The holiday season is fast upon us, which means we’re suddenly at endless social gatherings where we’re surrounded by an amazing array of food temptations which are difficult to resist- especially when it might be a whole year before we can enjoy egg nog, Christmas pudding or rum balls again. It can lead us to feeling like we just have to eat ALL THE FOOD, because this is the only chance we’re going to have for another 12 months.
However, this fear of missing out can lead us to eat more food, even though we’re already full, stuffing ourselves silly, and basically ignoring all the cues from our body to only eat when we are hungry and to stop once we’ve had enough.
We might think things like: “this is my only chance to eat turkey stuffing until this time next year! I have to eat it, even though I’m not really hungry!”, or “If I don’t eat this pumpkin pie then I will never know what it tasted like…and one piece just isn’t enough to get me through until next year!”.
These scarcity thoughts are what lead many of us to have anxiety around food, rather than food being fun and enjoyable. The lack mentality means that we’re letting food control us and take over our thoughts and life. It’s also very difficult to feel satisfaction when filled with food FOMO because there will be the constant niggling feeling that there’s just not enough to satisfy us. This then leads to over-eating, and getting out of tune with what our body really needs. Wowzer!
This holiday season, instead of letting the food anxiety and FOMO take over, try these strategies to transform your mind-body-food connection.
1. Change your mindset
Remember that everything is a choice, and you have the choice to either let food control you or choose to eat intuitively and remain in control of the situations you’re in. I’m in no way encouraging you to restrict yourself (restricting and controlling food intake ie. dieting, is never recommended). However, know that when you choose to eat something, it’s your positive choice made from love and compassion for yourself, rather than being made out of fear of missing out.
If you find yourself panicked and struggling to make the choice between eating a second piece of pie or not, consider where the struggle is coming from. If it’s emotional and from a feeling of lack then recognise you’re about to make a negative choice, and switch your mindset to one of abundance instead. Remember that the food will always be there and that you’re allowed to eat whatever you want if your body truly needs it. You and your body are always the ones on control of the situation you are in, not the other way around.
2. Consider what you gain, not lose
If you have the fear of missing out and it’s making you want to eat more and more of the available food while you can, try switching your thinking from scarcity to gain. By stopping at one piece or when you have truly had enough, rather than stuffing yourself, ask yourself how much better will you feel? What will you gain by not eating food you desire but don’t need? How much more energy will you have when you don’t feel overstuffed? How good will that feel?
3. Enjoy the food you eat
Part of taking an intuitive approach to eating is to really enjoy all the food you eat. When you stop, slow down, taste the flavours and feel the textures and properly savour each mouthful, then you will be more likely to be satisfied by just having one serving. The need to have seconds or thirds just won’t be there and you’ll also be eating from a place of pleasure and not fear.
4. Take a small bite
If you really feel like you don’t want to miss this chance to eat a few special holiday dishes, try just enjoying a small bite-sized portion of each food, rather than full sizes of everything. Then take pleasure from that one bite as in the strategy above. This way you aren’t missing out altogether and you won’t end up over-eating either.
5. Change your environment
If you’re at a Christmas party where there’s a buffet of amazingly delicious food, you might find yourself feeling really anxious by all the options and worry about how you’ll be able to control yourself. If you can feel tension from being around so much good food and fear that if you start eating you’ll never stop, then it can help to switch the situation. Move away from all the food, and practice deep breathing so you can re-set and calm yourself into thinking rationally.
6. Take the focus away from the food
Another way to change your environment is to take food out of the focus for the gathering you’re at, and instead focus on the people who you’re with. Be present with everyone you talk to, engage in interesting conversation and make the most of the connections you are making rather than focusing on the food you’re eating (or wish you were eating).
Hopefully with these strategies you’ll find yourself remaining in control around food without any FOMO these holidays, and be ready to start the new year feeling amazing about yourself and your good choices.
I'd love to hear from you- do you experience food FOMO over the holidays? Where do you struggle the most when it comes to eating and food over the festive season. Share in the comments below!
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If you would like 1:1 support to help you through this time of year, my Get Your Glow Again package would be the perfect way to help with navigating the festive season with less stress and overwhelm so you can enjoy this time of year.