Skip Thanksgiving?
Why There’s a Better Alternative.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.30.34 PMIn recent client appointments we discuss a lot about self-love planning around the holidays. Get-togethers for Thanksgiving often revolve around family, which is wonderful for many, but for others can be quite challenging especially with how it might relate to food and our bodies.

Current food trends and increases in media coverage promoting food and diet extremes are suggestive and downright explicit of food shaming. Clients that I see often feel they are surrounded by messages shaming them into eating or not eating certain foods or following diet trends.

In my practice where my main goals are to increase compassion toward one’s body and nutrition, external media messages can bring increasing pressure. Add this to familial pressures and a holiday focused solely on food and you’ll get a real hot mess of moods and emotions during what for some may also be the darkest & coldest time of year.

The title of this newsletter was an idea from a client who, when asked how she saw the holidays going this year responded, ‘I’d like to skip them all together!’. I can see some of your heads nodding in agreement as I write this! Since skipping the holiday season is not necessarily all together healthy or optional, how are there ways to cope specifically around food and its direct and indirect impacts on our bodies and self esteem? I’ve compiled some ideas and hope they resonate.

  1. In my practice I ask clients to leave the words ‘should’ and ‘sorry’ around anything to do with food and their bodies at the door. If you ‘should’ on yourself and your body or are ‘sorry’ for eating the burger and fries – this does not turn into positive. What I ask instead is that clients look to anything around food shaming (family remarks, media messages) and use this as a cue toward total self/body love and positive food nourishment. Clients might even create a short and simple phrase signaling them, with a positive statement or mantra, to change their negative mindset, and keep this in their wallet, purse or phone case to refer to as often as necessary during harder days (or hours!).

    There are also ways to create this environment for oneself by engaging in activities to promote it further above changing mindset with positive self-talk. We are spending a quiet Thanksgiving at home with only 2 of our 4 kids. I will cook quite a bit on Thursday but have already signed up for two longer yoga classes the week of Thanksgiving. One class is a 2-hour inversion session to help me reach my physical activity goal this year of an unassisted handstand. I’ve also planned to make time otherwise around work and the kids schedule for other exercise activities I enjoy and alone time with my husband and some friends.

    In taking this time for myself, I will create space within me to give to our family and to friends. By creating time for activities that promote positive activity one can turn any food shaming that infiltrates into more negative self-image into cues to love our bodies. Some other ideas are to participate with a good friend or family in a local turkey trot or take part in an activity serving the homeless or those in need – anything that is giving which in essence can also be self-nourishing. When we participate in exercise or activities that are nourishing to us, we are trying to release stress this way – we are doing to undo…which leads me to the next suggestion of…
  2. Do some fall cleaning and purge your social media feed, taking away any blogs or daily messages from folks who encourage negative self talk, food, or body shaming and replace these with positive, inspirational messaging. I would add in any blogs of course by registered dietitian nutritionists who also write about positive food relationships and body image like these examples below:

Also, look to add news feeds from Cooking Light and Eating Well Most of the writers aforementioned blog regularly so if you are looking for a recipe or just a daily dose of positive around food or nutrition, it’s at your fingertips. I asked a newer client recently to purge her social media feed of anything negative around food or body image and it’s done wonders already for her self-esteem. Eating our feelings or restricting or purging food after we put feelings into the food we refuse to or eat more than we’re full from – leads to further cycles of negative always, but especially around holiday times of year.

On the note of a major food holiday, here’s one recipe from me to you that’s sure to both nourish well & score points when shared at the table from The Wonderful Company and POMWonderful. Pomegranate’s are in season right now and pairing them with Brussels sprouts, also in season, means nutritious, delicious everything.  Hint: the recipe is shown in the photo above.

For any clients I am currently working with, I have let them know I am available over the holiday next week and if they are need of support to send me message. If you or someone you know is struggling with food or the eating holiday known as Thanksgiving, get in touch with me – I’d be so happy to help.

Whether you’re celebrating quietly with just you and a few others or attending or hosting a large gathering next week in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, accept my greatest wishes of the most healthful and vibrant blessings.

P.S. Here’s the link to last year’s November e-Newsletter on Thanksgiving. I’ve written even more tips on how to cope with food and body image around the holidays.