Intuitive Eating and Body Positivity: Notes to help get you through the holidays

Nov. 16, 2020

The holidays are here, and what perfect time to familiarize ourselves with intuitive eating and body positivity. As we embark on our way through these next couple months, we’ll be sure to come across more food, maybe some diet-talk and of course those delicious secret family recipes. For some, holidays can be exciting and for some holidays can resemble a time not quite so merry.


As much as we love our friends/family, at times they are not aware of the potential harm their actions or words may cause. Love ones sometimes make comments when we want a second serving of moms’ famous mashed potatoes, or even may comment on how our bodies might have changed compared to the previous year. People don’t realize the power these comments have, as they can be devastating and impact decisions of the one fielding them. Change takes time and it is not easy, however we can gear up with some important tools we can take with us to combat those well-meaning but really weight bias situations.


The first tool is Intuitive Eating which is a self-care framework, that allows you trust your instincts, emotions, and rational thoughts. It follows 10 principles.


The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating


  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  6. Feel Your Fullness
  7. Honor Your Feelings with Kindness
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Exercise—Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition


When you’re having a holiday meal it’s important to keep in mind how you are feeling during that experience. It is common to be offered seconds but think to yourself how you feel in the moment. After giving it time if you still feel hungry do not be afraid to have seconds of your favorite foods and at the same time if you are not hungry anymore do not be afraid to respond with a “no thank you.” If the person insists maybe, ask if it would be okay to take the dish home so you can enjoy it at a time you feel most comfortable without the fear of offending the person or the discomfort of overeating as a result of pleasing others. Remember not to look at the food options with a narrow lens. Do not cut out foods you enjoy. All foods fit in a generally healthy eating pattern, it’s just a matter of how the piece fits into the whole.


When you see all the food at the table just keep in mind there are no bad foods and enjoy yourself.


Another important tool to take with us into the holidays is body positivity. The Body Positive Institute has a model called the Be Body Positive Model which is comprised of 5 core competencies.  The five competencies are as followed to Reclaim Health, Practice Intuitive Self-Care, Cultivate Self-Love, Declare Your Own Authentic Beauty, and Build Community. The mission is to have a relationship with our bodies that stems from love, forgiveness, and even humor. Our bodies change throughout our lives, it is normal. At the end of the day it is always important to think about how we feel both physically and mentally.  

Size does not define health.

Society associates smaller bodies with healthier habits compared to people with larger bodies however that is not the case. A person in larger body has the exact same chance of following a healthy eating pattern as the person with a smaller body. Just as a person in a larger body can be viewed as being unhealthy the same can be said of the person in a smaller body. In the end if you feel healthy overall that’s what matters most.


It is also helpful to practice communication skills by expressing boundaries with our loved ones by letting them know what is okay and what is not okay in order to maintain a positive relationship with our bodies, food included. With all these tools under your belt it will be like you are coming into the holidays with a new and improved suit of amor. Be kind to yourself, your relationship with food, and your relationship with your body.

Be kind to yourself and while you’re at it have a wonderful holiday!