It’s that time of year. The holiday season approaches & so, we begin to bargain with ourselves.
Everything becomes a transaction. This + that = do more, eat less.
A night with loved ones, food & wine becomes something to be earned. The extra serving of dessert is swallowed alongside guilt & self loathing. The day on the calendar hits november — so we gear up for war.
Holiday season — a constant battle. To restrict or indulge. To hate ourselves on an empty stomach or to hate ourselves while we fill our bellies with food we plan to swear off until next year.
I remember this all too well. Mostly because for me, this battle wasn’t just around the holidays. It was an every day war. It was an eating disorder.
As I write this it’s hard to believe this is something to be remembered & not my current reality. I am both healed & healing. So this feeling of excitement for the holidays is still new. Still fresh. I’m used to stressing. Measuring. Bingeing. Obsessing.
I will never claim to have the answer to healing your disordered relationship to food. We are all too different to have the same healing journey.
But what I will say is this:
Mindfulness is the first step to ending the battle. Mindfulness is the catalyst for change. Become aware of your thoughts. Listen closely to the way you speak of yourself, of food, of pleasure, of worthiness. Because your body is listening.
When you show up to a meal stressing over what you will eat — your body senses danger.
When you fill your plate & tell yourself don’t take too much — your body senses danger.
When you take a bite of dessert & tell yourself you don’t deserve it, it’ll make you fat, you are stupid & worthless & have no control — your body senses danger.
& what happens when our bodies sense danger? it acts accordingly.
As women, chronic stress & perceived danger sends us into survival mode. Once this happens, only the important things we need to survive (organ function, senses, etc) receive our energy. Everything else (metabolism, digestion, collagen production – aka the juicy stuff) is put on the back burner. When our body thinks it is fighting for survival the last thing it is focused on doing is burning fat for fuel. In fact, when we are in this chronic state of stress, our body stores fat for future needs (energy, protection, warmth).
We are smart, intuitive creatures. Our emotions & our vibration are an expression of our perceived surroundings.
So when we serve ourself a plate full of holiday goodness, and then take a bite of food with negative thoughts and emotions attached to it, our body listens. And when we show up at the gym the next day to try and work off the food from the day before, focusing on nothing but the guilt and the shame – our body listens.
When our body is in this constant state of guilt, shame, judgement, bitterness, regret, self loathing, hate & fear – it assumes our survival must be at stake. And when our survival is threatened we feel it in our core. We are anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, depressed.
When we continue to show up to all of our meals & workouts signaling to our body that we are in danger by associating food & movement with guilt, shame and judgement? We perpetuate the cycle. We gain weight. We break out. We either can’t poop or can’t stop pooping. We sleep like sh*t. We are vibrating at the lowest frequency.
Combine the holiday weight gain stress with the stress in our every day lives & the stress of a pandemic?! How can we expect not to walk away from the holidays needing a weeks worth of sleep, feeling bloated, lethargic & anxious?
I’m sharing this because it was never enough to see a quote on social media telling me “don’t stress this holiday season! you deserve to eat what your body wants!” It didn’t answer any of my questions. It didn’t tell me it was safe – that I would be okay.
I just don’t resonate with empty motivational promises. I need facts. I need science. I need truth.
It wasn’t until I learned that how we SPEAK to our body dictates the way we metabolize & use food as energy, the way we feel && the way our body shows up for us – that everything clicked.
With this, I now choose to eat mindfully. Mindful eating is simply a combination of intuition + knowledge. I allow my body to tell me what it wants to eat, how much, when it is full, when it needs more — this is intuitive. I tune in to the feeling inside my body. I ask myself what sounds good, what would make my belly & my soul happy?
& then I use my knowledge to guide my body into a safe place. I know which foods and tools nourish my body & digestion, and which ones give me issues. I eat gluten free & dairy free to keep inflammation low and digestion grooving. I take digestive enzymes, avoid cold drinks with meals & eat slowly to help fuel my digestive fire. I know that my thoughts have a major influence on how my body perceives the present moment, and I choose to use this power for nourishment. I swallow my food with gratitude & appreciate the way it will nourish my physical body & my soul.
This knowledge, combined with my intuition is what keeps me in control. I feel confident in my choices. I approach food and movement without the pressure of what I “should” do and instead make every decision in my day a nourishing one – which allows my body to feel safe enough to do what needs to be done (have a metabolism that works for me not against me, poop like a boss, have clear skin, deep sleep, more joy, less stress).
So my invitation today? Start now.
Don’t wait until you are in line to serve yourself thanksgiving dinner to become mindful. Do it now. Tune in to the way you approach food. Fitness. Sleep. Rest. Joy.
And choose again. Choose nourishment. Use your intuition & your knowledge. Have pancakes for breakfast because it makes your soul happy. Have a smoothie for lunch because it gives you energy. Nap when you are tired and lean into your inspiration.
The moment we make every decision a nourishing one is the moment our bodies feel safe enough to show up for us.
So this holiday season – change your why to change your life.
Why? nourishment. Why? joy. Why? love.
If this resonates with you – I am sending you the most love.