Eating at Thanksgiving

For someone working towards being an intuitive eater, special events can really throw us off. Normally, you may not have a bunch of candy lying around just waiting to be subconsciously eaten, but during Halloween, it’s everywhere… and someone needs to finish it. Birthdays, well normally you wouldn’t have cake and ice cream around, but it’s there and you don’t want other people to feel uncomfortable about you not eating it. And here we are with Thanksgiving.

Such a glorious time of year with changing leaves (in some parts of our country), cooler weather, nostalgia from our younger days, family, friends, and… food. FOOD. That’s what it’s all about, right? The food. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you please topped with homemade gravy. Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli and rice, cranberry sauce, rolls, cookies, cake, PIE! And the social trend of bragging on the fatigue of overeating due to the volume of holiday foods begging to be placed on your plate.

How does a subconscious, chaotic eater resist?

Let’s take the focus off of the food and the people pleasing. What’s left of the Thanksgiving holiday? Think for a moment about where you’re going for Thanksgiving. And this is not meant to make people depressed. Don’t overthink it. I know there are plenty of family problems we could focus on right now or the dread of being somewhere full of triggers for some codependency episodes, but think of generalities right now. Think about the name, “Thanksgiving.” What does it mean to you?

Think about the attitude of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans at the time they celebrated the first Thanksgiving. What was it like? Why were they thankful? So much so that they came back the next year and the next to remember?

Why else would one go to Thanksgiving? Who will be there? Is there someone you’re looking forward to seeing? Is there something you can contribute that would take the focus away from merely sitting down and overeating? Maybe you could designate yourself as the family photographer, the dish cleaner (everyone would love you), or a leader in getting some games started. Switch it up this year. Instead of going with the thought of what you will receive, think about what you could give.

I know holidays are not easy. It is often big, overwhelming crowds, people you haven’t seen in forever, football (zzz), and food. Food at a holiday can be a nice little friend to keep your mind distracted from the social anxiety that is sure to creep up in a setting such as this. However, I believe this year is well worth the try of something new. Think about the feeling you will have of not being sick over your meal and of being a giver. How many people can you bless at Thanksgiving that maybe really need it?

Be prayerful about this Thanksgiving. Ask God if there’s anything He would like you to contribute, along with the food you’ll be bringing. Stay in connection with God throughout Thanksgiving Day and ask Him where the needs are. When you’re gathering food at the designated, official meal time of the day, get everything you want, but just a little bit of it. I guarantee doing that will still give you more than you can handle! Enjoy the food and listen to your body. Do I like the way this tastes? What is it about the texture that I like? Do I not like this? Then, after you’ve eaten half, ask yourself, Can I taste this anymore? Or am I just eating to eat? Stay in the present. Trust your body and stop when you’re satisfied.

Then, go engage with some family members. My family likes to go on Thanksgiving walks. 😀 And Pray!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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