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story.lead_photo.caption Julia Henry

With the holiday season in full force, a lot of people get nervous about the abundance of foods they feel they "shouldn't" be eating.

When you add the comments from well-meaning loved ones about what you are eating or even their thoughts on your body, this time of year can be very stressful instead of fun and enjoyable. How can we truly enjoy the foods we are eating and not worry?

I like to use the Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights from Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S. She co-wrote the book "Intuitive Eating" with fellow dietitian Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND. The focus of intuitive eating is not on weight, but rather our relationship to food and how we can eat in a way that nourishes us mentally, physically and spiritually instead of focusing on dieting and food rules.

Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights

1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.

3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying "No, thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food.

4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.

5. You have the right to say, "No, thank you," without explanation, when offered more food.

6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no," even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat "No, thank you, really."

7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Another thing I like to do is to not wait for certain holidays to eat the foods we associate with them. Whenever we restrict foods, either physically or mentally, they seem to be even more appealing because we feel we can't have them.

If you are craving turkey and stuffing in February, eat it in February. You will feel more satisfied with the meal (or whatever food it is) if you are truly hungry for it. This can also make it easier at holiday time to eat an amount that you are comfortable with instead of feeling like you have to eat it all because you never have it any other time.

Here's wishing you a peaceful, fun and happy holiday season!

Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S. Published at IntuitiveEating.org.

Julia Henry RD LD is a weight-inclusive registered dietitian at Capital Region Medical Center. She specializes in gastrointestinal issues and helping people heal their relationships with food and their bodies through a Health at Every Size approach.

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