“I’m worried about stress eating,” so many clients have said to me during this time of year. These months it feels like various holiday celebrations hit back to back, year-end parties ensue, we’re out of our routine, and we can’t seem to find a sense of “normalcy.”
“What about thinking about it as comfort eating instead?” I’ve suggested in response.
Try a both/and mentality here: there’s a time and place for building up our menu of coping skills for stress and overwhelm, and there’s nothing wrong with letting food be a source of comfort to you!
When you think of a food that tastes comforting to you, what comes to mind?
Share in the comments below!
I’ll go first:
My grandmother’s signature dessert was her homemade banana pudding, but it wasn’t my favorite. She also made a lovely, tart, soft and sweet lemon pound cake—before I knew what it meant to have a comfort food, this cake comforted me. If I had a slice today, it would take me right into her small kitchen, around the circular table that sat in the center. We would claim a chair and wait excitedly for the warm cake to cool off. No plates or forks necessary, we’d pile a thick slice onto a napkin and savor it together, bite by bite.
Even, or maybe especially, during the years when my mind was preoccupied with calorie counting, restricting, and trying to make my body smaller and smaller, I couldn’t wait to enjoy a slice of my grandmother’s lemon pound cake. It was the first thing I looked for in the kitchen when we arrived, and the thing I wanted most before we left.
We spent quite a few Thanksgiving holidays in her small house that filled up quickly with a big extended family. It was often a meal of classics—a southern-style green bean casserole, stuffing (not dressing!), turkey, something made of JELL-O, and various other desserts, like her signature lemon pound cake (sometimes only by request!). In the many years since I’ve had a slice, I’ve made a little nuclear family of my own, with new traditions, and new staple holiday dishes. But as I think about a food that could comfort me in one bite, it’s this lemon pound cake that comes to mind!
This holiday season, I hope you give yourself the opportunity to be comforted by food, instead of stressed about it! Try allowing food to be a source of joy, love, and connection, instead of just a source of calories or macros.
I'm hosting two group coaching sessions here on AthletaWell to help you explore your relationship to food and intuitive eating during the holidays—we’ll set intentions for enjoying your holiday eats, and we'll continue to dismantle food rules that prevent us from being comforted by foods we love!