Thoughts on Overeating on Thanksgiving

Dreading Thanksgiving tomorrow? I can relate. Maybe family dynamics are difficult and bring pain. Maybe you have no family to celebrate with tomorrow (I am so so sorry if this is your circumstance). Maybe you’re afraid of how to navigate conversations around food and body. Maybe you’re terrified about all of the food that’s going to be available. Or maybe you’re already dreading the shame and guilt you foresee yourself experiencing. For me, Thanksgiving (and any food gathering) brought on so much anxiety, shame, and guilt.

I remember one Thanksgiving in particular that we spent with my sister’s in-laws. The morning of, I bathed the day in prayer, asking the Lord to give me discipline around the food that was going to be there. I asked him to help me focus on the people and conversations instead of the food available. I begged him to help me put food in the “proper” place and to eat until comfortably full instead of stuffed. And don’t get me wrong, these are not wrong prayers; in fact, I think they are wonderful in the right context. But I fundamentally misunderstood something—my overeating in these occasions was not due to a lack of love for the Lord or lack of discipline. My overeating in these occasions was simply due to the fact I WAS HUNGRY. I would feel so much spiritual shame and guilt about eating high caloric foods, desserts, and overall too much. What I didn't realize was that my body was hungry and wanted food and therefore drove me to eat too much on occasions like these. Food was an idol, but not because I loved it more than God. Food was an idol because I restricted it and made the size of my body the most important thing in my life.

 
Thoughts on overeating on thanksgiving
 

So I want to encourage you about tomorrow. If you have been manipulating your food intake, reducing portion sizes, exercises solely for caloric burn, OR if you’re a normal eater, you may end up overeating tomorrow. And that’s OKAY. In fact, if you’ve been underfeeding, it might actually be a good thing (getting out of calorie deficit is absolutely essential for eating disorder recovery). Realize that it’s not some moral flaw. It might be because you’ve been undereating. Or restricting. Or simply because you love a certain food or were enjoying time with family. Give yourself permission to eat tomorrow, and to possibly eat until you’re uncomfortable. And then move on and continue to feed your body regularly and enough. It might just impact your experience next time.

An RD's advice on eating during the holidays

 
An RD's advice on eating during the holidays
 

Hello everyone! Are you all as excited about the upcoming holidays as I am? I am suuuuper excited to spend time with my family, eat good food, play games, listen to Christmas music, decorate my tree, watch Christmas movies, and look at Christmas lights. It's gonna be SO great!! :-D

Now that I have normalized my relationship with food, the holidays are exciting rather than stress-inducing. I'm not worried about the foods I may or may not eat. What I choose to eat or don't choose to eat stems from honoring my body and emotional needs. However, I understand that I am in the minority on this issue. Everyone stresses about overeating during the holidays and how that eating is going to affect their waistline. So, I figured I would share with you two pieces I was featured in on this topic.

First, I had the privilege of being a guest on the Finding Body Freedom podcast to talk about my own journey to Intuitive Eating as well as holiday eating tips. I would love for you to check it out! 

 
 

Second, an article I wrote was featured in my state's local online paper. For tips on healthful eating during the holidays, check out the article here

I'd love to hear your thoughts on either one! Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that it includes rich time with family/friends and some tasty food :-). I know mine will.