Not to start on a negative note, but I cringe when people describe the holiday season as a time of “survival.” Specifically, it’s the battle of the bulge I am talking about. There are copious amounts of articles out there with “Tips to Survive Holiday Parties,” “How to not Derail your Diet During the Holidays,” and so on. The focus on food is a negative one, which is a shame because this should be a time of gathering and appreciating the season’s comfy offerings.
New Years Day marks the dawn of the post-party diet. Indulgence requires punishment. To manage the guilt, resolutions pollute Facebook news feeds, creating the “we are all in this together” mentality. Really, though, the world doesn’t care about your righteous path to self-improvement. The world doesn’t care when you fall off the wagon, either.
This may seem like a rant but it isn’t. I want to make the point that we have a jacked up relationship with our food, especially during the holidays. Instead of thinking up battle-ground rules for the buffet, we should allow ourselves to appreciate the food and recognize how lucky we are to share it with those around us. No food in and of itself is inherently “bad.” Our impression that certain foods may be bad. The aftermath of eating a bit too much may be bad. But the FOOD isn’t. Philosophical, eh?
Now what? Should we just abandon all mindfulness and nosh with reckless abandonment? At times, yes!, but in general, no. Mindful eating doesn’t mean deprivation and obsessive analyzing. When fall and winter celebrations loom, we shouldn’t need to “prepare” ourselves for the oncoming onslaught of gastronomic indulgence. Rather, we should look forward to our time with others, the changing seasons, the reasons for gathering, and the food, all of which nourish the body and soul.
Instead of forbidding certain foods and strictly limiting yourselves in order to stay within your caloric goals, take that energy and focus it towards the actual sensation of eating the tasty food. Seriously savor each and every bite. Sloooooow dowwwn. In doing so, you will be enhancing your experience instead of mindlessly stuffing your face with tins of butter cookies. Appreciate that cookie for the time it took someone to make it. Enjoy it.
Sometimes, we binge because we just can’t-get-no-satisfaction. When you take the time to really taste your food, you will find that satisfaction. Better yet, you can eat whatever you want. Take the stress out of eating, especially during the holidays. No need to work on your dining table defense strategy.0