How Intuitive Eating helped me enjoy the Holiday Season again

hot chocolate and gingerbread

I recently researched fitness trends for 2020 and was delighted by what I found. One trend I already saw popping up here and there this year was intuitive eating. And according to this article it is here to stay.

But what exactly does inuitive eating mean? The website describes this non-diet as follows:

“Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought and was created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. Intuitive Eating is a weight-inclusive, evidence-based model with a validated assessment scale and over 100 studies to date. It’s a personal process which includes 10 principles:
  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honor Your Feeling without using Food
  8. Resepct Your Body
  9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

The process of Intuitive Eating is a practice, which honors both physical and mental health. Intuitive Eating is aligned with Health at Every Size, because the pursuit of intentional weight loss is a failed paradigm, which creates health problems: including weight stigma, weight cycling, and eating disorders.”

Hallelujah! Finally something that takes the dogma out of eating and lets us enjoy the holiday season again!.

the holiday season has so many delicious foods to offer such as duck breast with red cabbage and sweet potatoes

As probably almost every female on this planet, I have been on a diet since I was 12 years old. Luckily, I never went down the road too far and became anorexic. But my mindset was pretty close. In recent years, it had become so bad that I couldn’t eat anything without getting gut cramps afterwards. My mental patterns had made myself physical self sick.

Social settings or weekends at my parents’ house gave me serious anxiety days in advance because I had no control over the food that was served there. I was constantly worrying what this or that food group would do to my body instead of just seeing food for what it is: energy that would keep my body running and healthy.

Once Christmas season rolled around (seriously my favorite time of the year), I was in a constant battle with myself, not able to enjoy it anymore. On the one hand, I wanted to have everything from mulled wine to this very delicious chocolate stollen my boyfriend’s mom always brings us. On the other hand, these types of food rang some serious alarm bells in my head as they were deemed to make me ‘fat’.

with intuitive eating you can have your holiday cookies and enjoy them too

In the end, I spend the entire season overindulging and then feeling gross and bad about myself. Food became an obsession. My thoughts would constantly revolve around food, what kind of food was good for me and what kind was not. I was never present anymore and I lost my ability to enjoy food. Not a day went by where I didn’t feel bloated or had gut cramps. That’s when I decided that something had to change.

I started training myself to listen very closely to my body and to not categorize food into ‘bad’ or ‘good’ but rather something that provides me with energy and vital nutrients. I don’t deny myself certain food groups anymore but only eat them when I really feel like it and also stop when I had enough. This takes some serious mental strength and there are still days where I fall back into my old thought patterns.

When this happens, I immediately react by consciously reprogramming my mind. I either stop myself in midthought to not dissect my food into calories and how gluten, dairy, sugar etc. could negatively impact my body. Or I tell myself that I will have this piece of cake and enjoy it but also stop when I feel I had enough.

As I’m eating 90% plant-based and clean, these remaining 10% of the occasional chocolate, pizza or burger will neither do my body harm nor make me unhealthy. Many people before me have eaten everything and lived a long and healthy life. Yes, food is medicine but so is mental health.

practicing intuitive eating lets me drink mulled wine at the Christmas market without feeling bad about myself

I have been practicing this for the last couple of months and have to say that I feel more aligned with myself. Something I haven’t felt in a long time. The funny thing is that my body also has never looked better eventhough I’m eating EVERYTHING. But I ONLY eat when I’m seriously hungry AND I stop when I’m full.

This has been such a game changer for me. I’m finally able to enjoy the holiday season, live in the moment, and make unforgettable memories with my loved ones.

Life is so much more than constantly worrying about food or a number on the scale. Spend this time on something that will enhance your life instead such as starting your own business, learning a new skill or volunteering.

Writing this kind of made me hungry. I will go make myself some breakfast now. Scrambled eggs (NOT only egg whites) with veggies and feta sounds very good right 🙂

Have you heard about intuitive eating or even tried it before? Let’s chat in the comments or over on IG @madeleinestanev

Signatur Madeleine

3 responses to “How Intuitive Eating helped me enjoy the Holiday Season again”

  1. […] with the help of intuitive eating, I’ve slowly found my way back to normalizing my eating habits. Now I’m not as easily thrown […]


  2. […] also a time where I drink way too much, eat way too much crap and move way too little. Even though adapting intuitive eating has helped me tremendously navigating Christmas last year, my gut still was […]


  3. […] It took me years to see behind the charade and to realize that there was nothing wrong with my body. Intuitive eating played a big part in my healing process. […]


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