I started binge eating when I was 16. Before that I most likely binged but called it overeating.

When I was 16 I learned about binging and purging while watching an episode of the Geraldo Rivera Show. He was talking about the new eating disorder amongst young girls. Anorexia was passe and binging and purging was all the rage.

A little part of me loved the idea. I got to eat all I wanted and then get rid of it.

At 16 I never considered dealing with the issues that created my indulgence in food. I suffered from low self esteem, poor body image, I felt unloved, abandoned and unwanted.

Stuffing my face with cookies, cakes, chocolates and whatever else I could find when rumaging through the cupboards offered me comfort from my discomfort. The food made me feel “full” because I wasn’t “full” in many areas of my life.

Issues with food plagued my being for years, well really decades and it has only been in that last few years that I’ve reclaimed my power from food.

Food has gone from my fair weather friend, to my enemy to my healthy love.

Transforming my beliefs, attitude and behaviors about food, myself, my body and the world around me has been key in shifting my patterns.

As we head full steam into the holidays, a time of the year where decadent and delicious food is plentiful, the temptation of overeating is hard to resist.

Whether you use food to soothe emotions, struggle with your own personal battle with eating or are just tired of overeating and feeling like an overstuffed sausage afterwards, here are five tips to help you ease the pull of food this holiday season.

1. Eat before you go to any party or event. I always have a protein shake before I head out to a party. This simple act prevents me from arriving “starving” and noshing on rich, calorie laden nibbles. It takes the edge off and I know that I have put something good and nutritious in my body.

2. Get into the right mindset. Take a couple of minutes before any gathering to meditate or get quiet. Settle your inner being. Give yourself an inner hug and some love. Remind yourself that you are worthy of all your desires.  Feeling full and loved inside will prevent you from eating to feel “full.”

3.  Be okay with saying NO.  “Eat, eat,” is the mantra at every gathering. Get good at saying no to foods you don’t want and to second helpings. If you are unable to say no, examine the beliefs you hold in your mind preventing you from doing so and change them. ie. I don’t want to be rude. I may never get a chance to eat this again. 

4. Be okay with enjoying food; especially foods you might not eat on a regular basis. This tip may appear to contradict the above but it doesn’t. We often have mental lists in our head of taboo foods. We want to eat these foods the cookies, the cakes, eggnog etc.. But we think, “I can’t it’s too fattening.” And yet a part of us wants a taste so desperately. Give yourself permission to enjoy any food you want in small portions. Be okay with enjoying yourself.

5.  Take back your power from food. When you feel the pull of the gravy, stuffing, shortbread or Sweet Georgia Browns look at the food. Stare it down and determine within yourself who has the power. Is it you? or that piece of pastry? Do you know that the pastry can’t talk? It doesn’t have feelings? It’s just a lump of flour, sugar and eggs. Do you want it to lead you around by the nose saying, “I have more power then you do?” Stare it down. Stand tall. Walk away. Be in charge of yourself and the food you eat. Command food to serve you  rather than bowing down to it.

This holiday season have fun, be festive, enjoy the food you eat and take back your power so that come Boxing Day you feel fantastic and energized rather than looking for pants with an elastic waist band and a couch to flop on.

~Love, Esther



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