The holidays are here! A time filled with gatherings, celebrations, and food. But the holidays can also bring stress and anxiety, especially when it comes to food. It can be very difficult to navigate the holiday season with stress, fear, and anxiety dictating our food choices.  

We have great news – It is possible to enjoy all the holiday foods you desire without feeling guilt, fear, shame, or embarrassment, by practicing intuitive eating. 


What Is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive eating is a process that focuses on reconnecting with our body’s cues. It holds 10 principles to help individuals liberate themselves from food restrictions, regain trust in their body, and build autonomy to enjoy all foods without feeling out of control.  


Intuitive Eating Tips During the Holidays 

1. Be Flexible with Food 

Allow yourself to enjoy all foods without restriction or food rules. Restricting can lead to over consumption and binge eating. It can also cause feelings of being out of control with food. Remember that all foods can be part of a healthy eating pattern. 

2. Listen to Your Hunger and Fullness Cues 

Hunger cues can include a grumbling stomach, headaches, inability to focus, or low energy. Fullness cues can include tight belly, stomach pressure, or sluggishness. Before you eat, ask yourself, “Am I actually hungry?”, “How hungry am I?”, “What food do I want?”. These questions can help guide your food choices and help you eat mindfully. 

3. Reject External Factors 

Thinking “the diet starts in January” can make you feel as if you must eat all the food that you won’t be able to eat once you start the “January diet”. Many describe this as feeling “out of control”. Protect your food boundaries by refusing to follow external factors that tell you what to eat and when to eat. Listen to your body.  

4. Food Should Not Be “Earned” 

  • You do not need to “earn” the food that you want to eat during the holidays. 
  • You do not need to reduce your calorie intake to “deserve” holiday foods. 
  • You do not need to over exercise to burn calories and “earn” holiday foods.  

Restricting, skipping meals, or over exercising to “deserve” or “earn” the holiday foods you want can lead to overeating. Instead, aim to keep a regular eating pattern during the holidays. Listen to your hunger and satiety cues; and allow yourself to enjoy the food you want to eat.  

5. Include Movement That You Enjoy 

Movement and exercise are not a punishment for the food you ate during the holiday season. Exercise and move your body during the holiday season in ways that make you feel good, energized, and positive. If you don’t like a particular exercise or feel forced to do a particular movement, change it up and do something you truly enjoy. 

6. Resist the Temptation to Restrict After the Holidays   

The fear of weight gain is a product of the diet industry, don’t fall for it! Avoid restrictive diets, and instead, regain a sense of control over food by redirecting your focus from external factors (scales and diets) to internal factors (hunger and fullness cues). Your body craves food, movement, rest, and relaxation – listen to your body.  


Has navigating food and food choices around the holidays been hard for you in the past? You are not alone. Diet culture has ruined our holidays by not letting us enjoy the food we like without guilt, shame or anxiety. Use the tips above this season to help you enjoy the holidays with freedom. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 in
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