Over the past few years our family holiday dinners have provided more left-overs because we're eating less.
What hasn't changed is the anticipation of getting together, and the warm-fuzzy feeling you get with family hugs.
There is such a strong association with overeating during the holidays that many feel like the quality of family gatherings might be threatened if the multi-plate eat-a-thon is abandoned for sensible eating.
This is where we can conflate the legitimate importance of compassion with the perceived need to overeat. It's easy to miss the mindfulness step and feel overwhelmed by tradition and perhaps even indoctrination, and not make the connection that those lovely hugs and happy reminiscing moments are not made better by eating too much, and are strong enough to be enjoyed on their own merit.
Here's a thought that might help.
There are a few acute responses to really big meals:
mmm.. Good 'ol constipation. Serve me up some of that!
What's maybe a little weird is that we normalize these side effects and actually pervert them into being accomplishments. Having to unbuckle your belt and succumbing to moving with expediency of a sloth are seen as podium worthy. We assign a reward association to something that harms us. Why? Because thats how the reward centres in our brain conspire with our learned habits to allow us to feel justified in behavior that isn't exactly all that rewarding in the long term, but is in the short term.
No doubt about it, many of us have experienced the reward of munching down a few plates of colon-stuffing holiday food, relishing every bite.
But with so many of the population suffering from weight gain, and with the acute displeasure of the above mentioned esophagus-burning etc, maybe it's time to retire this idea, and just go for the family bonding, while enjoying sensible servings of our favorites.