Intuitive Eating for the Holidays

healthy eating during the holidays

When the holidays roll around, most of us are usually filled with a mix of emotions. On the one hand, there’s the joy of being around our loved ones (safely, of course) as well as the anticipation for all those yummy dishes and scrumptious desserts coming our way. But on the other, there’s the anxiety around that impending holiday weight gain. And for those of us feeling this anxiety comes an inevitable need for control – maybe if I fast the day before? Maybe if I stuff myself with brussel sprouts before the meal? Maybe if I deadlift the turkey thirty times or engage my glutes while snacking? Blech.

The holidays should be a time of warmth, good cheer, and – dare we say it – some guilt-free munching? We promise you, come next Thanksgiving, uncle Albert will be ready and waiting to lay down all the guilt you can imagine. So this year, let’s skip that guilt altogether. Because with a little wisdom, and some intuitive eating, you can have a fun, filling, delicious… AND healthy holiday.

With that said, let’s dig into how to incorporate intuitive eating principles into your festive feasts!

Your Body is Talking… Listen to It

One of the core principles of intuitive eating is to listen very carefully to your body. When you start feeling those hunger pangs, you’ll want to ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now?”. You might get a whole host of answers. Maybe you’re anxious, bored, stressed, excited, thirsty, or maybe just plain hungry. If your feelings fall into the last category, go ahead and dig in.

Ditch the Guilt (We Mean It!)

This is a big, big, big, big one (that’s four bigs, so you know we’re serious). For so many of us, guilt and food are intrinsically linked, but they don’t have to be. Instead of falling into the same traps of overeating, hating yourself for it, over-restricting yourself, and then relapsing back into the fridge late at night, why not try loving yourself and practicing a little forgiveness? When you let go of all that heavy guilt, you’ll find that your relationship with food can become positive again, and who knows, you might just decide to slow down or quit eating when you start feeling full.

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Practice Healthy Holiday Eating… But Only if You Feel Like It

Look, maybe what your heart truly wants is to plummet into a pumpkin pie or gorge yourself on gravy. But think about it for a second. Is all that thick, heavy, gooey goodness what you really want? It tastes amazing, sure, but don’t you feel it pumping through your veins an hour later? This is a good time to reframe your view of food. Healthier food actually tastes better specifically because it is healthy! So instead of dragging yourself to those sprouts (we actually love sprouts by the way, but they’re an easy scapegoat), decide to eat them! You can still snack and munch all you want, but eating with the joys of health in mind can go a long way.

Shift Your Focus

Instead of all the worrying and fixating and struggling with holiday eating, why not just try and enjoy yourself? Try focusing on your family, friends, loved ones, holiday-themed TV shows, and just general merriment all around. That way you’ll give food less power over yourself and your holiday experience.

Allow Yourself to Get Full, Like Really Full

Now that we’ve established some intuitive eating principles, let’s put it to the test. Choose one night to really eat, unbounded, unrestricted, and undisturbed. That doesn’t mean force-feed yourself – it means truly letting go. EAT SLOWLY to let your brain catch up to what’s happening in your gut, and if you really allow yourself to enjoy, you might find that your food anxiety will lessen, and your eating habits will be freer to roam where they want to. Picture your eating choices as a big, scrappy dog. Kept on a tight leash, that pooch will start pulling and jumping and twisting and raging – fighting to get to some yet-unknown amazingness a few feet from itself. Now imagine you let that canine loose in a huge field, with no restrictions or limitations in its path; it’ll probably just start sniffing some flowers and roll around. Your eating habits work the same way. Once you stop the restricting, you can start the living.

At Studio SWEAT onDemand, we’re all about getting fit and healthy by making positive, sustainable choices. That’s why we offer the best in onDemand fitness classes – to give our members the freedom to choose any workout that fits their mood, anytime, anywhere. With streaming workouts like Spin, TRX, Yoga, Pilates, Sculpting, and more, you’ll never get tired of the selection. Get started today with our 7-Day Free Trial – it’s great for the holidays, and well, pretty perfect for the rest of the year, too.