Of course it wasn't until my body was in pain that I was forced to learn how to say no. No I will not eat that dairy, it is not worth the pain. No I will not eat that sugar, it is not worth the emotional upheaval. It can be especially hard to say a healthy no around the holidays when there is constantly candy, treats, and people bringing in food to work. The treats are everywhere and they are screaming for you to say yes to eating them.
So here are a couple things to keep in mind on how to create healthy boundaries for yourself and stay embodied and grounded this holiday season.
1. Just say NO. Your grandma is going to ask you to try the brownies she made especially for you, your co-workers are going to bring in pies to celebrate, your partner may bring you chocolates. Sugar, sugar, sugar will leave your head spinning and more susceptible to inflammation and sickness this winter. What is the common theme here? It is all acts of love. Everyone around is just trying to spread the love and they are doing that through food. You can thank them for the offer and just say no thanks. They may continue to try and get you to eat the food that you know inside doesn't feel good in your body and you may have to say no thanks again. Sometimes when setting boundaries you'll have to sound like a broken record because others around you may not be used to you saying NO. Then you'll get to choose other things to eat that feel good in your body and let you stay focused on other things in the moment besides food.
2. Be fed by the moment. Like I mentioned above, cooking and feeding others is an act of love. We can thank others for the love they are offering and not have to eat all the food in front of us. We can be fed and nourished by the environment, the people, the smells, the laughter. Instead of focusing on all the foods you are trying to avoid or worried about overeating or feeling guilty about perhaps all that you have already eaten, come back to the present moment and be nourished by all that is around you. Come back to the feeling of gratefulness. When we are fed emotionally by the moment, the act of eating becomes less important because we can feel so filled up by love.
3. It is not really about you. If you find yourself in a moment where others are trying to force food on you just remember it is not really about you. Others may feel insecure about what they made and they may want to make sure it tastes good. Or someone offering you more food when you are already full may feel self conscious about eating so much so they are trying to perhaps make themselves not feel so guilty and that others are eating a lot too. When you say no you are also setting an example for others that they can say no too. Eating pounds and pounds of food can be easy around the holidays as it becomes a mindless act. When you bring mindfulness into the meal and respect your body you allow others to do the same. So when you say no, you are just respecting yourself and if others feel bad you have done nothing wrong.
It can be difficult around the holidays to set boundaries but with practice saying no will become easier. The whole holiday season has so much more meaning than just what we cook and eat. It is about being with family, loved ones, cultivating gratefulness for what we have, and spreading the love. I wish you a happy holiday season and I am grateful for all of you!