowed to experience that through food and drink and socializing without guilt. Let yourself enjoy and savour your favourite foods and activities. And as above, you don’t need to feel obligated to attend EVERYTHING you are invited to and you don’t need to feel guilty about that either. If you need to rest and recharge, listen to your body and do so.