How to Celebrate without Binging on Food

Do you celebrate by binging on food?

It’s my birthday week! Woohoo! So, I’m coming to you with a special episode all about celebrations and…. Well, you know what we talk about around here… food of course.

Celebrations and food go together like peanut butter and jelly (or honey if you’re my 4 year old) wouldn’t you agree? Every time you celebrate something big, it usually comes with cake and ice cream, dinner at a restaurant, drinks with friends, and all the other fun stuff you celebrate in life.

Hey, I’m Elizabeth and I’m here to help you become a woman of wellness by healing your relationship with food and loving your body and today we’re going to learn to celebrate without guilt! Doesn’t that sound nice?

But first, we need to talk about the difference in engaging in actual celebration for something such as a birthday, promotion, graduation, or other life events versus a celebration of “deserving”. Now, what do I mean by deserving?

Let me tell you a little about my history with food. I loooove treats. And really, is there anyone here that doesn’t? If it’s a baked good, get in my belly, am I right? Skittles, starbursts, candy… get out of my face. But, a warm chocolate chip cookie or a brownie with ice cream, well, now I’m just hungry. Haha.

For a long time, my relationship with food looked a lot like a celebration of “deserving”. If I passed a test at school, I “deserved” a treat. If I made it through a long, stressful day, I absolutely deserved a treat. If I ate healthy that day, I deserved a treat later. Does this sound familiar to you at all? I used anything and everything to essentially earn my treats throughout the day. Having an indulgence was the way I coped with all the emotions of my day. And you better believe I celebrated this deserving every single night. There was always something to celebrate or something telling me that I earned a treat that day.

Now, in the world of intuitive eating, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating a treat and enjoying it, such as a celebration or event in your life, or even just because you want it. But what happened was that I used food to make it through everyday life. And then I would feel guilty at the end of the night because I felt like I had no self-control.

This is the perfect example of enjoying food as a celebration vs using food to get through life.

So, if you’re struggling with using food to get through life, I highly recommend taking my free emotional eating course. I’ve linked it in the description below. It will help with the “deserving” side of celebration.

For this video, I want to talk about actual celebrations that pop up often in life. In fact, there are typically 4 worries I hear over and over when it comes to being a part of a celebration that has food involved.

First, “I won’t stop celebrating for days. The cake will be in my house and I’ll go haywire with it”. Second, “Celebrations feel like they come so often, how do I balance my food relationship when I’m constantly having to ‘fight’ off the urge to resist?”, third, “What if I find any reason to celebrate, even a small one?”, and lastly “Every time I go to an event or celebration, the food is always ‘bad’”.

First of all, there are two things I want to address when talking about food and events. First, remember there are no bad foods. “Bad” is a label we place on food. Remember, food is neutral. No one food has the power to change who you are or make you a “bad” person for eating it.

Second, don’t resist the urge to indulge. That’s diet talk. You are essentially telling yourself that certain foods are off-limits for you. Yes, I believe in a healthy balance with all kinds of food, but give yourself permission to eat what you want when you want. You’ll find that the more permission you give yourself, the more likely you are to have a balance you are happy with. It’s funny how that works, but I promise it does work!

Now let’s throw all of the worries out the window when it comes to events and food. I have 3 steps for you to follow to help you to enjoy the celebration without worrying about food.

Step #1 is to allow yourself to be present for the actual celebration. What are you celebrating? A family member, a dear friend, a co-worker, maybe even yourself? Make the event about them. Focus on them. Focus on how you can celebrate them. When food worries pop into your mind, recognize it, then send it away. Remember, you’re here to enjoy the moment. Enjoy celebrating a special someone in your life, and if it’s you, let everyone else celebrate you! (We are so bad at doing this as women aren’t we?).

Step #2 is to listen to your body throughout the whole thing. If it’s a celebration with food, you’re going to need to eat. Actually, you’re probably going to WANT to eat. That’s great and totally ok. Don’t go to an event telling yourself you won’t eat anything. Go enjoy. Just take what we’ve learned in other videos around here (I will link a couple in the description below) about listening to hunger and fullness cues and apply it to the moment.

The best way I pay attention to my body when I’m not sitting down at a table and being fully mindful is just to ask myself one question before I start, while I eat, and when I’m done. “Where am I at right now?” That’s it. It’s so simple. Just ask your body where you’re at. Are you hungry for a meal? What kind of food sounds good to you? Warm, cold, hearty, light, sweet, salty? As you enjoy your food and the company, just quickly check in on how you’re feeling throughout the eating process. I know it may sound a little silly now, but I can guarantee the more you practice this, the easier it becomes and you start to get reeeally in tune with your body.

And also don’t forget to enjoy food that is satisfying to you. You could eat all the salad in the world that might full you up physically, but emotionally you still feel like you need more. Make sure there is a component of satisfaction that comes with each food interaction. And I’m not saying that means cookies all the time, although at first, it might feel that way. I’m not much of a salad eater for meals, but the other day I felt like one and it filled me up in the way I needed. I felt satisfied when I was done. That doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does!

Lastly, create rewards that aren’t food. If you’re suffering from the “deserving” kind of celebration, try finding things that might reward you in a different way. If you’re a woman or a mother, you deserve to be celebrated! You deserve to have some rewards in life for getting through a tough day with kids, a stressful day at work, a full day of joy and laughter, a day of pampering yourself.

Whether it was a hard day or an exceptionally good day, it’s ok to have an opportunity to celebrate the day. When the weather is nice, my husband and I reward ourselves with a walk together just the two of us after the kids go to bed. It gives me a little boost of energy to get through the rest of the night. And many nights when I’m tired and it’s been a long day, I enjoy a show on the couch with a cuddle. It satisfies me enough to know that I can get up and do it all again tomorrow.

What ways can you find to celebrate the small and big events in your life without a) worrying about the food, and b) celebrating the accomplishment of another beautiful, and probably a bit messy day?

That’s all for me today! See you next time!