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  • Writer's pictureFood & Mood

Ditching Diet Culture During Thanksgiving

As holidays approach, we are bombarded with messages about "guilt-free" recipes and warnings about the dire consequences of overeating at family gatherings. Unfortunately, the problem is, all of this dialogue promotes a diet mentality and culture and is downright stressful. The problem with dieting is that it encourages people to view foods as either good or bad and suggests temporary restrictions. All of this sets the stage for eventual binge eating and can lead to a serious disconnect between your body and mind. The further we can get away from this type of thinking, the closer we can get to a more intuitive approach to eating. Intuitive eating involves listening to your body, eating mindfully, and allows a place on your plate for all foods that you enjoy. The key to intuitive eating is listening to your body and regaining that innate sense of hunger and fullness that dieting tends to skew.

When heading into the holidays try these tips and tricks for avoiding diet talk and mentality:

1. Do not starve yourself in preparation for a large family meal. This will only lead to overeating and feeling less than ideal when trying to enjoy your holidays. Instead, check-in with yourself throughout meals to truly savor the food and observe how they make you feel. As you eat your holiday meals, try to slow down so you can fully appreciate the experience.

2. When approached with food-shamers or negative body talk, try shifting the conversation to something else. Bring up a topic totally unrelated to food, such as, "what are you thankful for this year?" Or share something you are thankful and excited about!

3. Don't be afraid to set boundaries. Your body and mind are a temple and body-hate talk is far more toxic than sweets or fatty foods. If someone is commenting on your plate, feel free to politely request that they do not comment on your food choices. But don't forget, if you don't want others talking about what you are eating, make sure to practice what you preach. If you see someone being overly restrictive during holidays, it is not your place to help them move towards a more balanced approach, unless you are asked for help.

4. Aim for an attitude of gratitude. Try taking a moment before holiday gatherings to jot down 5 things you are grateful for. Try including at least one that acknowledges your body in a positive way; thanking it for all it does for you. By prepping yourself with an attitude of gratitude you'll be better equipped to avoid any negative impact "diet-talk" or body shamers may spread at the thanksgiving table. Maybe you'll even spread some of that goodness around.

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