All month I’ve been sharing some of my best healthy holiday survival tips for balancing your mind and your body on Facebook, Facebook Live, Instagram and in my newsletter. I’ve heard from many of you that these tips have been truly useful, and you find this time of year hectic in more ways than one.
The irony about this very blog post is that I started writing it for you on the 1st of December, and here we are more than 2 weeks later, and I’m finishing it for you. 🤦🏽♀️ Needless to say, I know well and truly exactly how you might be feeling right now.
Since I know that we are all pressed for time, we’re going to focus on the single topic of a healthy MINDSET around food – how to stay sane, feel calm, and make empowered choices through the celebrations.
If you want some practical how-to tips, I’m happy to share those with you also, feel free to comment below with any questions (i.e. what to do when you’re going to a party where your food needs won’t be catered for, OR celiacs: how to avoid cross-contamination at a gathering, OR AIP: how to make a delicious mocktail for your New Years party).
I hope these tips help you to feel calm, empowered and confident with your food choices at the dining table.
LACK OF SUPPORT & UNDERSTANDING FROM YOUR LOVED ONES
If you’ve explained to family members and friends that you can’t/choose not to eat *insert food group(s) here* and they just don’t seem to get it, or they actively choose not to support your healthy food choices, that’s OK. You don’t need their approval. You make choices for you, and no one else. They choose what goes on their plate, and you choose what goes on yours. I’m not saying that it’ll be easy, but remembering to give your loved ones a little understanding goes a long way.
When you’re receiving negativity or active rebellion/neglect from others around your food choices, it’s usually because they feel threatened, or it’s just a little unfamiliar to them – not because they don’t care about you.
When we make these choices to improve our health, it can often trigger others to feel that they need to make some changes in their lives too. This can bring up feelings of inadequacy for people or they might feel like you’re judging them. Like I said before, a little understanding and grace goes a long way, let them off the hook if they’re not jumping to embrace your choices, it’s not personal, they’re probably feeling challenged.
This is why I don’t recommend getting into the nuts and bolts around why you make the dietary choices that you do (i.e. don’t start explaining to Grandma what sugar does to your liver and how it affects your hormones – now is not the time!) Stick to positive statements like “I feel great when I focus on eating lots of veggies” and then engage in other topics that you both will enjoy connecting on.
Remember that family can feel like you’re breaking a long time tradition, if you’re not participating in a certain food, so try not to sound defensive and simply reassure them that you of course still love them, but for your health, just might just skip out on “breaking bread” (so to speak).
All said and done, don’t lose hope. With time, family and friends may come around. There have been people in my life that took 5-6 years to start showing support or interest. So stick to it, and make those choices that you know make you feel your best!
WHAT’S WORTH IT TO YOU?… DITCH THE PERFECTIONISM!
I’m a big believer in finding balance at the dining table, and that all begins with your thoughts. Don’t let fear get in the way of your connections with friends and enjoyment of the festivities. Now is not the time to be perfect!
It’s pretty easy to get caught up in anxieties about what might happen if you eat something that you normally wouldn’t – but unless you’re truly allergic, I say go for it, LIVE a little. You can always get back on track at the next meal. Every day is fresh start and a less-than-ideal food consumed once, and consumed consciously, will just be a ‘blip on the radar’ to your immune system – learn to ‘let it go’ and your body will be less likely to respond negatively. If participating in something that might make you feel less-than-stellar means you’re going to feel a part of the group, or it’s a special once-a-year treat (hello, gluten-free, dairy-free, NOT sugar-free holiday gingerbread donuts!) then decide what is worth it you and ENJOY IT.
The key here is to truly taste and experience the food that you’ve decided is worth it and then MOVE ON, don’t spare another second thinking about it. If you tell yourself that you can’t, but you actually really want to, (and you’re not allergic to it), and then you consume “just a little nibble” over and over and over again, these unconscious ‘nibbles’ of said indulgence won’t register to your brain and body. You’ll then probably eat more than you need to feel satisfied, and you’ll keep wanting to go back for more. If you then end up feeling a bit off in your body or digestion for having eaten it, but without the benefit of truly tasting and enjoying the treat, you’re more likely to go back for more the next day and the next ‘treat’ starting a spiral of too much indulgence – remember we are aiming for a healthy balance between body and mind.
Instead, let yourself off the hook and choose what’s worth it to you (make the choice consciously beforehand, so you don’t get stuck in a peer pressure situation) and ENJOY and move on.
A few treats here and there will not make you fat, will not destroy your health, and if you do it this way, with ease and enjoyment, then there are actually quite a few health benefits that come along with just letting go for a moment.
If you spend the rest of the evening unable to focus on the connections and conversations happening around you because you feel like you ate something ‘bad’ then that’s a red flag. There’s just so much freedom that comes from letting yourself be less than perfect, and I can’t express enough the many health benefits that come along with these sorts of attitudes.
I’m not saying that you should ditch your healthy diet and eat ALL THE THINGS for the next month, no, I’m talking about finding a balance between what you know feels great in your body and what you know nurtures your feelings and your soul.
If you need some support navigating this topic of control, perfectionism and food fear, feel free to check out my Wellness Mentoring Sessions – I would be honored to guide you towards more freedom and acceptance around food.
Remember that the best gift you can give to yourself this holiday season is to show compassion toward yourself and others. Ditch the guilt, worry and control. Be kind to yourself, body and mind.
It is my passion and mission to help inspire you toward more balance and freedom in your life, please share this post with anyone you think would benefit – I am so grateful you’re here.
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. What mindset shifts are you going to make to stress less and enjoy more during the silly season?
Happy Holidays my friends,
P.S. Want even more practical healthy eating support? Be sure to get a copy my recipe book: Calm Mornings – Balanced Breakfasts For Modern Life
(All recipes are paleo-friendly and free-from gluten, grains, dairy, eggs and sugar)