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Intuitive Eating During The Holidays

Melanie Lustbader, LPC

Do you feel more stressed around the holidays?  If the answer is yes, it may be from financial stress, family, loss, and added emphasis on food.  According to, “Intuitive eating offers an empowering approach to holiday food choices for both your body and mind, resulting in more enjoyment, less guilt and better health” (Garone, 2020). Intuitive eating is when an individual becomes more aligned with their body’s natural hunger cues. Some individuals can naturally be intuitive eaters from birth, but often times as individuals try to alter their bodies, dieting and weight loss may come into play. The holidays are a time for enjoyment and celebration of food, family, and reflection of the past year. An individual may feel they need to control their food intake, in order to not over indulge and possibly regret what they ate later. As said by, registered dietitian, Yaffi Lvova, “When we appreciate the many health benefits, both physical and emotional, that come with enjoying time with friends and family, we can relax and focus on the true meaning of the holidays.”(Garone, 2020)

The holiday season is a busy time, but often predictable. Individuals tend to think about buying gifts, spending extended time with families, and possibly excess eating and drinking. It is important to remember these times are temporary, but also recognizing how an individual can reduce overwhelming holiday stress and turn it into a positive time. The holiday season should be a joyous time rather than a hectic time.

By being aware of the anxiety that may come up when the holidays come around can be beneficial. For example, if indulging in cookies and cake is a common theme, and then come January 1st, a wave of regret comes over you, make sure to have a plan how you can change the narrative. According to nutritionist, Sarah Garone, “If a family member judges the contents of your plate, change the subject or tell them it’s not any of their business what you eat. And if someone offers you a piece of pie you really don’t feel like eating, simply politely decline — no explanation necessary. It’s your body and it’s your choice” (Garone, 2020). It is crucial to remind ourselves food should not be labeled “good” or “bad,” and being able to challenge those thoughts about what we are eating. 

There is no doubt that November through December can be high stress for many individuals and families. Katherine Marengo, another registered dietitian recommends using Intuitive Eating, a 10 principal food philosophy, to reframe negative thinking about food. Some of principles are, ditch the dieting, honoring your hunger cues, stop using the words, “good” “bad” to describe yourself, be mindful of your fullness and give thanks to your body. This philosophy is for anyone and can be practiced not just during the holidays. Sarah Garone says, “according to the intuitive eating approach, you have permission to eat any food at any time, because if there is deprivation of a food or foods, it will likely increase your cravings (Garone, 2020). It may be beneficial during the holidays to spend time relaxing or moving your body in a way you enjoy. Sarah Garone reminds her readers, “you do not need to eat “perfectly” to be in good health” (Garone, 2020).

If you have found yourself struggling during the holidays and would like to talk to a licensed therapist, we offer a range of counseling services to support you. Contact Symmetry Counseling online, or call us at (312)-801-2604 to arrange an appointment with a skilled and compassionate therapist today!

Garone, S. (2020, January 03). Your Guide to Intuitive Eating for the Holidays.

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