Okay, raise your hand high if you have a couple dishes or desserts that you are eagerly looking forward to this week. I totally get it! I definitely feel my own mouth water when I think of a few dishes that I will be serving up this weekend to my family. Now, if you are one of my international listeners that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, just apply this information to any tasty treat you connect with a specific celebration or time of year.
Alright, to start us off, let me ask you some questions:
When you sit down in front of those dishes, do you feel both excited and anxious? Do you feel this need to make sure you get your full and fair share? Do you eat more than you need to, even to the point of discomfort, because you feel like this is your one and only opportunity for that experience?
I’m going to level with you and you are totally allowed to laugh at this, but for me it was mainly two things at the Thanksgiving Table: Sausage Stuffing and Pecan Pie. I would over eat it, to my discomfort, not just at Thanksgiving but I would make sure enough left-overs were in my fridge that I could continue to indulge for several days afterward. I would even be jealous of anyone getting into them or eating what I felt was more than their portion.
What I just described, both the questions and I asked along with my personal story, are examples of what psychologists call a “Scarcity Mentality”. When it comes to every resource on the planet, human beings operate out of a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality. Let me describe this with money. Do you have a friend that always picks up the check? Gives presents all the time? Donates to every organization they come across but don’t make any more money than you do? This person has an abundance mentality. They have no anxiety about money because they believe in their soul that they will always have enough. God will always take care of them. They can afford to be generous. However, you probably also know someone who never picks up the check. They pinch pennies and never want to be part of gift exchanges. They remember every dollar they’ve ever loaned someone and even resent it when someone doesn’t return the favor of buying a cup of coffee. That person probably has a scarcity mentality around money. They believe that they don’t have enough and that the resource will disappear unless managed just right.
When we have a scarcity mentality around food, we see it as being scarce. We will be greedy for it and anxious to get as much of it as possible. We see special or tasty food as being rare and fear that if the opportunity passes us by, we will lose. We have to switch this thinking to an abundance mentality around food.
When you have an abundance mentality around food you can:
Turn down seconds because you can always have that food another time.
Eat only what your body needs because you aren’t worried about “storing” sensations for the time you go without tasting that food.
Eat slowly and savor the moment, because you don’t need to hurry and get more and more before it is gone.
I sat down before the Thanksgiving of 2020 and made a list of all the reasons stuffing and pecan pie weren’t scarce and it completely changed my mentality around Thanksgiving Dinner. On my list were some eye-opening and honest facts.
Guess what? I took those new words to heart. I even started cooking stuffing in the middle of the year just for fun because I could if I wanted. And, then, what was truly special finally came into focus for me: memories, laughter, games.
It was so much fun to clear the table and serve coffee and desserts with a light and energetic body instead of a clawing desire to throw myself face-first into the pillows on my bed.
This Thanksgiving, I want you to look at the four items I listed above and consider your own “special” Holiday treats. Ask yourself, “How do this food make my body feel?” “Is your weight gain worth it for the extra plate and 10 minutes or so of eating?” “How could I use this as an opportunity to enjoy my food and stop at enough instead of too much?” “Could I cook this food or order it from a restaurant at a different time of year if I wanted?”
The Holidays really are a fabulous opportunity to learn how to handle treats and special occasions. You are going to be a PRO. Seriously. If you ask yourself those four questions before each special occasion it will become second nature, switching you from a scarcity mentality around food to a mindset of abundance that will leave you living more freely around food in the weeks and years to come.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.