Food unites us. It brings us together. It bonds us and creates memories. It supports us in cultivating new friendships, solidifies a family over eating together, and nourishes our body physically and emotionally. In a larger context of holidays and food, Halloween=candy, Thanksgiving=large meal where overeating is encouraged, Chanukah/Christmas=more eating, New Years Eve= many celebrate with going out to dinner or consuming large quantities of alcohol, Valentine's Day=chocolate, 4th of July=BBQs, Birthdays=indulgent meals and cake. How o how are we to listen to our body and it's hunger and fullness cues when there are reasons to celebrate all throughout the year? When we eat socially, our body can be overwhelmed with all the external stimuli of conversation, different foods, socialization mimicry, meaning we will eat as fast and with as many bites of those around us. This can make it incredibly hard to hear our body's wisdom in what foods and how much is going to feel most supportive in that moment. On top of that, we desire to feel a part of the group that may override what and how much we would normally eat just to "fit in."
Since discovering I have a very sensitive digestive tract, it has supported me in learning how to set strong boundaries with what I say yes and no to in holiday situations while also still feeling a part of the celebratory aspects of being together with loved ones. The first step can be to take a pause when in a holiday or celebration situation and just allow yourself space and time to connect with yourself. When you sit down at a table to eat with others, this pause will give you the opportunity to assess which foods are going to support you in feeling grounded and supported in the moment and after the meal is over so that you can actually enjoy being around others and not feel uncomfortable in your own body from perhaps eating foods you know do not resonate with you or overeating.
In celebratory situations, we can often be so focused on the food that we miss the emotional satiation occurring from being nourished by the conversation, the environment, and the people. New traditions can be created where every person in the room can support each other in focusing more on each other where food just gets to be an added bonus of bringing individuals together where the spotlight of satiety is on how we nourish each other by our attention, presence, and connection. When I see an Everything Bagel now, I can feel the sense of Jewish celebration in my body, honor the emotions and sensations present, and still listen to my body's messages that actually eating that particular food would not support my system in feeling celebratory. The next holiday or celebration that occurs in your life, experiment and before you enter the room, take three deep belly breaths and you can create intentions for yourself in what you are hoping to feel nourished by and receive by celebrating with others that includes being satiated by both the food and the company.