With the holidays quickly approaching, we thought It would be the perfect time to re-introduce the 10 principles for eating intuitively and how to utilize them around the holidays. These 10 principles will hopefully help guide you through the season of cheer and merriment with bliss. We know that the holidays can be a hard time for a lot of people if you have been dieting previously or working on recovery from an eating disorder. Stay tuned for more blog posts on holidays and the upcoming new year and how to handle diet and body talk in the coming weeks!

So here are the 10 Intuitive Eating Principles and some tips for the holiday season!

1. Reject the diet mentality

Ultimately reject the typical trending diets, they do not work! Bottom line. During this holiday season work on getting rid of that mentality that you need to lose weight or that you need to be thin to be healthy. Health is an image at EVERY size. When you notice that sneaky diet mentality popping up try to remind yourself that you do NOT need to diet and it can make the holidays that much more challenging and stressful!

2. Honor your hunger

Remember that feeling or grumbling in your stomach, that is your hunger talking to you. Listen to it! Many times we wait until we are hangry to finally eat. By honoring your hunger, you will be less likely to reach the state of hangry. When you do not give your body the food it needs when it does get hungry you are less likely to perform well and day to day tasks. So, remember to listen to those cues. Also note that there are times you may not feel your physical hunger cues for various reasons. This is when you can check in with yourself and know you still may need to eat without feeling hungry!

3. Make peace with food

Give yourself permission to eat, it is “normal” and fun to celebrate the holidays with food. Remember there is no such thing as “bad” or “good” foods. Another tip is to focus on what is going on around you and what you enjoy about the holidays including, but not limited to food. The holidays aren’t just about the food and sometimes that aspect gets a lot of attention.

4. Challenge the food police

Step three leads us into step four. Stop the mentality that by eating “good” foods you are better, as opposed to eating “bad” foods. All foods have a place and a spot on our dinner plate. Notice if you are telling yourself something is bad or you can’t have it or if somebody around you is making comments about how many calories are in something, etc. Try and talk back to the food police and know all foods fit!

5. Respect your fullness

Listen to your body’s cues, what are they telling you? Are you full or do you still need to eat more? When we listen to our cues our bodies will let us know when we are full. This one can be tough during holidays when there are larger meals, more variety of foods and maybe things we haven’t eaten since last holiday season. Keep in mind that sometimes we might want another bite or two or a piece of pie after a meal even though we are full. You may be a little overly full at times and that is okay too! Try and listen to and respect your body and your needs!

6. Discovery the satisfaction factor

As we deprive our bodies of foods that we love, are we really enjoying the foods that we eat? The next time that you take a bite of food savor the flavors. Notice which foods you like at your holiday meals, which foods appeal to you? Do you want to incorporate those throughout the year and not just at the holidays?

7. Honor your feelings without using food

Honor the feelings that you have prior to involving fuel, do we feel happy, sad, or anxious? Food will not fix any of your feelings and will temporarily numb or be a bandaid for a moment. Try using techniques such as journaling, grounding skills, talking to somebody and meditation for your feelings. Holidays can be a really wonderful time and also a really challenging time for a lot of people. Whether it is your first holiday season without a loved one or you may not have family to be with listen to your feelings and emotions and work towards honoring them without coping with food.

8. Respect your body

We cannot say this enough, accept yourself and your body type. Accept that you are unique and perfect in your own way. Take time to acknowledge and remind yourself of this!

9. Exercise-feel the difference

Find movement that you enjoy. Whether it be yoga or walking and feel the difference. Ditch the idea that to be a workout it must be a full hour or horribly difficult. The key here is to enjoy the workout and feel better. This in the long run will be so much better for us all! Also there can be a lot of talk about compensation around the holidays. You DO NOT have to exercise to eat food! Repeat that over and over when you may hear that message this season.

10. Honor your health

Energize your body with food that will make you feel good physically and mentally. Enjoy the foods this season!

Intuitive eating over the holidays will help guide you to a successful relationship with food and help bring joy into the holiday season! After all obsessing about food will only take away from the enjoyment and present moment. Happy eating!

If this is something you may want assistance with or if you have any questions, as always, you can contact us here!

Contributed in part by Maddie Emler, Dietetic Intern