Assert your holiday bill of rights

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

Do you dread the holiday meal? Do you worry about what and how much you will eat? Do you sit with family members who pressure you to eat healthier, then later beg you to eat a second piece of their special pie? It is challenging to assert your right to honor your body as you disappoint your favorite relatives by saying, “No, thank you, maybe later.”

None the less, you do have the right to kindly say, “No, thank you.” Intuitive eating expert Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD says so in her Intuitive Eaters’ Bill of Rights listed below. Begin now and practice your bill of rights all year to foster an inner peace with food, mind, and body.

Intuitive Eaters’ Holiday Bill of Rights:

  1. You have the right to savor your meal without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
  2. You have the right to enjoy extra servings without apology.
  3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying, “No, thank you,” to dessert or a second helping of food.
  4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a special holiday dish.
  5. You have the right to say, “No, thank you,” without explanation, when offered more food.
  6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “No,” even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat, “No, thank you, really.”
  7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

As a baby you were an expert on your sense of hunger and fullness. As a very young child you would cry and fuss when you were hungry and refuse to clean your plate when you were full. Once socialized, you were pressured to eat more than you needed whether you were hungry or not and then called a “good girl” or “good boy.”

Where did your natural intuitive inner sense of “I’ve had enough” go? It is still there but underneath years of socialization. Begin now to reclaim your natural intuitive sense in relation to food by following Evelyn’s Holiday Bill of Rights every day at every meal. Only you are the best expert of your body — its nutritional desires, its hunger and its fullness. Dare to trust yourself as your personal inner-body expert.

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