3 Ways To Practice Body Kindness This Holiday Season

element5-digital-431603-unsplash.jpg

The holidays can bring joy, mixed feels, and even some dread. For most of us, there’s always one common factor: lots and lots of food. With Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, all the yummy holiday treats in between, and our bodies’ natural reaction to want to hibernate and eat more during the winter, lots of tasty food is consumed. I used to get insanely nervous around this time, knowing that I simply would not be able to resist all the stuffing, mac and cheese, ham, and desserts...the possibilities were endless! As someone who struggled between what I thought I shouldn’t eat and what I knew I wanted to, the holidays were a nightmare. My anxiety was at an all-time high, and though I found myself still eating what I wanted, I did with so much shame that I rarely ever enjoyed it.

If this scenario sounds like you, I hear you, it’s so tough sometimes to release control and just allow ourselves to consume what we want. But the peace of mind, the enjoyment, the ability to relax -- they’re all worth relinquishing the need to control every little thing about our bodies. Here are ways to do that.

Practice acceptance

Alright, the holidays are upon us. There’s so much opportunity for yummy food, and the first step is accepting that you will probably want to eat all of these delicious things. THAT IS OKAY. The first step to freeing yourself from these food fears is accepting that your desires are valid and perfectly fine. It is totally acceptable to have extra helpings, or even a second or third plate. Allowing yourself the room to exercise your right to eat whatever the heck you want to eat is way more effective than restricting yourself or feeling like you just betrayed your body. You didn’t, you actually helped regulate your natural desires for yummy goodness. Accept that this season, eating on your terms is the best way to be kind to your body.

Have compassion

priscilla-du-preez-444002-unsplash.jpg

The most difficult part of food freedom can often be having compassion for yourself and not getting upset at what your brain and belly are telling you. If a thought pops up to have a second helping of mac and cheese (with a generous pour of gravy over it, if you’re like me) practice compassion and gratitude in your ability to listen to your body. Understand that it is still possible to love yourself even after eating a ton of extra food. Embracing all parts of who you are, even when you step outside of your normal habits, is true self-compassion.

Follow what you feel

Your first instinct when you see that big table of food may not be one you’re happy with, but there’s a certain power in owning your feelings that I think all of us could use more practice in. Own your cravings, honor your body, and follow what you feel. When you’re done eating, thank yourself for allowing your body the freedom to embrace and live in your truth. If you need an extra boost in believing that all your food decisions were valid, say these ten affirmations to get you started.

The holidays are different for everyone, but there’s one thing you can all do: celebrate yourself and the progress you’ve made this year. Instead of focusing on what you’re eating, remember all the blessings, lessons, and experiences you have to be grateful for.

In the mood to express some gratitude? Tell me what you’re grateful for in the comments below.