My mom always asked everyone at the Thanksgiving table to say what we were thankful for. Growing up I saw this as a chore to spout out something like “my grades,” “my family,” or “my dog.” Once that task was over with I could move onto digging into my favorite holiday foods. Now that I’m a little more seasoned in life, I realize the importance of taking a moment to recollect the people and things in life that are often undervalued. There is even research that shows that being more thankful can increase your happiness. Thinking about the things I’m thankful for seems like a small price to pay for a little more happiness!
The holidays often become a vortex of shopping for the perfect gifts, competing for the ugliest holiday sweater, trying to master that family stuffing recipe, etc. If you have a strained relationship with food, the holidays can even be miserable since food is often the focal point of every gathering. While the holidays can easily become a huge stressor and something that you want to just get over with, it is never too late to make new traditions to slow down, be more present in the moment, and place value on the truly important parts of life. Improving your relationship with food may take some time but every meal and snack is an opportunity to practice fueling your body. Similarly, everyday is an opportunity to be a little happier by listing what you are thankful for.
In addition to practicing gratitude, give yourself grace with eating as you enter this holiday season. A friendly reminder is the "Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights" below:
Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights
by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD
What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table? Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It’s hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.
Consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights, as we enter the holiday season, to help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body.
1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying “no thank you” to dessert or a second helping of food.
4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
5. You have the right to say, “No thank you,” without explanation, when offered more food.
6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “no”, even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly
and politely repeat “No, thank you, really.”
7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family. (Note this was originally posted in 2010).
I would like to add that I am immensely thankful for my first year working with Ashley and Liz at Mood Balance Nutrition. With their guidance I have had access to supporting and encouraging each of my clients, which is the reason I went into the nutrition field. I never would have predicted that I would be doing what I’m doing today but I am so thankful that my path has led me to this team and working with my clients. (Now that I’ve mentioned that, I do feel a little happier!)