A Holiday Survival Guide for the Mindful Eater

The holidays are almost here. Wow. Those just kind of snuck up on me! 

Time is moving faster than the crazy holiday shoppers, and everyone is on hyper-drive. 

As we all know, the holidays bring with them many emotions, one of the main ones being stress

With holidays typically comes family, and let’s face it, though we [mostly] love our family, they do have a way of bringing with their portions of holiday dishes a healthy portion of stress, as well. 

And then there’s the hustle and bustle and the to-do lists, and the “get it done so we can relax” treadmill we all find ourselves on. More stress. 

And then, for the mindful eaters like ourselves, there is the food. Lots and lots of food. 

“And they’d feast! And they’d feast! And they’d FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast beast.”

This can be stressful.

Recently on the Facebook Page, I pulled an article from the archives that I wrote about tips for intuitve eating during the holidays. I don’t want this post to be redundant, so I am going to take this in another direction. 

I want to talk a bit about survival.

A Holiday Survival Guide for the Mindful Eater:

1. People are going to Food Police you. Ignore them. 

I know how it goes, you’re seeing family you haven’t seen for awhile, and there’s always the one [or the bunch] who are trying to prove themselves. In our society, one of the best ways to show you’re “on top of life” is showcasing how much “self-discipline” you have. And this is often done through schooling others on their nutritional/lifestyle choices and habits. 

You will have the braggers who talk about how often they go for runs in the ice rain and how much protein they eat and how no christmas pudding will be touching their lips. Easy enough to brush off with a shrug and [discreet] roll of the eyes.

And then you have those who will take it to the next level and start enforcing their rigidity on you. Ignore them. Easier said than done, I know, but necessary. There are two approaches I’ve found to be effective: 

1) the personal reminder/mantra. Just keep repeating to yourself that you know what is right and what works for you and remind yourself how you’d rather live in the freedom of Intuitivev Eating than the prison of restriction and shame/guilt.

2) the verbalized counter-argument. At times when the internal reassurance isn’t enough, I find verbalizing it can work well. Warning: this could result in a heated family debate so be aware and only use if absolutely necessary. Usually I will say something simple such as: “Yeah, I tried the route of food rules and restrictions and I was miserable. All I Know is I eat what I want, when I want and I’ve never been healtheir and happier.” Just keep it simple, but firm. Usually they’ll back off.

If all else fails, just throw a hand of the nearest christmas candy in your mouth and then motion towards your mouth as if to apologize that you can no longer engage in the conversation because you’re too busy chewing on your freedom. Winning. 

2. You are going to have doubts. Ignore them. 

None of us are perfect, and we all have our doubts and our weak points. We are only human. I find when I’m around groups of people who are talking about eating and “right and wrong,” I do start to second-guess myself and even police myself a bit.

Just repeat your mantra and remind yourself how far you’ve come. Don’t let yourself get to you. Remember, if you’re not on your own side, who else will be? Deep down you know what is true.

3. There may be some regrets, “if onlys,” and shame. Let it go. 

I don’t know about you, but I always begin reflecting as the year comes to a close. I begin thinking of all the times I could’ve exercises but didn’t. All the times I could’ve stuck to Intuitive Eating, but instead ate compulsively. All the things I wanted to get around to that never happened…

Under these circumstances, regret is one of the most unproductive feelings.

Why not use the “new beginnings” that come with the holidays as a way to look forward rather than back? What’s done is done. And you are only human. Rather than beat yourself up, and begin to doubt yourself and if you’ll ever “get it all together,” reflect on all the things you accomplished.

Make a list! Think of the things you’ve learned, the successes you’ve had, the moments of personal growth. The odds are, you are happier and healthier this year than you were last year. That’s all that matters. Focus on that. And then get excited about all the successes you will [inevitably] have in the year to come!

4. Make some goals. 

I decided from this year forward I will always buy a new journal at the beginning of each year. I am a person who likes new beginnings and symbolizing them, and journals are my nerdy way of doing that.

I was inspired to do this because I had the idea to write my goals for the year on the first page of that journal–this way I will have them there to refer back to when I need a reminder of the direction I am headed. Also, this will be a great way for me to carry out tip #3 above–referring back on my goals and celebrating my progress in achieving them! 

Resolutions set you up for failure and tend to focus on the negative. Goals are different. Rather than being about rejecting who you are and striving to be more, goals are about embracing who you are: your hopes, dreams, and values, and setting a course to bring you closer to all of those things. YAY! 


For those who are dreading the holiday meals and wondering how to get through them, while keeping your mindful eating intact, just remember, Intuitive Eating is not about shame; it’s not about guilt, fear, or punishment.

And, as your walking up to the Christmas smorgosbourd, just remember the wise words of Mary Poppins: 

Enough is as good as a feast. 

Happy Holidays! 


This will be my last post for 2014. I know I haven’t been the best this year with consistency; however, I am letting this go and not beating myself up over it. Rather, I am focusing on the positive: In 2014, I wrote several blogs that got some of the most views I’ve ever received. In addition, the Facebook page for this blog exceeded 700 followers organically! And, most importantly, I’ve grown more and more comfortable with my body and my views on eating, exercise, and overall self-care. My goal for the new year is to take this blog to the next level, and now I have the time to do so. I will be writing new blogs every Monday in the new year as much as I am able, but not perfectly–because I am not perfect.

I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, relaxing, and rejuvenating holiday and I will see you in 2015! xx Lauren B. 

Twitter: @lauren_b_sag

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