Thanksgiving Nightmare?

Does today feel like a dream or a nightmare?

A holiday that revolves entirely around food can be, uh...challenging for those learning to eat intuitively and heal their relationship with food and their bodies.

You know you’re going to be surrounded by food all day, and there’s nothing really to do except eat and lounge around.

When I was restricting, Thanksgiving was a nightmare. The whole day was about trying not to ‘lose’ it and eat everything, and I invariably ended up eating far more than I intended and hating myself. I was either trying to stay on a very strict plan, or just stuffing my face with anything I could find.

I wasn’t thinking about the value of the food. And I certainly wasn’t thinking about the value of a day spent with my family with no obligations. All I was thinking about was how to control myself.

Today feels different.

I woke up this morning thankful for the few quiet hours I would have before everyone got up. I can’t wait for the smell of the onions and celery cooking while I watch the parade. I’m making my mental to do list for my husband when he wakes up (I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to help). I’m going to make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then maybe take a walk.

I’m relaxed.

Looking around my kitchen while I wait for my tea to brew, I’m noticing all the ingredients laid out on the counter ready to be prepared into delicious dishes. I love the idea of turning a dusty brown potato into a fantastic side dish; or the cold turkey breasts brining out in my garage becoming the juicy highlight of the meal. I do enjoy cooking, particularly when I have someone beside me washing the dishes as I go (thanks again, husband).

I’m excited for the food, but I’m more excited for the experience. I’m excited to sit around in my PJs and watch movies and play games with my kids. I’m excited to smell all the delicious things cooking in the oven. I’m excited to relax and not have anything to think about other than the fact that I am so darn lucky to live in this place with these people at this time and enjoy all these blessings.

Thanksgiving feels different on the other side of self-acceptance. I can enjoy myself and stay present and experience gratitude rather than control myself and worry about how my body looks and feel anxious.

So if today feels challenging, I encourage you to take a deep breath and remember why you’ve started this journey. There’s a stunningly beautiful freedom available to you and you deserve to give yourself that gift. You’ve got incredible things to do in your life, not the least of which is be able to relax on Thanksgiving.

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