Thanksgiving is one of those holidays known for bringing families together...but also for pushing them apart.
And there are a lot of families feeling divided post election in a way that may make dinner later today feel more daunting than usual. Some of my clients have been experiencing a sense of isolation in their beliefs since the election, and frustration with the fact that it seems like their families maybe voted against not only a progressive way forward, but the values that make up all of who they are, so in a sense with one vote, their families rejected them.
That's a hard pill to swallow and its hard for many to think of today as a festive one. Not to mention with Standing Rock reminding us of the not so pretty history of the day, the tension is thick and fears about how dinner will go are running rampant.
So how do we come together today around the dinner table with love, understanding, and without eating everything in sight? How do we express our truth without it devolving into the worst Thanksgiving ever?
The last few days post election have felt really heavy for many of us.
For some it was celebratory, but for many it was far from it.
Regardless of your politics, the US is divided to an extreme I don’t know that we’ve seen before. Women, LGBT, people of color, many are afraid for their safety as some extremists are acting on the inflammatory rhetoric we’ve been hearing for months.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of energy moving around and a lot of us, especially the empaths, were feeling really raw and drained.
I was feeling so much so deeply yesterday that I ended up exhausted and emotional. Like a train had hit me. And then I heard from a woman in my community who experienced a physical aggression in a grocery store, my heart broke a little more.
AFTER DINNER I FOUND MYSELF EATING AND NOT STOPPING.
Cheese, leftover Chipotle, pretzels, chocolate.
In other words The Bliss Point special.
Sweet, salty, fatty - the perfect combination to that lead to a “bliss point” that would help me numb out and feel comforted.
(Bliss Point is where we find just the right balance of the three main components our bodies crave,” says Karin Allen, PhD, a professor of food science at Utah State. In other words, it’s a precise ratio, or formulation, or concentration of certain nutrients the body is programmed to seek out and like (meaning fat, salt and sugar, which were key to survival in prehistoric times) combined in such a way as to make a food highly palatable - read the rest here)
I ate for a while, well beyond a point of fullness.
At one point I was getting so uncomfortable that I couldn’t check out anymore.
And I hadn't found my bliss.
The thing is, there is no point where you can eat enough bliss point foods to take the pain and sadness and anger and frustration away.
And I know that.
I knew there was nothing else that could really help me feel better at that point.
What I really needed was rest.
Not even journaling.
So I said to myself - with love- “ok girl. You’re done now. It’s time to go to bed.”
Here’s why this is all ok. Why I didn’t get mad at myself. Why I didn’t fall into a well of guilt and shame. Why I didn’t wake up the next day ready to run to the gym for three hours to frantically burn everything off - even though I was bloated.
WHEN YOU AREN’T ON A DIET, THERE’S NOTHING TO FAIL.
Because I don’t diet anymore so there was no wagon to fall off of...and thus nothing to fail and beat myself up for. The next day was a new day, and when I checked back in with my body I knew what I wanted. I ate light and I drank lots of water - not because I was trying to balance out my calories or points for the week out of guilt (I don't count those anymore), but because I wasn’t all that hungry. And I honored that by being present instead of regretting the past, and listening to how my body wanted THAT day.
BINGES BECOME FEW AND FAR BETWEEN WHEN YOU GIVE YOURSELF THE SPACE TO FEEL.
Its been a while since I've had a binge like that. Years in fact. But I got triggered really deeply. When we feel triggered, the temptation is often to disconnect in some way - to overeat, undereat, drink, smoke, have meaningless sex, or other potentially destructive behavior. We developed these strategies because there was a time we didn’t have the guidance to show us another way to cope in ways that serve us better. There’s nothing wrong with us for doing it. But there are other ways. Feeling our feelings helps us stop stuffing them down. You can do that by giving them space to come up and out through journaling, release writing, crying, screaming into a pillow, breathing, dancing, or talking them through with a coach or likeminded friend. No shame. Its ok to feel it ALL.
I GAVE MYSELF RETROACTIVE PERMISSION AND THEN FORGAVE MYSELF.
Yes, there are a long list of things I could have done instead of eat. But I didn’t. And that’s ok. I’ll admit, there was a part of me that felt out of integrity with what I coach and teach because I didn’t do something else. But then I remembered I’m human, and because I gave myself permission to not be perfect, it WAS in integrity with what I teach. When we allow ourselves the option to cope in the ways we’re used to - meaning we don’t rule it out entirely and tell ourselves we’re bad for doing it - they don’t carry the same weight and the rubber band doesn't snap quite so hard.
So if you find yourself comfort eating this week, or any other week, take a moment to give yourself the space to journal, to feel, to connect with people who understand you and share the same viewpoints, and find someone who can help you process what you’re feeling.
But most importantly, be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself if you default to the self-soothing comforting things that are easier to reach for. It’s ok.
When the dust settles, take the time to develop some rituals that serve you better so they feel easy to reach for the next time you find yourself feeling raw.
Sending you ALL my love <3
P.S. Between the post-election unrest, and the holidays coming up, the potential for stress and emotional overeating is at an all time high so I’m offering a special “get me through the holidays” package. Read more about it here or book a consultation right away to find out if its right for you.