In last week’s blog, Kylee Marshall gave us some great illustrations of what Thanksgiving can look like for intuitive eaters. (If you haven’t read her blog yet, go check it out!) This week, I want to give you three simple suggestions for staying on the right track with your eating recovery this Thanksgiving.
1. Envision Your Wins
Thanksgiving in eating recovery can feel overwhelming for a lot of reasons, food-related and otherwise. At the same time, because it can be such a challenging day, Thanksgiving can be an opportunity to take meaningful steps forward in your recovery. Envisioning your recovery wins can help you make them a reality. Take some time to think about just one success you hope to have this Thanksgiving. You don’t have to think on a grand scale here. In fact, keep this win small, but specific. For example, maybe you want your win to be truly savoring and enjoying one of your aunt’s homemade rolls. Maybe you want to be able to focus on talking with your sibling during the Thanksgiving meal, instead of being preoccupied with thoughts about food. Maybe your win will be checking in with your hunger/fullness level before, during, and after the meal. Write your intention down as you approach the day, and commit to making that vision become a reality.
2. Support Yourself Instead of Pushing Yourself
Monica Packer, host of the About Progress podcast, talks about the idea of supporting yourself instead of pushing yourself as you work toward goals. I think this concept is a beautiful one to apply to eating recovery. After you’ve set your intention for a Thanksgiving win, try planning one simple thing you can do to support yourself as you work toward your intention. What kind, compassionate care can you give yourself to help your vision of success become a reality? Maybe you’ll set aside time to listen to a song that will help you feel supported before your Thanksgiving meal. Perhaps you’ll choose to spend a few soothing moments sitting outdoors after eating. Maybe you’ll FaceTime with a person in your life who understands how challenging Thanksgiving can be. Whatever you choose, remember that any small act done with the intention of lovingly supporting yourself can make a difference in your recovery.
3. Keep the Day in Perspective
Finally, as you approach Thanksgiving prepared with your intention and your plan to support yourself, remember that Thanksgiving is just one day. It’s a holiday that can be messy and complicated, and in many ways, it can be just another day. Your body will use food on this day the same way it does every other day–for nourishment and energy. On this day, just like other days, you do not have to participate in diet talk. Food you eat on Thanksgiving, like food you eat on other days, will not create drastic changes in your body. Food will be one feature of this day, but it does not have to be in charge of your day. This is true every day, not just on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving might not ever be the easiest day of the year in eating recovery, but I hope you’ll remember that you can keep moving forward in your recovery tomorrow. You can make a difference in your own recovery, even through the difficulty of the holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving to you!