With many holiday opportunities to celebrate, I wonder if there are people carrying unnecessary guilt. Feelings of anxiety because one is afraid to eat. Instead of enjoying the company of family, friends, and festive foods—the way life was meant to be. If we look at things with a healthy perspective, we can let go of fear and anxiety about food and enter the holidays with enjoyment. I call it Freedom with Responsibility.
And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:13 NLT
The idea of social situations in a dieter’s mind stirs up unnecessary fear and anxiety. A diet mentality distorts the truth that God created people to enjoy time with each other, and many times food is naturally part of the equation.
When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. Genesis 21:8 NLT
Think about it, Abraham hosted a huge feast just because his son was graduating to solid food!
For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the Lord your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all. Deuteronomy 16:15 NLT
Celebration, community, bounty, feasts these are all things to be enjoyed. There is a way to enjoy these blessings without reckless abandon—guilt free. It’s called Freedom with Responsibility. This principle allows you the freedom to partake in foods that you desire, but sets boundaries to bypass that “why did I eat all that?” sick feeling and any worries of gaining weight.
Freedom With Responsibility
- Wait for your stomach to indicate it’s hungry. Now give yourself permission to eat what you want.
- When you start to feel comfortably full, mentally prepare yourself to stop, eat a couple more bites, and then stop.
- If you overate at your last meal, you are not a failure. It means you are still in the process of listening to your body. Consider it a learning experience for future meals.
I am thankful for a standard to live by that allows me the freedom to live my life free from dieting obsessions. Now, as I pay attention to the signals my body sends me, eat when I am hungry/stop when I am comfortably full, I act accordingly. This brings me great peace of mind. I can comfortably and naturally take good care of myself, while enjoying the holidays. My stress and anxious eating has dissipated. I naturally lose pounds because I make good choices. My mental and physical health prospers. So what am I doing? I listen to what my body is indicating, instead of my emotions.
I don’t get legalistic with my eating either. When I am in a social situation, if I am not hungry but want to participate, I will eat but stop when I am comfortably full. I never like feeling stuffed or sick, so I eat within my stomach’s comfortable capacity—healthy boundaries. I don’t choose foods that I don’t like, or if I take a bite of something I don’t like, I will not finish it. I only eat things that taste good to me, because I know my limits on how much I can eat to prevent that regretful overeating experience. This helps me enjoy food and socializing to the fullest measure!
You Are Not Required to Clean Your Plate
You do not have to eat everything on your plate. If the food is cold, overcooked, undercooked, stale, nasty tasting, or too much is served, you do not have to eat it! You are not a garbage disposal! Food is a gift to be enjoyed. Decide what is edible and appealing, and enjoy those portions of foods within the confines of comfortably full. A new habit to practice is to eat your favorite foods first, because you may not know when you will reach fullness and stop eating. Soon you will learn your body’s desired portion size, in respect to the time of day, and serve yourself appropriately.
Help in Social Situations
If you are full and someone wants to give you more food, your response should be, “No thank you, I’m full,” or “No thank you, I’m not hungry anymore.” Your host will usually drop the matter. If your response is, “Sorry I am watching what I eat,” or “I am on a diet,” more than likely the common response is, “Oh, you don’t need to lose weight,” or “Come on, just this one time, it’s the holidays.” Repeat after me, “No thank you, I’m full.”
You can enjoy the holidays guilt free, while enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Freedom with Responsibility, let your natural body indicators do the work for you, as you relinquish the need to diet. For more encouragement and tips, I invite you to read last year’s holiday message: Give Yourself Permission to Celebrate.