This time of year, the media is all about how to maintain your weight this holiday season or minimize the holiday eating “damage”. These articles or news pieces essentially give you all the diet tips you’ve heard many times before. They teach you how to spend the whole holiday meal planning to eat enough to satisfy your cravings, but not too much that you might end up gaining weight. The tips are well-meaning. After all, most people are worried about holiday weight gain and then try to go on a diet come January 1st.
But what if you didn’t need to worry about your weight? What if you could just enjoy the holiday season with family and friends? What if holiday gatherings were about all the things you’re grateful for?
Have you ever felt like nothing really matters? Like nothing you do will ever make a difference and your life doesn’t mean anything? That everything is completely random and life is cruel and good people don’t get what they deserve?
So whether it’s from the latest terrorist attack, a natural disaster, a depressive episode, or a personal situation, the last thing on your mind is eating. When nothing matters, why should you bother nourishing yourself?
When you were younger, it may have been as simple as whenever your belly rumbled, you got yourself a snack. Your body was telling you it was hungry and you fed it in response.
Now, we may not even be attuned to our body’s hunger signals. We may have desperately tried to silence these signals through dieting and deprivation. Or we may keep ourselves full at all times so we never have to experience the emptiness of hunger.
We may associate hunger with binging. That’s because when we get overly hungry, we’re ready to eat just about anything and we want all of it. We may not trust that we’re going to eat again, so we feast. This is one reason why it’s important to listen to your hunger and feed yourself before you get too ravenous.
As someone who’s long ago left the world of dieting and disordered eating behind, I’m still shocked every time I hear references to dieting. It’s all around me everywhere I go. At the doctor, at work, at the grocery store, at the gym, at home, and on my social media feed. At this point, it’s truly impossible to avoid diet culture. Since it can be so easy to be sucked back into diet culture, especially in the beginning, let’s explore some ways to challenge the culture so you can remain a non-dieter, intuitive eater, and lover of self.
Common scenario: you’re getting ready for the day and you’ve got a cute top on, but when you go to slip on your pants, you can barely button them up. They may be cutting into your waist, unable to close, and just plain too tight. Regardless of where you are with your body image, this moment of being too expansive for your clothing can set off internal panic. You wonder what happened between this moment and the last time you wore these pants? Did you expand that much in one week? Why do you still even care about these things? One simple trigger has the potential to ruin your whole day if you let it.
You don’t need to alter recipes to make them super-duper healthy. We don’t need cakes made out of kale. But sometimes we want a dessert that caters to our dietary restrictions and it’s perfectly okay to make changes.
When developing a recipe (or just throwing a bunch of things together), remember that everything that goes into baked goods has a purpose. The following ingredients may be ones you’re looking to change. You can make changes, but the substitutes need to be able to perform the same tasks. The dessert needs to look good and taste good.