Really, I wanted to title this post “How To Relax About Your Food.” Period.
As Erin and I have been driving down this road we call our food journey, what we hope to accomplish through this little blog of ours has changed. And we’ve come to the conclusion that most of all, we want everyone to relax about their food and enjoy it. And of course change the world in the process.
Relax when you are shopping at the grocery store, relax when you are cooking up meals in your kitchen, relax when you are sitting down for dinner with your family. Wouldn’t our lives be so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable if we could all just sit back and relax about our food? I even wrote a little post a while back about what this whole ‘relaxed eating‘ thing really means. And I think this is something that becomes even harder to do as the holidays approach.
At this time of year we are inundated with headlines and articles aimed at teaching us how to “stay healthy this holiday season” and “top tips for avoiding weight gain over the holidays.” I’m getting angry just typing this. Do those phrases leave you feeling relaxed and wanting to get out there and enjoy a meal with your friends and family? They sure don’t for me.
So instead, this holiday season I wanted to bring you some tips to help you relax about your food and enjoy it. Because that is really what the holidays should be all about!
Top Three Tips To Help You Relax About Your Food This Holiday Season
1. Let Go Of The Food Rules
Easier said than done, I know. Especially if you live your whole life by a set of rules, rules that govern what is deemed acceptable to eat and what is completely off limits. But what if, as you sat down at the holiday dinner table, you threw those out the window. You gave yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods you actually wanted to eat, not the foods you think you should eat. Would the world come crashing down around you? Probably not.
It’s hard, it’s hard to become a ‘normal’ eater. But there are many MANY reasons why it is so beneficial drop the rules. For one, the more we restrict something, the more we want it. Think about a child, the more you tell them not to do something, the more they do it (if only my 2.5 year old could read this!). So the same thing applies to food. The more we tell ourselves we aren’t allowed to eat that minced meat cake or that jelly doughnut, the more we want it. The more we become so fixated on it that we can’t focus on anything else and we miss out on actually enjoying this special time with friends and family. All because we can’t stop thinking about that damn doughnut. Now, if you gave yourself permission to eat that doughnut, perhaps it would stop holding so much power over you. You could eat it, enjoy the conversation happening around you, and move on with your life.
2. You Are Going To Overeat – And That Is A-OK!
Look, I am all about being in tune with my hunger, listening to my body, and all that jazz. But sometimes, there are just too many delicious things on the table. And you feel you MUST taste every single dessert even though you are stuffed to the brim. And you know what, that is okay! It is okay to overeat sometimes. It is okay to be uncomfortably full sometimes. That feeling will go away, I promise. And you will feel hungry again, maybe even sooner than your realized. And that’s okay too. Go with it. We are letting go of the rules, remember? And giving ourselves permission to eat. So eat when you are hungry. Even if you did try every dessert on the table. You still deserve to eat again. No matter what!
There’s going to be more food than you usually have on that holiday dinner table and that’s what the holidays are for. Come on over to my house and there’s usually not one, not two, but THREE main dishes. And I’m usually left feeling pretty darn full, past my usual point. But I’m also usually pretty darn content and likely laughing as I’m surrounded by family and friends who are also happy, laughing and very very full.
3. Savour and Enjoy!
Do you have foods you look forward to all year? Maybe it’s your aunt’s famous sweet potato casserole, or your mom’s amazing potato latkes. For me, it was my Grandmother’s delicious Hannukah sugar cookies. Still can’t get that recipe just right! And when I ate those cookies, I enjoyed them. I savoured them. They only come around once a year. So really enjoy the food you are eating, actually taste it instead of mindlessly shovelling a plateful of food into your mouth. You will end up enjoying the meal so much more when you really take the time to taste the food.
The holidays are a BUSY time. And I mean seriously busy. The kids are off school, there’s a million and one family obligations, and if you’re like me, you’ve saved all your gifts for the very last minute. Gawd I hate shopping! So with so many things to stress about, why add food to that list? Relax, sit back, have a look around your holiday table. It’s the food that is bringing your family and friends together and leading to wonderful conversations. So enjoy it. And maybe, on a regular old Wednesday night, you’ll remember how you let go of your rules over the holiday season and will be able to add a little holiday joy to your weekday dinners too.