Saturday, 13 December 2014

'Tis the Season: Navigating the Holidays and Food

"It's the most wonderful time of the year...."

It's no secret that the holiday season is upon us. The snow is falling, my fingers are frozen from the cold weather, and Christmas songs are playing on the radio! This is one of my favourite times of the year! This time of the year allows us to spend time with those we love and count our blessings.

Another important part about this season is the food. Yup, there's no shortage of Christmas sugar cookies, turkey, mashed potatoes, Yule logs, fruit cake, eggnog, stuffing, and more. Sounds delicious, right? It sure does to me! Food is an important part of our lives. It provides us with nourishment, energy, and pleasure. It also allows us to be social and enjoy shopping for it, preparing and serving, or eating it with others. But as great (and yummy) food is, it's equally important to consider our own attitudes about food during this season.

For someone with an eating disorder, this time of the year can be extremely stressful. The emphasis on food can be daunting and scary. When I was sick, I dreaded this time because I would have to listen to guests talking about how much weight they would put on during Christmas. I would sit in fear as I stared at the mountains of food displays at parties. I cringed as I heard about people's diet plans for the new year. I squirmed as I saw advertisements about eating vegetables for dessert (instead of traditional cookies or cake) after Christmas dinner. I hated how food was always the focus of everything. It terrified me and made me more self-conscious. And the ED thoughts got louder and stronger as I cried myself to sleep.

Now that I'm recovered (thank you, God!) I can enjoy the holiday season - food included. But my attitudes have changed. And so have those of family member and friends. We've learned that food is to be enjoyed and cherished, but not in a gluttonous way. What does this mean? It means that we
have a delicious Christmas dinner, but we don't skip lunch to do so. We have dessert after our meal. We don't talk about weight, calories, or diets. We pray before our meals, realizing that others around the world may not be as fortunate as we are. We have heart-felt and interesting discussions at meals, topics ranging anywhere from the unpredictable weather to our favourite books. We set the table with Christmas table cloths and flowers. We also make heart-warning, delicious meals. But we don't 'over do it'. Each person can serve him or herself, without reviewing or giving any comments about someone else's plate. There is a variety of food on the table, but not so much that it becomes
overwhelming. Everyone in the family knows now not to label food as 'good' or 'bad', and so we all eat a bit of everything without stuffing ourselves sick. We also plan a relaxing and fun-filled Christmas Day that isn't simply about the food. We play games, watch movies, sing songs, talk, count our blessings, go to church, etc.

Even if you don't know someone who is suffering from an ED, it's a good idea to adopt these tips and strategies during the holiday season (and always!). Learning to practice and model healthy eating behaviours is critical. Avoiding labeling food as good or bad, eating everything in moderation, and avoiding 'fat and diet' talk is essential. When you do this, you will feel better about yourself. And you'll become more mindful of how lucky we are to actually have food on our plates. You'll also realize how much more enjoyable food and social gatherings are when there isn't emphasis on the food. Don't get me wrong - food is important and is a part of our everyday lives! But learning how to approach food in a healthy way is crucial.

This holiday season, let's try to avoid talking about weight and diets. Let's avoid commenting on how much we ate and how much others are. Let's stop making elaborate meals 'for show' but not allowing ourselves to enjoy a sugar cookie after dinner. Let's take the time to enjoy our meals and engage in meaningful conversations. Let's cook and eat all foods in moderation. Let's enjoy a holiday season that's full of Christmas cheer, warm wishes, friendly company, exciting stories, religious traditions, surprising gifts, and thankful hearts. And of course, "...later we'll have some pumpkin pie and do some caroling!". (Okay, so I don't quite like pumpkin pie. But I'll definitely take chocolate pie. May I should write my own Christmas song! What about: "We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a happy new year! Now bring us some chocolate cookies, now bring us some chocolate cookies, now bring us some chocolate cookies, and leave them right here!")
No? Oh well. I tried. This is why I'm a book author, not a song-writer! But hey, what can I say? Even the smartest cookies know that writing takes some MACadamia. Okay. Now I'm running out of food jokes, so i guess I'll just have to wing it! (Get it? WING it? HAHAHAHA. Okay. Seriously. That was the last one. I'm way too hyper now. Must've been all that chocolate. Lettuce move on to the end of this post!).

From my heart to yours, please enjoy this holiday season and all the fun, delicious, exciting, and traditional things it has to offer!



  1. what a beautiful Christmas greetings

    Sandra D

  2. Merry Christmas


  3. As you remember I was considering food as a pill that taste bitter but will cure you.
    Now I am pleased to tell you food ,nutrition is something I look for during Christmas

  4. Lettuce give you thumb up for this wonderful colorful post.


  5. Thank you for the reminder how to celebrate with making big deal of food and without triggering ED.
    I assure you I am completely recovered now and feel happy.


  6. Wishing you all the best
    Wonderful post


  7. Thanks Marina for this summary and guide how to deal with issues around food when family get together .
    My daughter is normal now thanks to you but better to maintain the success.
    Merry Christmas .

    JP(a thankful mother)

  8. Merry XMAS to you and your family Marina
    I liked the colorful post and I appreciate your strong message of enjoying all sorts of foods in moderation.
    With my humble respect


  9. Excellent Christmas greetings and message


  10. What an optimistic post for the holidays


  11. This post is the best Christmas gift to your readers


  12. Have a blessed Christmas


  13. Merry XMAS


  14. Thank you for this Christmas greeting post


  15. What a nice Christmas card.
    I would suggest you go shopping and buy the best gift and presented to yourself on behalf of all your readers who appreciate your motivations to share experience ,knowledge and help.

    Sam Ibrahim
    Burnhamthorpe ,Mississauga

  16. I wish you enjoy the best of the blessings of Christmas. You deserve the best .


  17. We eat to nourish our body and to care for our body where the spirit of God lives in.


  18. What a lovely cards you chosen for this Christmas.
    Keep the high spirit moving and continue to set an role model for others.
    All the best in 2015

    Kelly W

  19. Merry Christmas to you too .


  20. Thank you for the pleasant cards and picture


  21. Merry XMAS Marina


  22. This post ,message, colorful cards prove you are a talented writer, practice what you preach and a role model.
    May the blessings of Christmas bring joy to you.


  23. Merry Christmas to you.
    Wonderful message


  24. Nice greeting cards and hopeful post.


  25. Blessed are you young woman.
    Keep your spirits always up.


  26. Christmas will add hope ,optimism and enthusiasm to yours.
    Enjoy the best time of the year


  27. Wonderful Christmas card in all languages


  28. You deserve the best this Christmas time
    All the best blessing to you.

    Sheila Ketson

  29. Every Christmas since 2012 I remeber how you much you comforted me and you helped me regain my self confidence and I want thank you and wish you Merry Christmas


  30. Marina this post is a blessing during the most wonderful time of the year.


  31. I want wish you a merry XMAS


  32. Merry Christmas to you .


  33. What a colorful post


  34. You were very nice to me and your blog supported me ,I want wish you all the happiness


  35. You deserve the best Christmas vacation.


  36. My dear friend on the web.
    I just came from a nice vacation in Cuba .
    My daughter was very happy and was eating and behaving as normal as I can wish and this thanks to you advise and guide .
    I wish you and your family enjoy a nice Christmas and have lots of fun.

    JP( a thankful mother)

  37. Lovely Christmas card


  38. Magaly wishes you a merry Xmas

  39. You are the most friendly person as I got to know you from this blog. I wish you a blessed XMAS


  40. Very proud of you
    You made us enjoy our life
    You trying to look for happiness to all of us you are making Christmas fun and blessed
    You make our lifes puff meaningful way
    We love you
    Cod blessed you


  41. Thank you all! Your words and support mean so much to me!

  42. Love the food puns sis! Keep them coming :) I love you! God bless you and all the readers of your blog (including me hehe). I learn a lot from you.
    - Nan


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