Navigating Food and Body Insecurities During the Holidays
it’s okay if this is not the most wonderful time of the year…
The holiday season can bring on a lot of emotions – both good and bad. Often times, we may feel pressured to constantly be feeling optimistic, grateful, and happy during this time of the year.
But that’s not always attainable no matter how often you try to look on the bright side.
Sure, we can always work on staying positive, but there will always be tough times, and we need to acknowledge those!
For many, the holiday season can be extremely challenging, and there are many reasons for that. But one of these reasons that I’ve had plenty of experience with has to do with body and food insecurities.
Dealing with negative body image and disordered eating is NEVER fun, but navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays can be extra tough.
You’re likely to be around more people than normal, so you might be dealing with comparison (check out my post on dealing with comparison over the holidays) – especially bodily comparisons.
Plus, the excess of food, especially treats and other things deemed “bad” by diet culture, is another thing that can trigger a lot of insecurities and general bad feelings. And who has time for that?! Especially during this time of year!
I want this holiday season to be one that you can enjoy more fully and be more present during, as opposed to being preoccupied with thoughts related to food and body insecurities.
If you’re over overthinking everything from what you ate for dessert last night to how you think you look in that cute new holiday dress, you’re in the right place!
Who’s ready to learn about navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays?!
Let’s take a second to think about where our insecurities even come from in the first place.
For the most part, insecurities are formed when we feel less than, when we compare ourselves to others and come to the conclusion that someone else is better.
Maybe you’re insecure because you think someone else is prettier, smarter, stronger, better at xyz… whatever it is, your insecurity likely stems from the idea that you are not enough.
But guess what? You are MORE than enough, and it’s not fair to compare yourself to others.
You don’t need to be anyone but yourself, so why does it matter what someone else looks like or what they’re doing? You are not them, so it’s none of your business.
YOU are your only competition. No one else. So stop worrying about everyone else and how they’re doing. Focus on yourself, put energy into yourself, show that mind and body of yours some love, and see how your insecurities change.
I know it’s much easier said than done, and it takes TIME. A lot of it. But I’m here to share some things that have worked for me in navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays.
check your circle
I honestly think this was one of the most impactful things I have done that’s changed the way I view myself, food, and the world. So don’t skip out on this step while navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays!
But it seems like this is also a step that many people forget about when trying to shift their life in a better direction.
Checking your circle means, in short, changing the people you surround yourself with – in person, online, and anywhere else.
It means looking around and thinking critically about who is positively impacting your life and who is negatively impacting it, and then distancing yourself away from those that bring negativity into your circle.
But the BIG takeaway from this tip is that it applies to social media too!! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people talk about how social media negatively affects your mental health – and it’s true that it can, but it matters HOW you use it.
If your Instagram feed is primarily pictures of supermodels and edited images that make you feel super sh*tty about yourself, STOP LOOKING AT THOSE.
On the other hand, if your feed is funny, inclusive, educational, and full of posts that make you feel good, then you will notice a shift in the way social media makes you feel.
I used to use social media in ways that did not make me feel good about myself; I was always comparing my body, my life, my relationship to everyone else’s. And then I took a step back from social media and realized that it only made me feel bad because I let it do that.
I unfollowed everyone I compared myself to and started following accounts that made me feel good about myself. Here are some of my favorite accounts that are related to food and body insecurities:
Another technique that helps me while navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays is learning about body image, disordered eating, and intuitiveness.
Opening myself up to the world of anti-diet culture ideas has helped me feel better about myself, what I put on my plate, and how I can care for my body in a much healthier way than restricting and over-exercising.
Plus, the more I learned about intuitive eating, the more I was able to incorporate it into my life.
Here are some Instagram accounts that are great to follow if you’re looking to learn more about this topic:
listen to your body
I know it’s tempting to limit yourself to 1 dessert, 1 slice of pizza, whatever it may be – especially while navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays.
But please, please, please do not do this.
Restricting leads to bingeing, and we KNOW this for a fact.
Listen to your body; if you want more than 1 dessert item, give yourself permission to eat. If you want seconds, grab another plate. If you’re feeling full after a few bites, don’t force yourself to eat.
This goes for workouts as well. I know you might want to “overcompensate” for things you may have eaten, but you don’t need to do that! Your body is capable of processing those foods all on its own. (:
If you’re feeling up to a workout, go right ahead and get moving. But if you’re not feeling it, take a rest day!
re-direct your negative thoughts
If you keep getting stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts about your body, what you ate, or anything else, try to redirect those as soon as possible.
Distract yourself by listening to music, reading, repeating a mantra, talking to a friend, or something else that gets your mind off of whatever is bothering you right now.
be nice to yourself
Navigating food and body insecurities over the holidays is hard, so don’t beat yourself up.
Whether you missed a workout, overate, don’t like the way you look, or something else… it’s okay. You’re going to be okay.
The least helpful thing to do in any situation is to be mean to your body and/or mind.
Think of the things you would say to a friend if they were in the same situation as you, and say those things to yourself. Be your own hype man!
And if you really struggle with this, ask someone else to hype you up (you can even message me)! (:
I hope these tips help you with navigating food and body insecurities during the holidays, and remember: you are amazing just the way you are, and these feelings will pass. (:
For more tips on improving body image specifically, check out this post!
To read a more in-depth conversation about diet culture during the holidays, click here!
For help dealing with comparison over the holidays, check out this post!