It’s almost Thanksgiving, and there’s probably a lot happening in your world right now. Take a deep breath and take this post to heart; it might be the best gift you can give yourself today as this week unfolds.
It’s so easy to get off-center with two main things, especially at this time of year –
1. With what and how we eat.
2. With what we say to ourselves in our heads about our bodies (usually after unsuccessfully trying to control #1), right?
Last year at this time, I was working with Emily, a woman who told me she both loved and hated Thanksgiving.
Every Thanksgiving, she’d tell herself that this year it would be different. THIS year, she’d really pay attention and eat what seemed the right stuff in the right amounts.
And friends, this is a very smart woman!
Maybe like you, she knows what she wants to have happen, her intentions are great, but she just can’t seem to stick with them once the party starts, or we could even say, once Real Life gets in the way…
Is this often true for you, too?
I know it sure has been for me.
Emily happens to be super social, and loves the chance for meaningful connections with a lively family and a circle of fun-loving friends. She loves cooking the big Thanksgiving dinner and she has a blast with all the preparations.
Sounds idyllic maybe, but not quite…
What she hated was that in the middle of all this meaningful connection with others, and the playful fun of a holiday time, she’d get completely disconnected from herself– with the food she ate, how much she ate, and how she felt until afterwards.
Until a short time later, when she’d either be too full or feeling like she made low-energy food choices, and she’d be mentally beating herself up for checking out again around food. She kept going unconscious about her eating, completely “forgetting” what she’d just told herself only a few hours before…
…Before all the people arrived, the wine started flowing, and the bantering conversations got distracting. Before Real Life started pulling her away from what was happening inside.
This was basically her pattern for as long as she could remember, and she hated it. Emily said she’d often find herself in a silent mean monologue to herself for sometimes days after a holiday experience like this.
No wonder she had a love/hate relationship with holidays.
But two of the things she learned in the work we did last fall really helped her lock in some new habits and ways of being with this dynamic, so here they are in time for you this year.
1. In a quiet moment early in the day, before people show up or before you go somewhere, and definitely before busyness, do this-
Sit quietly with just yourself. Close your eyes, and get centered, letting your thoughts go and just being in your body. Take a couple of deep breaths into your entire body.
On each inhale tell yourself –
“I’m willing to truly enjoy everything I eat today, in the perfect kinds and amounts of food that deeply feed me.”
On each exhale tell yourself –
“I can trust myself to know what that is.”
Let your breath fill every part of your body in each in-breath, and completely relax on every out-breath.
Stay with this for the few moments it takes to really feel this in your body, then let it go, and go on with the day. Your subconscious will hold this, and make it easier for you to re-connect with throughout the day. You’ll be telling your subconscious what you’re willing to have, and what matters to you, so your own inner wisdom can start allowing this and even setting it up in your neuro pathways.
2. Set the intention to be and stay present in and aware of your body. The more you learn to be present, the more you will naturally eat what’s best for you now, without the old traditional willpower and control strategy that doesn’t work anyway.
It impossible to be fully present and overeat at the same time.
You won’t always stay there, none of us does, but you can come back into it in a heartbeat. Whenever you think to, simply take a breath and be in this moment in this body.
That’s it…simple. You can say the phrases from #1 again whenever you come back to being aware and present.
Emily told me the week after Thanksgiving last year that it was the most freeing, fun relaxed and yummy Thanksgiving she’s had in her whole adult life.
May your Thanksgiving celebrations be filled with a rich enjoyment of the bounty in your own life, and may the day feed you well in the finest sense of these words!