I spent a lot of time in the bathroom after Thanksgiving dinner in 2006.
That marked the beginning of my eating disorder: restricting my intake to 1000-1200 calories a day, binging, and purging to varying degrees of intensity over the next 8ish years.
I’m so grateful to be an entirely different person today. Someone who isn’t obsessed with food, doesn’t worry about eating a lot on Thanksgiving, and genuinely loves their body.
I’m excited to share a little Thanksgiving toolkit with you today – the practices I’ll be using myself to have the coziest and most fun holiday season ever… and stay feeling great in my body.
They’re all tools that can be tweaked and adapted to suit you, or perhaps they’ll inspire something different that works even better for you. 🙂
Today’s guidance is not about fixing yourself, punishing your body with exercise, or avoiding the appetizer spread.
I won’t be telling you to skip stuffing or “just eat three bites of dessert.” This guide is about feeling at peace with your body, cozy, and present with yourself and your loved ones over the holidays.
Although I will share specific tools you can use to avoid bloating and overeating, this isn’t about obsessing over a little bloat or weight gain… because that will probably happen to all of us and it’s A-OK.
What I’ve discovered through talking to dozens of women is that it’s not really about the weight. It’s about the mindset – feeling obsessed with food and your body. It’s also about discomfort – you want to feel good in your body, not like your clothes are too tight and you can’t really breathe fully.
That’s why I’m sharing tools you can use to lessen the likelihood of feeling totally crappy after Thanksgiving.
I won’t be telling you to avoid any specific foods or start a crazy bootcamp exercise regimen… unless that’s what you want, in which case, awesome.
That brings me to another important point: It’s ok to want to change your body.
The body positivity movement is incredible and I’m such a supporter, but there’s a subset of people who will shame you for wanting to lose weight. That’s an issue.
It’s amazing to not want to change a thing about your body AND it’s ok to want to lose 20 lbs.
It’s about it being your choice and prioritizing loving your body over changing it. That’s the only hard and fast rule. Even if you want to change your body, the first step is loving it exactly as it is.
You can’t make change from a place of self-loathing. Hating on yourself just leads to destructive behavior like binging. Or total inaction because you feel so low.
Finding just one thing you appreciate about your body will inspire you to take care of yourself like a queen.
And PS: putting self-love first makes it SO much easier to build muscle, lose weight, or reach any goal.
There’s a difference between wanting to lose weight to feel comfier in your body and more energized versus basing your worth and lovability on how much you weigh.
If your self-worth is low, you’re way less likely to take care of yourself, because your subconscious brain doesn’t believe you’re worth the time and energy.
When you treat yourself like gold you naturally put the best stuff in your body.
I’m not perfect at this, but I went from years of bulimia to a totally healthy relationship with food where I eat nutritiously and incredibly flexibly. Nothing is off limits. I love my body but I don’t base my worth on it. I base my worth on how present, loving, and honest I can be in my daily life.
So how can you heal your relationship with food and stop dieting for good?
It starts with daily practices and is largely based on developing a loving internal dialogue with yourself. Instead of beating yourself up or judging yourself, try talking to yourself like a kind mother would speak to an innocent little girl.
In addition to loving self-talk, these are the practical tools I use to feel good throughout the holiday season, no matter what I choose to eat…
1. The Good Taste Eating Pillars.
Chewing, breathing, and pausing. These are my only real food rules around the holidays. I believe that this time is to be enjoyed, and you shouldn’t restrict yourself.
That said, I personally don’t like feeling so full that I’m uncomfortable. That feeling is one of the main things that led me to my eating disorder.
As a teenager I often ate so fast that I got unbearably full without even realizing it… and then desperately needed to get it all out.
Chewing each bite 15-30 times, until it’s liquid, allows you to actually taste and enjoy your food… and helps massively with digestion and nutrient absorption.
Chewing your food really well lessens the likelihood of bloating, and gives your brain the time to register that you’re full.
Breathing and pausing between bites supports chewing, infuses your whole system with oxygen so your metabolism works faster, and makes you feel more calm, present, and grateful with your food and the people around you.
2. Wildly honest communication and self-expression.
This might come as a surprise and it’s a little hippy, but the most important thing I’ll be practicing this holiday season is honest expression.
It means expressing my goofiness and joy through dance, laughing, and sharing Costa Rican hot chocolate with my family. It means not being so serious. It means watching videos and telling jokes and stories that make me laugh hard.
It also means crying when I need to, swiftly and lovingly communicating my needs, and expressing frustration as soon as it comes up instead of letting it bubble up and boil over as I try to keep a lid on it.
3. Kundalini and meditation.
My daily practice dumps my energetic charge in the morning and wipes the slate clean. Any fear or anxiety I had upon waking gets washed away.
I start by tuning in with three recitations of ong namo guru dev namo. Then I do three minutes each of the following kriyas: Sat Kriya, Sobagh Kriya, Self-Love Kriya, and a few more, depending on my mood and how much time I have.
Afterward I meditate for 10-20 minutes with my legs crossed, using the simple mantra so hum to help me stay focused.
No matter what your yoga, Kundalini, and/or meditation practice is, committing to 10-20 minutes of movement, breath, and stillness will help you feel calmer and more connected throughout the holidays.
4. Daily green juice.
I love anchoring my day with green juice throughout the holidays. Celery, cucumber, and ginger is an amazing combo for digestion, clear skin, and fast metabolism.
If you don’t have a juicer simply blend ingredients with high-quality filtered water, strain, then put through a nut milk bag.
Green juice is great for balancing out cravings. It’s normal to want desserts and cheese and all the goodies throughout the holidays, and I partake in ALL of them.
However, sometimes it starts to feel addictive in an unhealthy way, and that’s where a daily green juice helps fill in nutrient gaps so you don’t have excessive cravings that feel out of control.
It’s the difference between eating a couple slices of pie and really enjoying them versus eating the WHOLE pie and not even knowing what it tasted like.
5. Matcha over coffee.
After ravishing incredible Costa Rican coffee nearly every day for the past three months, my body wants to switch it up.
For some people, like me, daily coffee can cause low-grade anxiety, hypervigilance, chest pain, heart palpitations, skin flare ups, poor digestion, and sooo much more. It can also make you hold on to belly fat even when you’ve been eating really well.
I love coffee and I drink it often, but when I feel symptoms creeping up I back off and reach for matcha or my favorite Winter White Earl Grey tea from Harney & Sons.
Right now I’m loving hot matcha blended with a little coconut oil and coconut milk.
Coffee is always a little hard for me to let go of (even for a day). It’s one of those things where sometimes I know I need to drink less of it but I just love it so much that I don’t want to.
Whether it’s coffee for you or something totally different, it’s often that “thing” we love, have every day, and that doesn’t seem like a big deal that we need to take a little break from.
I’m not breaking up with coffee by any stretch of the imagination, just reaching for matcha more often this holiday season so I feel more relaxed, loving, and calm.
Now I want to hear from you!
What are your cozy, yummy holiday practices for staying present with yourself, your loved ones, and your food?
Do any of my practices resonate with you? If so, which one will you try first?
Leave me a comment below, and have a beautiful holiday week. 🙂
Sending you so much love!