There are many approaches to prevent cheating on your diet during the holidays. And, most of them are destined for failure because they are too orthorexic. Even if whatever approach to your diet makes sense for you biologically, a black and white approach ignores something that is equally as important to us modern humans…our cultural health.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and continuing to eat the healthiest diet possible throughout the day is obviously the ideal option, but what constitutes “healthy” is not always clear…especially during the holidays. Entering into a holiday situation with all sorts of personalities, family dynamics, gatherings where many different people prepared and brought dishes that, in most cases hold deep meaning for them with this mindset is difficult if not impossible to navigate with an orthorexic mindset. And, most importantly, if you eat something outside of your normal range with an orthorexic mindset this is where the real problems begin…and, the floodgates open.
This has always been the problem for me in the past.
When I felt like I “cheated” on Thanksgiving, I then quickly rationalized I ruined the day so I might as well let the rest of the day go to hell. Then, I would wake up the next morning in a carbohydrate coma, ravenous, and feeling like I was starving and do it all over again. Then, in a state of hopelessness and feeling like a failure I would come to the realization that Christmas and New Years were not that far away so I might as well eat whatever I wanted because and then start fresh in the New Years.
That, my friends, is where the problem lies. It wasn’t WHAT I ate on Thanksgiving that made a difference to my overall health, it was HOW I ate on Thanksgiving that was the problem. Or, more accurately, how I conceptualized how I ate on Thanksgiving that was the root of almost a month of unhealthy choices that resulted in significant weight gain and poor body image…
THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE.
All you need to do is remember why we as humans eat.
Humans approach food differently than every animal on the planet.
- First, we process our food before it touches our lips to make food safe, nutrient dense, and bioavailable.
- Second, we also SHARE and GATHERaround food and find great pleasure and value in doing so.
Maximizing the former approach is how we reach optimal biological health. Maximizing the latter is how we reach optimal cultural health. They are both important – especially during the holidays.
If your view of a healthy diet includes both the biological and cultural contexts of healthy eating then a small piece of pie, or a taste of the green bean casserole is not viewed as cheating and, in the larger context instead a part of a healthy holiday meal with friends and family.
IF IT WASN’T A CHEAT, IT WASN’T A FAILURE.
MINDSET CAN MAKE ALL OF THE DIFFERENCE…
The Modern Stone Age Family wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope it nourishes both your body and soul!