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Family, Food and the Holidays: Your guide to feeling grounded, loving and less insane than last year.

Emotional Eating · Your Body · Your Relationships


This is a loaded time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah (or both, like us), Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice there is A LOT going on. There is so much joy, magic and giving but do you ever feel like (as Taylor Swift would say) that the holidays are a nightmare dressed as a day dream?

As I was flipping through my favorite magazines and websites, there are so many holiday survival guides out there giving support on shopping, how to switch up eggnog for spiced almond milk or what to wear to all of your holiday parties.

But when I talk to my friends and clients, those are not the things bringing up the most anxiety. I’ve been hearing things like:

Look, I get that I shouldn’t eat a ton of cookies, but I just can’t help myself.

I’ve decided not to go home for the holidays this year because it’s too stressful being with my parents.

Whenever I go home, all I ever do is eat, it’s like a completely new person takes over my body.

The last thing I need is my family asking me if I’m dating anyone.

Food and Family, those are the hot buttons. So this year, in order to make sure you have the most fun, grounded and relaxing holiday ever, I want to give you my Food and Family Holiday Survival guide.

 

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HOW TO NOT FEEL CRAZY AROUND COOKIES

1. Let’s just be honest with each other, this is not the time you are going to miraculously hate cookies. The eating patterns that you’ve had your whole life are not going to shift that much during Christmas. It’s like sending an alcoholic to a bar after their first AA meeting and expecting them not to drink. Cut yourself some slack.

2. Wouldn’t you rather gain five pounds than feel insane every time you go to a party? For me, going to party and not drinking or vowing to not eat any sugar is not fun. And what can happen is that when we go in with those expectations, we buckle under the pressure and then eat an entire plate of sugar cookies (because we f**ked up anyways). For me, I rather enjoy two or three cookies and know that I am going to gain some weight as a result of having all that extra flour and sugar for a few weeks. I also know that come January I am going to be excited to get back into my normal routine.

3. But you can’t stop at two cookies you say? No problem, I’ve got you covered. The reason why most of us can’t stop after a cookie or two is because we’re so busy berating ourselves for eating a cookie that we miss the experience of eating a cookie, and then we want another one. I can’t believe you just picked up that cookie, well you can’t put it down, just eat it you fatty. You promised yourself you weren’t going to eat any sugar, you fat, gross slob. Now your mother is going to comment on how you’ve gained weight, that hot guy in the corner is definitely not interested now, everyone is looking at you eating this calorie packed fat snack and thinking ‘doesn’t she care about her body at all? She really needs to lose some weight and that is definitely not helping.”

Then you finish eating the cookie and can’t even remember what it tasted like and if it was good because you were so distracted by your mind bullying you, so you pick up another one and the cycle continues.

Instead, I want you to pick up the cookie and taste how amazing it is. Say to yourself, I’m eating this cookie now, and this means nothing about who I am as a person. I am allowed to eat cookies. This cookie is delicious! It’s sweet and crumbly, I should get the recipe in case I want to make them again! And since you have the option of making them again, you can stop at two because this isn’t your last opportunity to eat these cookies.

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4. The last piece is to focus on how you feel, not how you look. Do I care about you looking perfect all season long? Of course not. Do I care about you feeling amazing? Hell yes. We spend so much time worried about what we look like that we forget to tune into how we feel. Will eating 4 cookies make us look different? Nope. Will it make us feel shitty? Yep. Start to pay attention to how you feel during and after eating and prioritize feeling good by the end of that party. Imagine falling into bed not feeling bloated or jittery and waking up with out a hangover, blissful.

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THE ONE SKILL THAT WILL COMPLETELY CHANGE THE WAY YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR FAMILY

There are entire books written on family dynamics and there could be so much to cover here, but I believe that the one thing that can drive us crazy or bring us peace is how we handle the unending slew of questions we face when we go home for the holidays…

When are you going to get a job? Are you dating anyone? Isn’t that skirt a little short? When are you going to stop breastfeeding? When are you going to get pregnant, I want grandchildren!? Well, don’t you think he’d stop acting out if you were home more?

I know these questions can feel super rude and obnoxious, but the reality is that the only reason these interviews feel invasive is because YOU are not grounded in your own life. Imagine your grandmother asks you something you feel very sure and confident about like, do you like spaghetti? Yes. That was easy. No emotion, just reporting.

Now imagine if talking about your love life (or lack there of) was that easy. What would need to be true about how you feel about your love life? First, you need to be clear on what you want. Are you happy to be single? Do you wish you were with someone? Has it been hard for you? Do you feel peace around it? And what have you been doing about it? Have you been actively dating and doing your best? Are you holding back and feel mad at yourself for not being out there more? Take some time to identify what questions you are dreading most (yes, now. It will only take five minutes) and do some exploring. Are you happy with this area of your life? If so, why? Or why not? Are you moving in the direction of shifting this area? What steps do you want to take to make this area feel more aligned? Please do some writing, you are going to feel so amazing just doing this status report.

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Now, when your aunt asks you if you’re dating someone, what you are probably hearing is your own internal monologue of, I know you’re not dating enough, and you should be, so when are you going to get out there you lazy, unconfident spinster. But that’s not what she’s saying, she is probably just curious and loves you and wants you to be happy.

So instead of answering with a short and snippy “fine” and then going off and getting pissed that everyone is putting this pressure on you, think about how you really feel and and answer honestly…Well, I’m not dating anyone, and I wish I was. I’ve been going on some dates, but to be honest, I could probably stand to go on a few more, but I just feel shy. BUT I’m planning on signing up for Sarah Jenks’s program, Live More Weigh Less this spring, so I know that’s going to help with the confidence piece. Or something like that ;).

You will feel so empowered, so grounded and so “I’ve got my shit together” by just being honest.

Now I want to hear from you. What are you going to concentrate on this holiday season to make it amazing? And, what are your food and family survival tips?

Know someone who could benefit from these tips? Share it below. And don’t forget to sign up for email updates. I always give a little life update and extra lovin’ in my emails.

Happy Christmahanukwanzukkah!

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Images by Bess Friday.


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