Food Is Not Your Enemy

Holiday Overeating and Family Drama: The Role of Forgiveness
December 16, 2013, 1:25 pm
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Have you ever downed an entire package of chips, crackers, or cookies? Ate mashed potatoes or cake until you felt sick? Drank more eggnog or wine than your body wanted?

Do you remember how you were feeling at the time?

I ask because sometimes we overeat to distract ourselves from difficult emotions we may be experiencing. Think about it–have you noticed that sometimes when you overeat you’re not hungry at all? What you are is lonely, or angry at your mother, or sad, or resentful, or frustrated, or something else.

It’s way more effective to address your uncomfortable feelings directly rather than trying to cover them up with food, food that you’ll likely wish you hadn’t eaten very soon after eating it. One of the ways to deal with these feelings is to forgive—yourself as well as others.

Forgiving is not easy, even for the most enlightened among us. If you’ve been allowing yourself to be controlled by past or present hurts, think about forgiving. These steps can help:

  • Talk to sympathetic friends and family. Chatting with others is tremendously comforting.
  • Write a letter to the person you’d like to forgive. You can decide whether or not you send it.
  • See the situation from the other person’s perspective–your own perspective may change.
  • Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Sometimes we can be harshest with ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up about overeating at a holiday party—it won’t help you with your weight or health goals; it will just make you unhappy.
  • Understand that you are responsible for your own attitude. Don’t let holding a grudge hold you back in life.

Forgive and watch how much better your relationship with food becomes.

Happy holidays to you!