I have many memories of struggling with food over the holidays.
When I was single, I feared having food (specifically candy) in the house. At Halloween time I would buy a bag of candy my thought was to use it on Halloween, but that never happened. I always ate it. It wasn’t that I just ate it. I ate it all and felt so ashamed. I was convinced that I could not stop.
I came up with a plan…
I would go to the gym on Halloween night. I don’t know if you have been to the gym on Halloween night- there are not many people there. I thought it was the only way that I could stop myself from overeating on candy. If I was not home to give out candy, they I would not have to buy the candy. It was my way of not binging on candy. It worked if I did not buy the candy.
When I returned home from the gym, I would sneak into the house, go upstairs, and watch television with the lights out so no one would knock on my door. I did not feel brave enough to tell them I had no candy, I wanted to avoid the whole scene.
I then married a man who loved to give out candy on Halloween. He bought the candy and did not open the bag before Halloween. On Halloween he ate few pieces and took the rest to the office to share with his co-workers.
I have learned that it is ok to have candy in the house and I do not have to be afraid of it. It does not call my name like it used to. I used to feel compelled to eat the candy or any sweets if it was in the house. My head would say, you know you are going to eat it, just do it. I was convinced that I had no control over candy.
I learned about Intuitive Eating.
It took me time and effort to feel freedom with candy. It is doable. We now have candy in the house, and it does not call to me. I do not think about it, and I have it when I want it. It is not a struggle anymore.
I have been creating my newest program Peace with Food Over the Holidays and have been looking at what does help to release the grip food and sweets can have on us. Interestingly, it is not all focused on how to manage food. Food is one of the many components that lead to peace with food.
In order to have Peace with Food Over the Holidays we need to look at:
- Physical: How to look at food/candy differently. There are simple tweaks that can make you feel so much more successful.
- Emotional- How to deal with emotions that surely come up over the holiday season.
- Mental: Those thoughts about food can be overwhelming. Finding some tools to manage them is critical.
- Lifestyle/Social: Learning how to say no and set boundaries is crucial.
- Mindfulness: How can you get quiet with yourself when there are so many competing priorities AND you are not one of them?
- Self-Love: What do you really need? If you were going to be loving to yourself, what would you do?
Notice that only one component is focused on the physical, which includes food! The reason why it feels so hard to put food in its place as nourishment is because we focus on food and generally it is on restricting food.
Food restriction does not work.
What works is bringing balance and synergy to all of the components. I will not lie to you; it does take effort to learn and practice this new way. It is worth it, and it does work.
As an end note…
I now happily give out candy to our neighbor kids. I do not feel afraid when my daughter brings home her Halloween candy. I have a piece and it is not a big deal.
Do you wish this for yourself? It is possible!
Need support for food this holiday season?
Peace with Food: Holiday Edition is coming!!! This is a super affordable way ($29) to get peace with food this holiday season. Check it out here: https://go.feedyoursoulunlimited.com/holidaychallenge2022
Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Psychotherapist, Speaker, Author, and Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration.
You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms.
Wondering if you are an emotional eater? Sign up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz.