We don’t learn from obsessing over the future. We learn from riding the wave of what’s happening in the present.
I think for many of us, this can really sum up why we become so anxious around eating food during the holidays. Instead of riding the wave of our feelings and hanging out with them, we obsess over what couldhappen. Instead of just feeling the anxiety, we obsess over how the anxiety will lead us to eat to the point of discomfort or binge eating. My anxiety around eating during the holidays didn’t really dissipate until I invited Spirit into my experience at the dinner table.
I’m going to give you the strategies that I use to really center myself and not obsess about the food. I’m really proud to say that I’m not nervous anymore about eating during the holidays, and it’s because I worked these tools. And if anxiety does come up, I know what to turn to.
Before the Meal
Write out your stuff.
I know for myself, I have a tendency to eat really fast because I’m nervous about people commenting about how much or how little food I have on my plate. This always happened when I was younger. I was a very lanky little girl and I would eat a lot, and people used to comment on that and it made me superuncomfortable and insecure. I also used to experience a lot of anxiety when I didn’t know exactly what ingredients were in each dish; when I was suffering from my eating disorder, I was obsessed with calorie counting and I knew that I couldn’t really do that when other people were preparing my food. To this day, I still have a tendency to eat really fast because I have this subconscious desire to avoid people making remarks with what I have on my plate. So, write out what makes you anxious and what comes up for you when you think about Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. After each point, write to the Universe, “Show me how to handle this with more grace and ease.” Then, free write the response. Let Spirit speak it through you.
Play out the scene in your mind.
If you have nerves about eating Thanksgiving dinner, whether you realize it or not, you are imagining (image making) yourself fucking up. Start to picture something different. In the week leading up to your holiday meal (especially on the day of), sit in meditation and play out the scene of how you want the holiday to go. I do this every year. I play out the whole dinner scene and see myself so focused on enjoying precious time with my family (the realreason I love the holidays) that food becomes the backdrop to the day. I see myself taking what my body needs, eating slowly, and staying connected to my breath throughout the meal. I see myself putting my fork down between bites to breathe. Sounds whack? Don’t knock it ’till you try it, babes. When you notice your ego making images of you overeating, rushing your meal, or eating what you don’t want, take a few seconds to delete that scene and replace with the new, positive one. Believe it and really take notice of how it feels to eat what your body wants and to eat until you’re satisfied.
It’s okay to freak out!
I know many of us beat ourselves up for feeling anxiety around the holiday dinner table. I used to do that all the time. The most important thing you can do for yourself is honor your feelings and have compassion for yourself. That food anxiety can become really overwhelming and, if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel it, we may feel tempted to tune out by numbing our feelings with food. Remember that fear is not your enemy… It’s your teacher. Breathe into the feeling, honor it, and talk it out with someone you trust.
Gratitude is your compass.
Focus on what you are grateful for to help guide you to a loving, centered state of mind. For instance, there may be some family members that you haven’t seen in awhile that you’re really looking forward to spending time with. Express gratitude to the Universe for giving you the opportunity to come together and be with your loved ones. Also, express gratitude to the Universe for this meal, which is reallyan assignment for you to bring a more spiritual, loving mindset to your holiday meal.
During the Meal
Bless your food and bless your bod.
Whenever I eat a meal or a snack, I make it a point to invite Spirit into the meal from the start. I say a short prayer in my mind: “I bless my food. I bless my body. I bless what this food can do for my body.” This sets me up to win from the beginning because I’m starting the meal with loving mindset, and welcoming Spirit to guide me through it. It also helps me remember the true purpose of my body, which is to be a vessel of love, and therefore helps me make more loving choice for my body at mealtime.
Make the meal a meditation.
Tune in – don’t tune out! If the anxiety does show up, just be with it. Give yourself permission to feel it. Don’t label it as good or bad. Look at the anxiety as your teacher. Meditation is all about being present to your feelings, so make the meal a meditation by breathing deeply into that anxiety. If the anxiety is really bad, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Ask yourself why you’re feeling so anxious. A question I ask myself is, “What feeling do you feel the desire to eat over?” Then, do your 1-Minute Meditation to chill out and ask your inner guide to be with you and to guide you through the meal.
After the Meal
Check your hunger scale.
Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-5 how hungry you are (1 being tummy rumbling, 3 being satisfied, and 5 being super full). If you’re a 3, you listened to your bod. If you are a 1 or a 5, there is still some work to do and that’s okay! That’s what a spiritual path is all about. And this is where forgiveness comes in. Every situation is an assignment for you to grow and learn from. So, if you learned that you are a 1 or a 5, then you understand that you are still in recovery and need to listen to your body a little more closely. And that’s totally okay!
Forgive the fuck ups.
I’m not at all saying that you are going to fuck up… But if you do, forgive yourself. It’s okay to have compassion for yourself. Healing is like a detox. All of the old crap needs to come up and be cleared out from a spiritual perspective before it can completely leave our lives. I’m not saying this will happen for you. But if it does, it’s OKAY! Ask your inner guide to help you forgive yourself and to learn the lesson that you were meant to learn that day. Every moment is an opportunity to forgive yourself and ask the Universe to help you see the miracle (the lesson) in the situation.
If you have any questions or want me to go deeper into any of these tips, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love you all and am wishing you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday!