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Navigating Thanksgiving as an Intuitive Eater

I don't know about you, but I LOVE the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to New Years, there's just something exciting in the air. We hate the cold a little less, we celebrate a whole lot more, and we enjoy so many fun seasonal foods!

That being said, the ~month long festivities, and the foods that come with them, are always a hot topic this time of year. From news segments, to social media, to even subway ads, everyone seems to be talking about weight. Foods get labelled as "good" vs "bad", New Years' resolutions involve dieting and weight loss, and every seems to be making diet and weight related comments at the dinner table.

But that's not what we're about at Kelly Slovin Nutrition!

I totally understand how hard it can be to avoid all the diet culture noise during the holidays. No matter where you are in your intuitive eating journey, it can be difficult to navigate. So I've come up with a few tips to hopefully make it all a little easier this year.

But first, let's briefly define intuitive eating.

What is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is eating based on your body's natural hunger/fullness cues and cravings. At its core, it's how we all ate as kids - eat when hungry, stop when full, chose the foods that sounds good. But to be honest, most of us lose the ability to honor and follow these cues from our body because diet culture is SO prevalent in our every day lives.

I discuss the details of this with my clients, and perhaps it's a topic that deserves its own post. But to be brief, becoming an intuitive eater means ditching diets, ditching the scale, and re-learning how to listen to your body's cues for what it needs.

How to navigate Thanksgiving as an intuitive eater

  1. Honor your hunger: There's no need to "prepare" for your Thanksgiving meal from a nutrition standpoint. By this I mean, eating less the day before, or fasting the day of, has no nutritional benefits. If anything, it can have negative effects on your health (I for one would be the least fun party guest if I showed up to Thanksgiving hangry). From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, honor your hunger by eating when your body tells you it's hungry. Have breakfast as normal, snack when hungry, and go about your day as if your Thanksgiving meal is just another meal. Because it is.

  2. Feel your fullness: It's no secret that most people find themselves eating more than usual on Thanksgiving. And that's ok. Intuitive eating doesn't mean you'll never get overly full again. It's what you do when you feel full that makes the difference. Which takes me to tip #3

  3. Be kind to yourself: Acknowledge your fullness and remember your body knows what to do with the food you just ate. If you catch yourself feeling guilty for over eating, try thinking through all the positive aspects of the meal such as the delicious food you were able to enjoy, or the time spent with loved ones. It's ok that you ate more than usual, or different foods than usual. One meal won't make a difference in your overall health.

  4. Plan ahead for navigating diet talk: In most crowds, the diet talk is inevitable. But having a few responses ready in anticipation can make it easier to navigate! Here's a few examples to help get you started:

  • If they say "You're so disciplined, not going back fro seconds", you can say "I just ate until I was full"

  • If they say "Are you sure you want so many servings of dessert?", you can say "They all look delicious! I can't wait to try them all!"

  • If they say "The diet starts tomorrow!", you can say "Not for me. I can't wait to enjoy these leftovers tomorrow!" or "Have you heard of intuitive eating?"

Of course, these are just a few examples. After all, I can't predict what comments people will make! What I can do is help set you up for success and provide support. If you want support navigating this holiday season, schedule a discovery call to learn more about my 1:1 nutrition counseling sessions!


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