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  • Writer's pictureHelen Gardiner-Parks

Eating with Peace through the Holidays using HALT

Jed Owen on Unsplash

This time of year people expect to go nuts with their eating.

What’s that about?

Let’s examine.

Memories. Traditions. Treats and sweets of childhood. Maybe it was the only happy memory. Maybe it conjures up connection with loved ones past or present.

Filling an emptiness. That’s what it is about for me. Filling a hole in my soul.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This time of year, I really appreciate a HALT. A pause to examine whether I am truly Hungry. A pause to check in with my emotions—if I’m not Hungry, am I Angry? Anxious? Another feeling?

If I am Hungry, then by all means, let me prepare and enjoy a nourishing meal. And let me enjoy it in gratitude for all that went into that preparation.

But if I’m Angry-Anxious-Another emotion, then it’s time to put my big-girl panties on and sit with the discomfort, explore the discomfort, process the discomfort instead of stuffing my face in hopes that the feeling will go away.

It will go away—feelings are nothing if not reliably temporary—but at what cost? If I stuff it I am literally stuffing it down. Burying it until it erupts again—possibly creating further collateral damage as it blows.

Yipes. Been there, done that. Not pretty. I have damaged my body through my use of food.

Today I choose differently. Today I choose to sit with the discomfort of the feeling precisely because I know it is “just” a feeling; it will pass.

Which leads me to the L in HALT.

If I’m Hungry, eat. If I’m Angry-Anxious-Another emotion, I step back and feel. Feel. And if I’m Lonely—similar approach. Address the loneliness. Reach out. Ask for support.

And you?

What triggers you?

I believe that the universe is working for us. I can choose to think otherwise, but that doesn’t serve me, so I choose the affirmative.

“Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself you want to change.” Jerry Frankhauser (in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron)

I may be experiencing aloneness, but before I get lost in that, I HALT. I pause. I connect with my Higher Self, with my Higher Power, with God. With the divine spark which is in every being. Which connects me at a fundamental level to every being on the planet.

And I know it’s going to be okay. Eating will not, I guarantee, make me less lonely.

Finally, the T in HALT. If I am Tired, I may be tempted to eat. Yes, it will awaken me for a moment.

My body doesn’t want to sleep if it is all busy digesting—or it won’t sleep well, anyway. If I choose to allow myself to get too tired, my awareness suffers and I find it easy to override my intention to stop eating at least three hours before bed.

Three hours of precious and super-important time for my body to fulfill the sacred task of digestion.



(Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)

Recognize What is behind my desire to eat. And Choose my response. Being intentional and conscious to fully enjoy each morsel of nutrition I put into my body.

Affirming what I am creating in my life—affirming my worth and then nourishing rather than stuffing.

Eat if Hungry. Nourish in other ways if Angry, Lonely, Tired.
Take a walk. Do a stretch. Repeat a prayer, mantra or affirmation. Create music or art. Reach out.

What options call to you?

I invite you to have a list handy, so you are prepared for success this holiday season.

If I can be of support to you, for you, please please contact me.

I will be teaching my body-loving, soul-affirming, sugar-detoxing program early in 2022; let me know if you want on the list.

Much love my friends, much love.

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