The holidays are upon us! Bringing both the joy of celebration and the abundance of treats and goodies seemingly everywhere we look. A collective groan can generally be heard from moms because as we all know, there is now a copious amount of sugar available to our children whether at school, at church, at grandma’s house, our own traditional baking, or gifts givens from friends and family.
Managing it all can feel exhausting! But take heart! We can challenge this perspective. Perhaps seeing holiday treats as a sweet reminder of God’s love for His children can change your “groan” into a smile. We need to both re-frame our thinking and heed some practical steps to make this HUGE paradigm shift…remembering first and foremost we, as moms, want to nurture the relationship our kids (and ourselves) have with food.
Cultivate these practical steps first with yourself as you prayerfully demonstrate and impart them to your children.
Receive, taste, and enjoy the good gift of food from God. Remember all food and ingredients came first from the breath of life God gives. Nothing is absent from the knowledge and sovereignty of God…including food.
Re-learn the art of sensing your palate and tummy. For example, the first cookie tastes so-so good but the second cookie is not as good as the first and so on. This is the process of tuning into our palate or otherwise known as our taste buds. We reach a point where our palate just says, “I am done.” Trusting in this sense is key to the internal confidence of navigating food with a healthy relationship. Such that, “I choose when I am done because my body tells me.” This is how we honor our body in the process of tasting and enjoying food.
Rid yourself of guilt. I can hear you saying now, “But Dr. Osborne, guilt has kept me safe so I don’t overdo it!” For most, before a sweet treat has hit our lips, we have already been swept into the familiar tirade of guilt, which leads to shame. Instead, before you take a bite or pick up a treat/dessert, take a moment to ask yourself if you really feel like it, does it sound the best right now? If your answer is “no” then you have just honored your body by not eating something that would have been a waste. If the answer is “yes” then take your time to enjoy this gift from God. Go slow as you bite and taste and chew this sweet treat. You will be exponentially more satisfied as you savor without allowing guilt to rob you of the gift God wants you to enjoy.
Go slow. We call this the “clink” factor in our house. This is the sound of our fork or spoon being set down on the plate between bites so as to help us slow down and enjoy more fully. Going slow just helps us naturally taste and enjoy food more fully.
Don’t be afraid to throw away or re-gift treats. I know this is terribly hard for most of us; we want to be good stewards of all things. But this mindset can become hindering when it comes to unwanted treats and desserts you feel burdened to “have” to finish. I am putting on my “Permission Giver” hat right now and giving you full permission to throw away boxes, platters, and baggies of goodies and treats that are unwanted and sitting in your pantry or on your countertop. Perhaps they are not your favorite or there are just too many for your household…this is where you *can* throw them away. Another option is gifting them to your nearest firefighter hall or law enforcement office. We have a fire station at the bottom of our hill and frequently my children and I try to drop off gifts (sometimes freshly re-gifted) to bless them, which they always do.
Remember that food brings us together in fellowship; God wants us to break bread together. Don’t let the enemy get a foothold with the avoidance of food and our exasperation with the overwhelming amount of food and treats available. Embrace it as it is meant to be: an expression of God’s love and time together with friends and family. Also remember that the God himself has equipped you internally to taste, go slow, and know when you are finished (choose what you want and say no to the things you don’t)…receive His good gift of food and treats today.
Praying that this next generation of our children and grandchildren will grow up enjoying a healthy relationship with food, free from guilt and shame, rules, and bondage. May they be free to taste and receive the good gifts the Father has for them as they retain the ability to joyfully honor their body… the way it was shaped with love and designed to do.
Do you struggle with the constant presence of treats during the holidays? What can you do this month to lead your children in a healthy relationship with food, even treats?
Dr. Megan Osborne
For more resources and support in leading your children towards a healthy view of food and body image, connect with Dr. Osborne and her books at shapedwithlove.com
This post appears courtesy of Dr. Megan Osborne, through a generous grant from FINDINGbalance, Inc. For more tools + an amazing community of adults finding freedom and balance in the areas of food and body image, check out FINDINGbalance.