I was once contacted by CNN so they could get some “expert” advice on how not overeat during all these holiday meals.
Every year for the last several decades, some major news outlets asked me such questions around Thanksgiving as if they’ve never been asked before.
Seems that too many people are worried about eating too many calories, which would mean too many extra pounds, which means too many subsequent days of punishing exercise and food prison. What a conundrum. We’re trying to celebrate and give thanks for such bountiful amounts of food, and then we feel guilty about eating. So, when the young smart eager-to-learn interviewer at CNN asked me what the best strategy was to limit our appetite around the holidays, I had one rather un-profound answer:
I went on to say that I felt we needed, as a culture, more ritual. But the healthy kind of ritual.
The type of ritual where we can stop the work, slow down, feast, feel, discuss, giggle, pontificate, resuscitate, inebriate, integrate, and above all else, celebrate. Far too much time is spent in the American way of chasing after more. Yet more never seems to be enough.
Giving thanks is a rather odd notion in the material times we live in. Some of us have access to so much food, but we’re taught to have a fear of eating, fears of body fat, and and to be gripped by illogical images about what’s considered “attractive.”
Ritual can heal us. The human psyche loves repetition, loves eternally returning to a happy and holy place. Holiday meals can be this time. Calorie-count another time. Give thanks for food, for love, for life, for your body, for what you have right now. Healing happens when love is present.
Metabolism gets hotter when we relax. Digestion is empowered when we feel pleasured. And food increases in nutritional value when it’s shared with others.
Thank you for your continued friendship and camaraderie and support. Though we likely haven’t met, I believe you and I are enthusiastic about and committed to the same positive messages about food, nutrition, health, and Life. The world needs so much healing. Lets give thanks that we are fortunate enough to be up to the task. And for one day, and at least one day, lets celebrate the Journey.
My warmest regards,
Founder, Institute for the Psychology of Eating