How are you after the fall holidays?
If these are your first holidays on your Intuitive Eating (IE) journey, they can be challenging. They can be challenging anyway, even if you are not new to IE. There are the short/dark/dreary days, intense emotions (both positive and negative) that can come from holidays, and likely stress (costumes/outfits, decorations, cleaning, hosting, shopping, etc.).
Last holiday season I was relatively new to IE. I was definitely giving myself permission to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, but it wasn't without a bit of anxiety and fear. I've recently been learning a lot about how eating with anxiety/guilt/shame/fear impacts your digestion, and how food feels in the body.
This year, I've felt much more calm. The clothing sizes stopped increasing. I am SO much more connected to my body. I trust my body. It feels like my body is beginning to trust me.
I've always known that I'm much more of a salty than sweet person. Fries and chips were some of my favorite play foods when I was little. However, in the past I've enjoyed snickers, PB cups, and peanut M&Ms at Halloween time. This year, I didn't have any candy before, during, or after Halloween. I certainly would have if I wanted it, but it never appealed to me. It occurred to me that historically, I'd eat quite a bit of candy on the day of Halloween. I recognize that as "Last Chance/Last Supper" mentality. The diet mentality of "This is the DAY that it's acceptable - get it all while you can." I now know and fully believe that it's acceptable any day/any time, and candy is as acceptable as an apple or broccoli. Obviously there are foods that are more nutritious than others, but there are not good or bad foods. You are not good or bad depending on what you eat.
On Thanksgiving, I thoroughly enjoyed the jalapeño poppers, pasta salad, green bean casserole, corn pudding, creamed peas, brussel sprouts with balsamic vinaigrette, and the wine. I'm pretty sure it was the first Thanksgiving in my whole life that I didn't have multiple pieces of pie. I didn’t have any. I certainly would have if I wanted some. I planned on it. I thought I would. It just didn't appeal to me.
I remember last December I was enjoying some white wine while making white chocolate peppermint cookies. I'm not a big cookie fan, but those things are DELICIOUS! Especially when they come out warm and gooey. As I worked towards making peace with this particular treat, I ate so many that I didn't feel good. I've since dramatically strengthened my ability to identify not only what appeals to me and tastes good, but also what and how much feels good.
Other recent observations: I'm having dinner leftovers for breakfast more often. . Sometimes, it's the only thing that sounds good to me when I'm hungry in the morning (NO, I'm not pregnant🤣). I can also comfortably and easily open a container of hummus and not finish the entire container. Not that I wouldn't allow myself to enjoy the whole thing if that's what it took to feel satisfied. I just find myself comfortably satisfied with 1/4 or 1/2 of the container more often than not. This is something that I never would have thought was possible.
Our bodies know what they need. However, it can take a long time to learn how to listen to our bodies if we have put them on "silent mode" as a result of diet culture. The longer they were silenced, the longer it may take to re-connect. I suspect that many of us think (my former self included): "This all sounds well and good for other people. Unfortunately, it's just not possible for me. I must be broken - the signals no longer work." For me, it was SO worth the effort to really put in the work and time to try. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and self-compassion...but it's possible.
Tiffany was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband, kids, and chocolate lab. Her favorite vacations so far (beyond camping in the family motorhome), have been to Kauai, Key West, New York City, and Sayulita. She looks forward to expanding that list!
A heartfelt thanks to Julie G Photography.